His old midget hockey running mate, Ted Purcell, is a stride or two away from the start of a pro career, yet the equally-skillful Sean Wadden remains contented in his native Newfoundland where hes the big fish in the small pond today with a senior hockey championship and an MVP award to boot.
Which couldnt make the Conception Bay North CeeBee Stars happier.
I can see Wadden being one of the top stars in senior hockey for a long, long time, veteran C.B.N. forward Chris Crosbie said Sunday evening as the CeeBees trekked back from Corner Brook.
Wadden was a standout
Wadden, 21, was one of the big reasons C.B.N. came away with its second straight Telegram Herder Memorial Trophy championship from the left coast, after dispatching Deer Lake Red Wings in six games.
The CeeBees clinched the final with a 5-2 win Saturday night at the Pepsi Centre. Wadden was named the finals MVP afterwards.
The St. Johns native has been away the past couple of years, splitting time in junior A outposts in Pembroke, Ont. and Yarmouth, N.S., where he led the Mariners in scoring one year in the Maritime junior A circuit.
This all came after Waddens St. Johns AAA Maple Leafs won the bronze medal at the 2003 national midget hockey championship in Sault Ste. Marie, Ont. where his linemate, Purcell, was named the tournaments MVP.
Purcell kicked around junior hockey in Canada and the U.S. for a couple of years before emerging as a future professional at the University of Maine this season where he won conference rookie of the year honours. Purcell is now mulling over offers to leave school early and turn pro.
Colin Greening, who is at Cornell University on a hockey scholarship, and Scott Brophy, the first captain of the St. Johns Fog Devils and a now member of the Saint Marys University Huskies, also played on that Leafs squad.
Wadden stood out in the Soo too, finishing second in Leafs team scoring and potting a goal his fourth of the tournament in that bronze-medal game.
Many who follow such things will agree he has the speed and touch around the net to play a pro game some place, either in the ECHL or perhaps one of the myriad of low-level operations in the U.S.
Most would jump at the opportunity. Most, except for Wadden.
Nah, he said, the CeeBees in the background still celebrating on the long bus ride back to the east coast. Thats definitely not me. Im staying here.
Better than expected
This year was more than I could have expected.
If he stays in C.B.N., Wadden will pretty soon be the player the CeeBees will build their team around, which wouldnt be such a bad starting point.
And with two straight championships, dare we mention the D word?
Yeah, somebody already muttered that, said Crosbie of the hint of a dynasty unfurling in Harbour Grace. We looked back over the Herder winners and theres not a lot of repeats.
And I dont see many changes coming on this team.
And the last thing the CeeBees require right now is change.
We were the defending champs, Crosbie said, and there was always talk of Deer Lake and Darren Langdon (the ex-NHL enforcer).
Hes an excellent fella and theyve got a great team, but they couldnt match us line for line. We had too much depth.
See FANS, page C3