AMHERST, N.S. – From the opening of training camp Jacob Melanson was quietly confident he had a good shot at making Nova Scotia’s men’s hockey team going to the 2019 Canada Games in Red Deer, Alta.
That confidence was rewarded earlier this week when the 15-year-old Amherst native was selected to the club.
“I’m really excited about it, it’s a once in a lifetime opportunity – something I’ve been working toward for a long time,” said Melanson, a Grade 10 student at Amherst Regional High School, said.
Melanson has been turning heads with his skills almost from the moment he first stepped on the ice with the Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association a decade ago. From atom to major bantam, he played with the Truro Bearcats minor hockey system – setting the franchise record for goals and points with the Major Bantam Bearcats with 63 goals and 101 points.
This season, his first with the Weeks Major Midgets of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, he has continued his scoring ways with 30 points in 22 games.
He’s hoping to make an impression on scouts and some of the teams that may call his name at next spring’s Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft.
“I want to show myself to scouts and show them what I can do,” Melanson said. “I’m a gritty player. I like to throw body and put the puck in the net.”
To prepare, he will be working hard in the gym and working to perfect everything in practice.
His team this year, in Pictou County, is young and sits at the bottom of the league standings, but has lost at least eight games by either a goal or two.
“We’re a very young team this year, but we’re much better than our record shows,” he said. “For me, it was probably the biggest jump I’ve ever made. It’s much bigger than the jump from atom to peewee or peewee to bantam. I feel like I’m really starting to get the feel for it now.”
When camp started in April, Melanson went in knowing the competition would be stiff, but he knew and has played with many of the players on various Hockey Nova Scotia teams at the Atlantic Cup as well as through minor hockey and spring teams.
“I thought I had a good camp and early on believed I could make this team,” Melanson said. “I think we’re going to have a good team. We’re going to be strong up front and on defence and we have a couple of very good goalies. I think we’re going to do very well.”
Nova Scotia went 1-2-1 in 2015 in Prince George, B.C. and 0-0-3 in 2011 in Halifax.
Melanson is the first Cumberland County resident to make the men’s hockey team since Bronson Beaton played in 2011 in Halifax while Zach Carson played in the 2007 games in Whitehorse, YT.
Carly Jackson played for the women’s team in Prince George before going on to play at the University of Maine and with the Canadian women’s team at the 2015 IIHF Under-18 world championships in Buffalo.