TRURO - It's never tough to find motivation to play your hardest when you're competing for an Atlantic championship.
Members of the Truro MU Rhino Renovations Bearcats should know, they've been there for the past two seasons and three times since 2008, bringing back bronze each time. It'll be even easier to find the drive to compete this spring as they'll be looking to strike gold on home ice.
The minor midget AAA hockey event is slated for March 21 to 24.
"It's pretty exciting," Bearcats forward Kenny MacInnes said. "It's a lot more competitive because everyone is there to win."
Truro's bid for the tournament, which attracts provincial champions from Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, P.E.I., and Newfoundland, along with a host spot, was recently announced as the winner giving a team already off to a 12-0-2 start even more reason to keep its foot on the gas.
"We don't want to back into it," Bearcats head coach Phil Lynds said. "We want to win provincials and come in representing Nova Scotia, not as the hosts."
That was already the plan before the winning bid was announced, but Lynds said having the tournament here offers a unique opportunity for his players.
"This will be a third Atlantics for some of our guys," he said. "Most kids never even get to win provincials. It has never been in Truro before and showcasing midget AAA to Truro is something we really wanted to do. Hopefully we can put on a show and win gold."
The winning bid was started more than a year ago and was spearheaded by Trisha MacInnes and Jeff Lynds.
The Bearcats, members of the five-team New Brunswick circuit, have beaten everyone else in the league, upended the two-time defending Atlantic champion Mid-Isle Matrix at their tournament in P.E.I., and have taken on all comers in Nova Scotia this season, giving the team confidence it can reel in an Atlantic title this spring.
"I would say we have a pretty good chance," MacInnes, a 17-year-old Bible Hill resident, said.
Not only is the event a big boost to the team, but it will also give a shot in the arm to the Colchester County economy. About 125 players are expected to compete, bringing families and friends to create plenty of spinoffs for area businesses.