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Sports Scene: Higgins an exceptional 16-year-old hockey prospect


Followers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League will tell you there are some outstanding 19 and 20-year-olds around the league.

So, when a 16-year-old comes along with outstanding puckhandling, scoring prowess and speed, people really take notice.

Such is the case with Truro Bearcats rookie forward Ben Higgins.

“Ben just enjoyed his best weekend of the season,” veteran coach Shawn Evans told me earlier this week, after a two-goal weekend from Higgins. “I attribute a lot of his success to his speed. When Ben uses his speed he plays really well.”

Higgins, of Bible Hill, is 5’9” and weighs 152 pounds. The exciting forward recorded two goals and two assists in the Bearcats last two games.

“It has been a pretty good season so far,” Higgins reflected. “I haven’t changed my game a lot from playing midget. I wasn’t surprised coming into this league… I realized the players were bigger, stronger and faster.”

The Grade 11 Cobequid Educational Centre student spoke about positives with the Bearcats.

“I like our young prospects and what the veteran players bring as well. Our players are all blending together. We have some good role models.”

Higgins came up through the local minor hockey system, playing AAA at the atom and peewee levels. Following two seasons of major bantam in Truro, he starred with the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets last season. A gem at fielding sports questions thrown his way, I asked Higgins what advice he would give to a young hockey player starting out.

“I’d tell a young hockey player starting out to go out there and have fun,” Higgins said. “Try your hardest all the time. Have a good time, enjoy yourself. This game is a lot of fun.”

Higgins and the Bearcats will host one of the league’s top contenders, the Dieppe Commandos, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

Elks benefitting from goaltending

Although the Brookfield Elks have had a rough start to their 2015-16 Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League season, they’ve had strong goaltending from Aaron Mantle and Austin Munn.

Tonight when the Elks meet the Glace Bay Miners at 5:30 p.m. in Brookfield, Mantle will be the starting goaltender. The polite, young puckstopper was drawn in to Brookfield by Josh Boulton, who invited him to try out.

“Although I wanted to take a year and concentrate on my schooling and courses at Saint Mary‘s University, I joined Brookfield. Right away, I loved the community and the coaches. All the players and everyone with the organization have been real good to me.”

A Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League star for three seasons, Mantle played with the Dartmouth Gladiators last year.

“I like our Elks team,” Mantle said, crediting leaders like Brady Meech, James Shapleigh and Zack Bates. “We have a good offence and a good defence. Really, we have all the tools. The big thing I guess is to get everyone clicking on the same night…We realize that we can all contribute more… I feel we’re getting better and a step closer to being the team we want to be.”

Mantle, who’s junior A rights belong to the Campbellton Tigers, is a product of the Bedford Minor Hockey Association. He played for the Western Hurricanes, based on the South Shore, in major bantam hockey.

A third generation goaltender, Mantle is following in the footsteps of his father Dillon and his grandfather Bill Mantle. With a strong Colchester County connection, the young goaltender’s grandfather grew up in Lower Truro. His great grandparents, Stan and Ada Mantle, were well known in the Truro area.

Note: Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

So, when a 16-year-old comes along with outstanding puckhandling, scoring prowess and speed, people really take notice.

Such is the case with Truro Bearcats rookie forward Ben Higgins.

“Ben just enjoyed his best weekend of the season,” veteran coach Shawn Evans told me earlier this week, after a two-goal weekend from Higgins. “I attribute a lot of his success to his speed. When Ben uses his speed he plays really well.”

Higgins, of Bible Hill, is 5’9” and weighs 152 pounds. The exciting forward recorded two goals and two assists in the Bearcats last two games.

“It has been a pretty good season so far,” Higgins reflected. “I haven’t changed my game a lot from playing midget. I wasn’t surprised coming into this league… I realized the players were bigger, stronger and faster.”

The Grade 11 Cobequid Educational Centre student spoke about positives with the Bearcats.

“I like our young prospects and what the veteran players bring as well. Our players are all blending together. We have some good role models.”

Higgins came up through the local minor hockey system, playing AAA at the atom and peewee levels. Following two seasons of major bantam in Truro, he starred with the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets last season. A gem at fielding sports questions thrown his way, I asked Higgins what advice he would give to a young hockey player starting out.

“I’d tell a young hockey player starting out to go out there and have fun,” Higgins said. “Try your hardest all the time. Have a good time, enjoy yourself. This game is a lot of fun.”

Higgins and the Bearcats will host one of the league’s top contenders, the Dieppe Commandos, tonight at 7 p.m. at the Rath Eastlink Community Centre.

Elks benefitting from goaltending

Although the Brookfield Elks have had a rough start to their 2015-16 Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League season, they’ve had strong goaltending from Aaron Mantle and Austin Munn.

Tonight when the Elks meet the Glace Bay Miners at 5:30 p.m. in Brookfield, Mantle will be the starting goaltender. The polite, young puckstopper was drawn in to Brookfield by Josh Boulton, who invited him to try out.

“Although I wanted to take a year and concentrate on my schooling and courses at Saint Mary‘s University, I joined Brookfield. Right away, I loved the community and the coaches. All the players and everyone with the organization have been real good to me.”

A Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League star for three seasons, Mantle played with the Dartmouth Gladiators last year.

“I like our Elks team,” Mantle said, crediting leaders like Brady Meech, James Shapleigh and Zack Bates. “We have a good offence and a good defence. Really, we have all the tools. The big thing I guess is to get everyone clicking on the same night…We realize that we can all contribute more… I feel we’re getting better and a step closer to being the team we want to be.”

Mantle, who’s junior A rights belong to the Campbellton Tigers, is a product of the Bedford Minor Hockey Association. He played for the Western Hurricanes, based on the South Shore, in major bantam hockey.

A third generation goaltender, Mantle is following in the footsteps of his father Dillon and his grandfather Bill Mantle. With a strong Colchester County connection, the young goaltender’s grandfather grew up in Lower Truro. His great grandparents, Stan and Ada Mantle, were well known in the Truro area.

Note: Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.

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