TRURO, N.S. – Aidan Hennigar and Tyson Stevens will wear Nova Scotia colours at the Canadian midget box lacrosse championship this summer in Coquitlam, B.C.
The Colchester County duo – teammates with the Truro Bearcats midget team – made the provincial squad following a series of spring tryouts and scrimmages in Halifax.
Nova Scotia coach KJ MacNeil said he wasn’t familiar with either player before tryouts. However, he quickly realized Hennigar and Stevens were special talents.
“It always makes it a little more difficult if you don’t have a background with them, but right off the bat Aidan’s athleticism stuck out; a good athletic build, confident at both ends of the floor and can run the floor really well. And he continued to impress us throughout the tryout process,” said MacNeil. “And Tyson’s a big body, he’s got great hands, which is a really strong combination in lacrosse; if you’re able to give the physical side of the game as well as have the scoring touch in tight, it really separates you from the pack.”
Hennigar, a 15-year-old from Greenfield, has been playing lacrosse for five years and looks forward to competing at his first Canadian championship.
“I was really excited when I first saw (I made the team); I’m pretty pumped to represent Nova Scotia,” he said.
Stevens has been playing for just three years, but has progressed at a rapid pace. He too, is thrilled to play for his province.
“It feels pretty good knowing I get to represent Nova Scotia,” said the 15-year-old Millbrook resident.
“We’ve got a good group; we don’t have much size but we’re pretty fast.”
Hennigar and Stevens – who both just completed Grade 10 at Cobequid Educational Centre – have seen action as call-ups this season with the Mi’kmaq Warriors junior A club. Competing at that level against bigger, stronger and faster athletes should bode well for both players at the national competition.
Nova Scotia finished fourth at last year’s national tournament in Calgary. Brookfield’s Calum McAndrew and Joseph Asselstine of Valley were members of that provincial team.
MacNeil said what impresses him most about this year’s group is how coachable all players are.
“We say bring it in, they put their balls down, they run in right away every time,” he said. “Giving lessons they’re super responsive, so as a coach you can’t ask for much more than that and now it’s our job to steer the ship in the right direction and give them an opportunity to succeed.”
The national tournament runs Aug. 20 to 24.