Season of opportunity
There's no questioning summer temperatures approached new heights.
The same might be said about the enthusiasm for the upcoming Maritime junior A hockey season in the league's 11 camps. All eyes will be on the 46 year-old circuit as it prepares to host four of the Canada's most prestigious junior A hockey events.
Each represents an opportunity and all member teams want to be part of it.
First up is the 2012 World Junior A Challenge to be hosted by the Yarmouth Mariners. The event started in 2006 and features teams from Canada East, Canada West and four international squads. The challenge is set for early November and again this year, the prospects game will be part of the festivities, featuring 40 NHL draft eligible junior A players from across Canada.
This is a unique opportunity to showcase their talent on an international stage and in front of a large audience of scouts from all ranks from across North America. Last June, 13 Canadian Junior Hockey League players were drafted in the NHL entry draft.
In early May, the Truro Bearcats will host the Fred Page Cup to determine the East team to compete in the Canadian championship.
Joining the Bearcats at the new civic center will be the winning teams from the Central Junior League, the Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA Quebec and the Maritime Junior champion.
The winners of the Eastern Canadian qualifier last year, the Woodstock Slammers, came within minutes of capturing the Canadian title. That effort turned some heads, indicating the Maritime circuit is alive and well and capable of challenging for all the marbles.
The final event of the season, the Royal Bank Cup, will be held shortly afterward in Summerside. Besides the host Capitals, qualifiers from Pacific, West, Central and East will strut their stuff in hopes of wearing the Canadian crown.
The Maritime Junior Hockey League plate is a full one. Obviously Hockey Canada and the Canadian Junior Hockey League agree our Maritime league can handle the tasks.
Gerry Hale is media relations co-ordinator for the Truro Bearcats junior A hockey club