TRURO, N.S. – Cameron Patton is proving his worth for the Carleton Place Canadians junior A hockey team, both on and off the ice.
“This organization loves Cam Patton the player and loves Cam Patton the person and the individual away from the rink,” said Jason Clarke, Canadians coach and general manager, in an interview Thursday with the Truro News.
Patton, an 18-year-old from Bible Hill, was recruited by Carleton Place after playing two seasons of midget hockey for Newbridge Academy, a Dartmouth-based private school. In 2017-18, he played for the Canadians junior B team before joining the junior A squad this season in the Central Canada Hockey League.
“I couldn’t have really asked for a better time here,” said Patton, who played minor hockey in the Truro association. “It’s a small town, kind of like Truro, so it wasn’t a big adjustment that way. The community all supports the hockey team and everyone kind of knows who you are, and it just makes it a fun place to play.”
Patton’s decision to pursue junior hockey in Ontario was based largely on exposure to the NCAA. The CCHL is scouted heavily by college recruiters south of the border, and Patton hopes to land a D-1 scholarship.
“Carleton Place commits a lot of players there every year, so it just seemed like a no-brainer and a great opportunity for me,” he said.
Patton, by his own admission, got off to a slow start this season while adjusting to playing against bigger, stronger and faster opponents at the junior A level. However, he put in the time and work necessary to become better and is now a dependable player in all areas of the ice and all facets of the game.
“He’s got great offensive ability, he’s got great defensive ability; we just really trust him,” said Clarke. “I think the thing with Cam is we know the way he lives his life away from the rink; he’s very dedicated, eats the right way, is at the gym . . . Everything that Cam has got in our program he has earned a hundred-and-fifty per cent, just from his attention to detail and work ethic.
“If you ever met his mom and dad (Heather and Steve) before, you would understand why Cam is the way he is,” he added. “I’m a firm believer that you’re a product of your own environment and it’s very clear that Cam has got a great family environment and work ethic; he’s just a great kid.”
Patton, whose MHL rights are owned by the Yarmouth Mariners, is one of three Nova Scotians playing for Carleton Place. Defenceman Brett Thorne of Bedford and forward David Gagnon of Halifax are also members of the Canadians, which Patton says is a close-knit group of players.
The Canadians, who won their sixth straight regular season title, are now in a battle with the Ottawa Junior Senators in the Bogart Cup playoff final. Ottawa edged Carleton Place 2-1 on Wednesday in Game 3 to grab a 2-1 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“The barn’s packed every night for the playoffs and it’s a great atmosphere to play in and you can just feel it in the community – everyone wants you to win,” said Patton.
The winner will represent the CCHL at the four-team Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian tournament May 1 to 5 in Amherst, and Patton would love to come home and compete for a championship.
“It would be amazing. I wouldn’t want anything more than that. We’ve got some work to do though, we’re down 2-1, but hopefully we’ll get it done. That would be great to play in Amherst.”