The only downside of a successful hockey season is the shortness of the off-season.
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For the record, the Truro Junior A Bearcats are more than willing to face that shortcoming while tending to all of the requirements and decisions needed since the gear was packed away last spring.
For sure, there was plenty to occupy the collective minds of the Bearcat brain trust. By the middle of June, all MHL teams dealt with the reduction of protected lists, an expansion draft, the territorial draft and the annual midget draft.
The MHL had already welcomed the St. Stephen County Aces to the Meek Division. The next task was to provide players through the expansion draft. Each of the existing teams was permitted to protect twelve skaters and one goalie on their respective protected lists, which were reduced to 33 players. Territorial picks from the previous year and any junior carded 17-year-olds were not eligible.
The Bearcats came out of this process well, losing a single player to the Aces, albeit a good prospect drafted from the Saint John Midget Vitos in 2013.
Each team is allowed two Territorial picks, usually local talent deemed capable of making the move to the junior ranks relatively soon. The Bearcats made a single selection, giving them extra picks later in the annual draft.
Most successful MHL teams have built their competitive edge through that draft. The rosters of last year’s Kent Cup finalists (Truro and Dieppe) were loaded with players via the midget draft.
While the Bearcats made eleven picks this year, most would be considered future prospects; however, history has shown that some take full advantage of the opportunity presented, making life tough for the decision makers. That’s a good thing.
The next core group of Bearcats, in reality, is in that mix of players selected over the last two years. As always, the Bearcat future remains bright.
Most recently, MHL teams were able to select players in the Quebec Major League Supplementary Draft. These would be free agents, undrafted previously in the MHL. Sometimes this pays off.
A lot of decisions have been made over the last few months. Their merit will be put to the test this weekend when training camps open in all Maritime Junior Hockey centres.
Truro’s 18th camp gets underway Sunday with fitness tests set for 1:00 pm at the TAAC. Prospects, returnees, invitees, and recruits hit the ice 7 p.m. at the RECC.
It’s game on.