‘We're hoping for a good turnout and we haven't been disappointed yet in the new building'
TRURO - The Truro Bearcats were celebrating with the Fred Page Cup the last time they skated on RECC ice.
Now they're ready to return to the party scene to celebrate the team's first eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship a little more tonight in their home opener.
The Bearcats (1-1-0-0) take on the Amherst Ramblers (0-3-0-0) at 7 p.m.
"It's definitely something we're looking forward to," Bearcats forward Brandon Pye said Friday over the phone as the team rode the bus to Woodstock for a 7:30 p.m. meeting with the Slammers. See www.trurodaily.com for the result. "The first home game is always big because you want to set the tone for the season and show your home fans what your team is all about and I feel we've got a great team."
After the Bearcats won their first Fred Page, the team immediately left town for the RBC Cup national championship in Summerside. Aside from the fans who attended the Fred Page final at RECC, a thrilling double overtime victory, the rest of the team's supporters didn't get the chance to acknowledge their team's outstanding 2012-13 season.
They'll get that chance tonight in pre-game ceremonies.
Before Ralph Brine, the father of former Bearcat and current pro David Brine, drops the puck in the ceremonial opening faceoff, the Bearcats will be honoured with several presentations to the team.
Pye, a 19-year-old Mount Pearl, Nfld., resident, said he hopes to be skating in front of a sold-out crowd.
"It's unreal," he said of playing in front of a packed house at RECC. "We're hoping for a good turnout and we haven't been disappointed yet in the new building. The fans are great here."
Pye said he feels this year's crop of Bearcats, which still features about half of last year's lineup, can provide their fans with fast-paced, hard-hitting hockey again this season. Returning are names like Cal Gloade, Daniel Perigo, Tyler Morrison, Philip Fife, David Mosher and Ryan Moore.
The team is also excited about off-season additions Jordan Kennedy, Daniel Poliziani and Brandon Bazinet and rookies like Jean-Marc Evans-Renaud, Kyle Tibbo and Jordan Wentzell.
"We've got a good core of returning guys who have a lot of experience from the Fred Page and RBC and we've added some young guys to the lineup and we're looking good all over the ice."
But Pye said the contest will be no walk in the park. The Ramblers and Bearcats have a long-standing rivalry and Amherst would like nothing more than to notch their first win of the season and rain on Truro's parade.
"They're a good team," Pye said. "They're not going to just come in here and roll over."
On Sunday the Bearcats host the Valley Wildcats for a 2 p.m. start.
Maritime Junior Hockey League
Truro Bearcats vs. Amherst Ramblers
When: Saturday, 7 p.m.
Where: Rath Eastlink Community Centre (RECC)
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