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Leger plays key role for Bearcats

Forward Nate Leger has been key for the Bearcats this season.
Forward Nate Leger has been key for the Bearcats this season.

TRURO, N.S. – Nate Leger’s not a flashy player, but he certainly is effective.

Leger, 20, a gritty forward, has been a key member of the Truro Bearcats this season and will be expected to continue his strong play at this week’s Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship in Terrebonne, Que.

“He goes to the dirty areas, he dumps and chases,” said Bearcats coach Shawn Evans. “He’s not a big guy, but he competes and he makes the other team earn their ice.

“He gets under people’s skin. The goals he gets, he’s not coming down off the wing and blasting it home, he’s going to the net and he finds a way.”

Leger made his way to Truro last August in a trade with the Yarmouth Mariners that also included defenceman Dan Little in exchange for a 2017 fourth-round draft pick and future considerations.

“I was really excited to come,” said Leger, a New Glasgow native. “I heard nothing but good things about playing here, so I was really excited to get the call.”

Leger, five-foot-eight, 160 pounds, played major midget for Pictou County. He went undrafted in the Maritime Junior Hockey League, but made the hometown Crushers as a walk-on in 2014. He missed out on a MHL title with the Crushers last season when he was traded to the Mariners in a deadline deal.

Evans said Leger was “a thorn in our side with how he played,” and is happy to have him on his team.

“He’s a great young man, plays with his heart on his sleeve,” he said. “Really, really well-respected in the dressing room.”

Leger scored five goals and added 14 assists in 43 regular-season games. He played in all 17 of the Bearcats playoff games, recording two goals and two assists.

“Sometimes people look at all your 20 year olds to be stars and be the go-getters,” Evans said. “You need to piece your team together and he’s been a very, very good piece for us.

“The nicest thing I can say about him is that the team is going to get his best effort and in a team-oriented way.”

Leger said winning a MHL title in his final season of junior hockey was a thrill.

“It’s pretty exciting, definitely a good way to finish it off, but we’re still gonna keep going,” he said.

Leger and his teammates open the Fred Page Cup Wednesday against the Quebec champion Terrebonne Cobras, beginning at 8:30 p.m. The winner of the four-team event will advance to the RBC Cup later this month in Cobourg, Ont.

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