Youthful Elks aim to make year count

‘These young guys definitely want to get better'

Published on January 3, 2014
From left, Brookfield Elks goaltender Brandon Archibald, Ian O'Brien, Jacob Bowers and coach Josh Boulton.

By Lyle Carter
Name the high flying forward who joined the Truro junior A Bearcats in 1997 from the Smith Falls Bears of the Central Junior Hockey League in Ontario.

Name the high flying forward who joined the Truro junior A Bearcats in 1997 from the Smith Falls Bears of the Central Junior Hockey League in Ontario.

Teaming with his brother Matt and a competitive Truro club, Josh Boulton recorded 85 goals and 77 assists over three seasons and stands high on the list of all-time leading Bearcats scorers.

Becoming a permanent resident of this area following junior hockey Boulton has coached several seasons in the junior B and major bantam ranks.

From Cole Harbour, Boulton is an assistant coach to Hugh Matheson for the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League's Brookfield Elks.

"We had to rebuild this year," Boulton, 34, of Brookfield, said. "We're carrying nine rookies. We have some good quality players who show up to compete. We're forming the foundation for the future of the Brookfield Elks."

Boulton feels the Elks (5-16-1-3) are on board with management's planning.

"The core of the team really understands what this year will mean," Boulton said. "Instead of giving up on the season our young players are committed to seeing it through and they're determined to get everything they can out of the year.

"When I come to the rink these players have a smile on their face. What more can a guy ask? These young guys definitely want to get better. We're trying to show them what we want and they're buying in. Our record doesn‘t tell the whole story. We've had nine one-goal losses so we could actually be higher in the standings."

Boulton feels the Elks coaching staff works well together.

"Hughie (Matheson) Charles Bowers and I all contribute in different areas. Hughie and I have different styles but that's good. I generally do the practice planning and concentrate on special teams. I name the power play and penalty killing units. We three coaches are making it work together."

Forward Ian O'Brien grew up in Newfoundland and played his early hockey in Stephenville.

Arriving in Truro last year he enjoyed a 30-plus point season in minor midget with Truro MU Rhinos Renovations Bearcats.

"I liked the challenge of trying junior B this season with the Elks," O'Brien, 17, of Elmsdale said. "After talking with the team's manager, Joel Dawe, I attended training camp."

In 24 games, O'Brien has eight goals and five assists.

"This hockey is challenging and not a walk-through," O'Brien said. "It's the fastest hockey I have played. The players are bigger and it's like playing against men rather then teenagers. I'm not the biggest guy so I have to use my brain and make it a mental game more than a physical game."

Jacob Bowers, another forward, played his early hockey in the South Colchester Minor Hockey Association. After playing with the Elks in midget A last season and major bantam with Truro Bearcats in 2011-12, Bowers is noticeably improving each game as a member of the junior Elks.

"I'm enjoying the faster pace game," Bowers, 16, of Brookfield, said. "The players are stronger and this hockey is a bigger challenge. It's the most competitive league I've ever played in."

Bowers, who has a goal and four assists in 25 games, said it's unique to be playing under his grandfather Hughie Matheson.

I'm glad to get a chance to play under Hughie's coaching and with my cousin Lucas (Dawe) I'm really enjoying the season. I'm having a blast playing junior B. I'm hoping to see our team start a winning streak early in the new year."

Goaltender Brandon Archibald joined the Elks recently from the junior C Fundy MU Rhino Renovations Rhinos. He suited up in 2011-12 with the minor midget Truro Bearcats.

"What stands out to me is we have a great bunch of guys," the 17-year-old Truro resident said. "We all want to improve. We want to get better as a team. I realize I'm a young guy gaining experience and I just want to be part of the team and help out."

Archibald, with a personal record of 0-4 and a save percentage of 8.82, is looking forward to recording his first win in early 2014.

The Elks return to action Tuesday at Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex in Brookfield when they meet the Bay Ducks at 7.30 p.m.

Lyle Carter's sports column appears every Saturday in the Truro Daily News. If you have a strot idea, contact him at 673-2857.