Privateers glad to be a warm-up act

Kenn Oliver
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Major midget club to play exhibition against Canadian national women's team

With all due respect to the other five major midget hockey teams in the province, the St. John’s Pennecon Privateers could be facing their toughest challenge to date when they take to the ice for an exhibition match against Canada’s national women’s team later this week.

In preparation for the 4 Nations Cup being played in Clarenville and St. John’s next week, the national squad requested a game against the local major midget powerhouse, and the Privateers did not hesitate to answer the call.

The contest is set for 4 p.m., Sunday at the Glacier in Mount Pearl.

“It’s an honour for the boys to be asked to play against, if not the best women’s team in the world, one of the top two,” says Privateers coach Wally Bray.

“As kids growing up, they were seeing some of these women on the television, winning gold medals for Canada, so at first, I think they’ll have to get over their awe of that.”

The 4 Nations Cup is an annual women’s tournament that began features the top four countries from the most recent Olympic or world championships.

Female international rules apply to the game, which plenty of contact, but no bodychecking.

Bray isn’t concerned that his charges, who are often looking for the big hit in regular league play, will cross the line.

“My experience with boys playing girls is that they’re not hitting them.

“I don’t think you’re going to see any dirt and I’m certainly not going allow that from our fellas.”

Some of the players sharing the ice with the Privateers on Sunday include 2010 Olympic gold medal winners Gillian Apps, goalie Kim St-Pierre, Jayna Hefford and Hayley Wickenheiser, widely considered the best all-around female hockey player on the planet.

It won’t be the first time the national squad take on a major midget team; while preparing for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, the team played 28 games against major midget teams throughout Canada posting an 18-10 record.

While Sunday’s game serves to give the national squad a warm-up before their tournament opener at Mile One Centre against Team U.S.A. next Tuesday, it offers the Privateers a true test of their own abilities with just two weeks to go before the Monctonian AAA Challenge.

Bray says it’s valuable experience “to have that level and for me to see, at this point, where they stand up with a better skilled team.”

“This is a good test on a skill level and their ability to read and react to their breakouts and power plays. It makes us have to think a step quicker in our own.

Bray adds though, that his charges are not entirely sure what to expect.

“They’re not sure of the tempo, they’re not sure how they’re going to react to not being to get their body in the way.

“But they are pretty hyper about it and looking forward to it.”

koliver@thetelegram.com

Geographic location: Canada, Clarenville, Mount Pearl

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Recent comments

  • The Other Mike
    November 08, 2010 - 08:20

    Mr. Hounsell, don't send your child to play at $7000 (assuming he is that good because we all have the next Great One) and get the second car.....life is full of choices!!!

  • The Other Mike
    November 08, 2010 - 08:17

    Mr. Hounsell, don't send your child to play at $7000 (assuming he is that good because we all have the next Great One) and get the second car.....life is full of choices!!!

  • political watchdog
    November 03, 2010 - 14:40

    Mr. Hounsell got it right. And the worst of it is this...the 15 or so players paying the $7000. + to go to the mainland tourney only to sit on the bench vying for mercy minutes while the 1 or 2 stars who are being showcased and permitted to hog the ice time. Even then, their best hope is bench duty in the Q.

  • Mike
    November 03, 2010 - 12:35

    I guess Mr. Hounsell's son didn't make the team!

  • Mr. Hounsell
    November 03, 2010 - 08:08

    Well Wally, Maybe you should give another story to the Telegram and answer some more questions we all want to know - How much it is costing the parents of these AAA players to play on your team this year, and what it gets you. What you ask, well the $7000+ to dish out in hopes of your Johnny making it to the NHL. What does that $7000 give you? A trip or two to the mainland to showcase the one or two players on that team who have a shot at making a QMJHL team, the rest may make a maritime Jr. A team, a Jr. A team in the Central leauge, or end up toiling for one of our Semi Pro Sr. hockey teams. (Note: Last years QMJHL draft took one NFLD'er in the first 8 or 9 rounds - Andrew Ryan from Paradise, who was playing in Notre Dame last year, not here). What else does it give you locally? A trip to Central, Labrador, or the West Coast. The team just returned from the central area after outscoring them 29-5 or 6 in a three game sweep. And central is your biggest challenge. Perhaps Western or Labrador or St. John's second team will have more luck. What a waste of money for these parents to shell out $7000+ for a game of hockey against opponents who are happy to stay within 7 or 8 goals. Who can afford that? How many players who could make that team are not playing cuz they can't afford to play? MMMM, lets see, my son plays AAA hockey or our family gets a second car? You will get a challenge from these professional women, but what fun is it winning 9-1, 10-2 on a consistent basis. By the time you get to an Atlantic or National tournament you haven't faced any competition.

    • Chad
      November 04, 2010 - 07:05

      I agree with Mr. Hounsell on point. The point he made regarding no compitition is correct!! I don't even know why the huskies even joined the league this year. They use to be compititive years ago, but with no coaching over the years everything is gone down hill and with to much parent envolvement the hockey system throughout the province is gone to the dogs. If the other teams want to be compititive then this has to change. If parents want to spend 7000 + dollars then this is up to the parents and has nothing to do with the coaching staff. The travel and tournement fees dosn't be long adding up. as well as practice ice time. By going to these tournements outside of newfoundland they will get the caliber needed and will be seen by scouts!!