Sean Wadden, like several Conception Bay North hockey players, got off to a slow start this season, but things have changed since then and the Eastlink CeeBee Stars, with a red-hot Wadden leading the way, are off to another Herder Memorial Championship Series.
Wadden heads into the provincial senior hockey final this weekend against the Bud Light West Coast Senior Hockey League (WCSHL) champion Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts with a team-high 10 goals and five assists in 10 Subway Avalon East Senior Hockey League (AESHL) playoff games. That was after scoring 10 goals with 18 assists during the regular season.
Wadden said things began to turn around for him “probably at the midway point of the season,” when the entire team started to put it together.
“We went into a little funk for a bit, but we kept on working hard and turned it a round and got back to where we wanted to be,” said Wadden.
But Wadden isn’t thinking about personal stats. In fact, he wasn’t sure how many goals he had in the East playoffs.
“I just want to work hard and be reliable. We’ve got a lot of great players and we’re looking forward to the weekend,” he added.
CeeBees coach Ian Moores was never worried about Wadden’s contribution this season.
“A lot of the players were a little slow out of the gate for sure,” said Moores.
“It was basically a combination of slow play for the entire team and trying to find the right linemates,” said Moores. “I wouldn’t say Sean came out any slower than anybody else.
“We lost our first couple of game to start the season and I’m sure there were a number of players who felt they could have been playing better.”
Wadden is currently skating on a line with Matthew Thomey and Chris Sparkes, which is a trio put together for the East league’s final series against Mount Pearl H.J. Bartlett Electric Blades after the CeeBees lost the first two games. He had been playing with Scott Brophy and Chris Bartlett.
“Scott and Chris were great to play with,” said Wadden, “but when we went down two games, we decided to put on a shutdown line against (Andrew) Pearcey's line, so we changed it up. Now I’m playing with Thomey and Sparkes and so far we’ve been doing well together considering the quick turnaround.
“We went into a little funk for a bit, but we kept on working hard and turned it a round and got back to where we wanted to be.” - Sean Wadden
“We’re expected to score goals but all of our lines are quality lines and we get contributions from everyone.
“It’s never just one guy,” noted Wadden. “Whether it’s Freddy (Diamond) making saves or our D shutting guys down or our forwards putting the puck in the net and finishing their checks. It’s about a team effort. That’s what it’s all about if you want to win,” Wadden added.
“He’s playing really good hockey now.…hockey he’s capable of playing,” Moores said of Wadden.
“He’s still one of the best natural snipers in the province. He’s playing to his potential and we’ll continue to ride his hot hand for sure.”
Wadden, a St. John’s native, came up through the system with AAA midget Maple Leafs and Gonzaga Vikings high school team where he played with Teddy Purcell, now a second-line right winger with NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
Wadden played with the Cataracts last season, but he says there have been a lot of roster changes since then and he’s not sure what to expect from the West Coast champions.
He says he won’t know if the Herder final will be tougher than the Avalon East final until the puck drops and they get at least one game under their belts.
“They’ve added a lot of new guys to their team and I haven’t seen them play yet,” Wadden pointed out. “But I know what that organization is all about and they are very serious about wining. They really want this too, so it’s going to be a hard battle. We give them credit for getting out of the West league,” said Wadden.