Bearcat Banter: The boys are back in town

September 14, 2021

The 2021-2022 Bearcat hockey season will be the twenty-fifth since returning to the junior ranks.

For sure, it’s been a successful and exciting franchise, winning seven Provincial crowns, four MHL championships, a Fred Page Cup title, and an appearance in the national Royal Bank Cup.

That’s even more impressive when you consider there were no playoff opportunities the last two seasons because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Perhaps the worst kept secret in the local sporting community related to a Bearcat ownership change. Well, it’s a fact, the Front Office has changed.

Local businessmen, Jon Stanfield, Greg Mullen, and Dave Higgins constitute the new ownership group. Former owner, Stu Rath, remains on board as Senior Advisor.

The goals of the franchise have not changed. Providing competitive hockey to the local area while promoting player growth as athletes and young men, education and community involvement are keys.

Going forward, Dave Higgins will be closely associated with the team operation serving as team Governor and Team President.

Jim Barbour, former Bearcat player, and assistant coach will serve as General Manager.

Shawn Evans, head coach since March 2002 will give his full attention to coaching the Bearcats. Former Bearcat, Shayne Campbell, returns as an assistant coach.

The management pieces are all in place. It’s solid.

So, too, was the enthusiasm surrounding this year’s team. When camp opened last week, there were eleven returnees among the hopefuls, a couple of acquisitions, and a host of hungry young players looking to catch a spot.

Now that numbers have been reduced, all focus is on getting the keepers on the same page while always looking to get stronger as the team moves toward the opening of regular season play.

The Bearcats have a pair of exhibition games on tap for this weekend against the Valley Wildcats, Friday in Berwick, Saturday at the RECC (7:00 pm). Tuesday the Bearcats are in Pictou County to face the Crushers. Tickets for the Bearcat exhibition game are $5.00 cash at the door.

All things hockey are good to go.