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Jr. B Elks set for home opener

Caelan Blaikie will captain the 2019-20 Brookfield Elks this season.
Caelan Blaikie will captain the 2019-20 Brookfield Elks this season. - Contributed

Junior B hockey will be in the spotlight Saturday afternoon at the Don Henderson Memorial Sportsplex in
Brookfield.
The new-look Brookfield Elks, coached by Phil Lynds, will host the East Hants Penguins with the Nova Scotia Hockey League game getting underway at 4 p.m.
“Everyone is pretty excited about the home opener,” said Elks captain Caelan Blaikie. “We’re playing with a lot of new faces, we’re basically a new team this season. We’re a young team but we have some talented players, a few of our players have experience in this league and a couple have played junior A.”
One of the Elks more experienced players, the 21-year-old Bible Hill resident commented on wearing the C.
“I’m honoured that they chose me for the role. As a new team, it’ll take us some time to get where we want to be. Our first goal will be to make the playoffs. As an over-aged player in his last season in junior hockey I’m excited to get into the season. I hope we can make it a year to remember.”
With good experience, Blaikie suited up last season with Pictou Scotians; the two previous seasons he was with the Elks. He spent two seasons in major midget in Pictou County and was drafted in the 2015 Maritime Hockey League draft by the junior A Crushers. It was one of the highlights of his hockey career.
“It was exciting at the time,” said Blaikie. “I had one season in major midget and I had no high expectations of being drafted. It’s kind of left me with a good memory.”
The Elks also boast the likes of William Shenkles, Cody Burghart, Sam Henderson, Connor Miller and Nick Ashcroft. Other quality players include Cole Fielding, Ryan Mackenzie, Callum Bouma and Luke Barter. The rumour mill has former Valley Wildcats (junior A) Riley McInnes joining the Elks in the near future.
The Elks entered the week with an early season 0-2 record.
 * * * *
During late summer, Brookfield Elks U12 fastpitch team posted five straight wins at Elk Park to win provincials. Then in Hoyt, N.B., the local club compiled a 6-0 record to capture the Eastern Canadian championship.
The future looks bright for ball in Brookfield, as outstanding talent being developed includes catcher Gavin Harrison, Broden Vantassell, Rylan Sutherland, Cohen Mingo, Porter Campbell and Emily Gates.
And, add to the mix, brilliant left-handed pitcher Keegan Maguire. In one 12-inning stretch, the bullet-throwing Maguire struck out 34 batters he faced. He pitched several no hitters this summer and he threw a couple perfect games.

Keegan Maguire

“I like to use three fingers on the seams,” Maguire, 12, of Valley, told me. “Gavin, my catcher, usually works the outside corner. It’s hard for a batter to reach them out there, that’s where I try to get the ball.”
The Grade 7 Redcliff Middle School student also credited his father Craig.
“Dad has helped me big time. One of the first things he taught me was to push towards the target and to
keep your head up. Dad says push and snap. It’s been quite a help to me that my father was a fastball pitcher.”
Craig, also known as Casey, who ran valuable Colchester County pitching clinics over the years, pitched 14 years with the Brookfield Elks. He pitched at a number of nationals and at several Eastern Canadian fastpitch
championships.
Winning provincials with the Elks, it was a first for the younger Maguire.
“Our team was hyped up pretty good all tournament. Our team spirit was good, we have a great bunch on our Elks team.”
Besides playing fastpitch ball, the outstanding young athlete played baseball for Truro Bearcats, an U13 peewee AA team. The Bearcats finished in fifth place (8-6-2) in the Nova Scotia Bluenose Baseball League. They were eliminated by Springhill in the playoffs.
“I played first base and left-field, it was my second season playing both sports. We were right in the running at provincials, it would have been really nice to have made it to the Atlantics.”
In hockey, Maguire, a centre, plays for Truro Bearcats peewee A team.
“I enjoy competition,” Maguire said. “I enjoy the fastpitch, the baseball and the hockey. I’ll probably be playing sports for quite a
few years.”
Lyle Carter’s sports column appears weekly in the Truro News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 902-673-2857.

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