Let the games begin

September 8, 2016
By Gerry Hale

The Maritime Junior Hockey League opens its 50 th season tonight in New Glasgow and Dieppe.

The League, originally known as the Metro Valley Junior ďBĒ League started up in 1967 with six teams aboard.

In the second season, the Berwick Shell Junior franchise was moved to Amherst, and the Kentville Riteways relocated in Truro.

While the Ramblers have been a fixture ever since, the Bearcats became a dominant player in the league winning championships in 1970, 1971, 1972, 1974 and 1976, before leaving the circuit mid-stream in the 1983 season.

Since returning in 1997, the Bearcats quickly re-established another winning record with Championship seasons in 2005, 2007 and 2014.

The current Bearcat franchise opens its season tomorrow night in Campbellton, followed by a Saturday visit to Miramichi.

While a road trip to Northern New Brunswick is never easy, it represents a great opportunity for the Bearcats to get their feet wet in regular season action and continue the process of coming together as a team.

At this early stage, itís clear the Bearcats have some high end veteran talent and a crop of young talent which has to learn the Bearcat ways.

Management is optimistic but realizes thereís plenty of work ahead. The mix is good and itís a matter of sorting things out and finding appropriate combinations.

The search for additional back end experience continues. Keeping the goals Ė against numbers down is a team responsibility anchored by a strong defensive corps.

The team has named its leadership group. This yearís Captain is Kyle Tibbo who returns following two seasons in the QMJHL. Assistant Captains are Denver Lynds, Brandon Hughes and newcomer, Zach Moody.

The Bearcats would like to duplicate the kind of start they had last year. Whatever the case, the goal is to get better each practice and each game.

Itís a long season and itís time to get started.

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