The Bearcats, riding a five-game Maritime Hockey League win streak, have a great combination of newcomers and veteran players. One veteran player who continues to step up his game is defenceman and assistant captain Tyler Pyke.
“Tyler is in his third and final season as a Bearcat,” coach Shawn Evans said. “Tyler has added offense to his game this year, he’s a player that when the chips are down, you can count on him. Tyler plays against all the other team’s top players, he’s an important part of our hockey club.”
Pyke is another of those good-character players the Bearcats seem to come up with.
“Our team seems to be more skilled at this point compared to last year,” Pyke, 20, of Spryfield, said. “Our backend has a lot of experience, we have great goaltending and some good young guys up front. I feel we can again be a top contender in this league. As a team we’re going to work hard every day to get better.”
Besides last year’s Maritime Hockey League championship with Truro, in 2014-15 Pyke played with the Nova Scotia and Atlantic major midget champion Newbridge Academy, coached by Steve Crowell.
Earlier, in bantam he also played on a Maritime champion.
“Those championship seasons were special,” said Pyke. “When you win a championship, you never forget the players you played with; you make friendships that last a lifetime. I feel so fortunate to have played all my junior career with Truro – I couldn’t have ended up in a better organization. We have a good staff, great coaching and with this team, young players get pointed in
the right direction.”
Getting ready for a big game Friday night against undefeated Edmundston Blizzard, Pyke graciously took time to comment on matters other than hockey.
Here’s his response regarding his favourite food and favourite pastime.
“My nan’s (grandmother Diane’s) spaghetti and meatballs are pretty hard to beat. As a pastime I spend a lot of time trout fishing with my dad (Rick), we do a lot of fishing together.”
At four years-of-age, Pyke began skating on a backyard rink built by his father. A large sign read “The Spry Dome.” He began minor hockey the next year in the Chebucto Atlantics Minor Hockey Association.
Pyke and the Bearcats are in Yarmouth tonight to meet the highly-rated Mariners.
* * * *
It’s been over 20 years since Cole Harbour’s Matt and Josh Boulton arrived in town to play junior A hockey for Truro Bearcats.
Beginning in 1997-98 Matt played two seasons, firing 61 goals and adding 81 assists for 142 points. Josh, over three seasons, had 85 goals and 79 assists for 164 points. Both players high points totals have them ranked with the team’s leading scorers of all time.
Following their junior careers, Matt journeyed to South Korea to teach school, while Josh stayed around and furthered his carpentry trade.
Josh married the former Denise White of Hilden. The couple reside in Brookfield with their children Everett, 7 and Rory 5. Both Everett and Rory play in the South Colchester Minor Hockey Association.
What is incredible is Josh’s vast community and sports involvement. Making major contributions to sport – Josh is in his third year as the SCMHA development coordinator, he also coaches both novice initiation and novice development hockey. Very involved in skating schools, he instructs and helps skaters at several levels.
“I have two main objectives when working with skaters,” Boulton told me. “Everyone has to have fun – it’s great to have kids want to come back. Second, it’s important to help players reach their next level as skaters, through working with them on ways to improve their skating.”
A devoted family and community man, Boulton still finds time to be the chairman of the directors who oversee Brookfield Elks junior B hockey operations.
“We’ve been on a plan to become contenders again,” Josh said. “Steve Crowell is general manager and a consistent presence. We’ve had to change coaches a couple times for reasons out of our control, now, with Steve overseeing everything that happens on the ice, this will give us more stability. I’m optimistic as I look ahead, our hockey club’s goal is to compete with the league’s top teams.”
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902 673-2857.