Bearcat Banter – The kick off

This is the week the rubber hits the road – sort of.

The Maritime Junior Hockey League opens its 52 nd year of operation tonight with a single game slated for Pictou County where the Crushers host the Valley Wildcats.

Come Sunday night, all twelve teams will have gotten their feet wet. The Truro Bearcats travel to St. Stephen, Saturday, to face the County Aces in their home-opener.

All 133 teams in the Canadian Junior Hockey League (CJHL) will honour the Humboldt Broncos in home-openers by displaying “We Play For Them” banners to be unveiled in each member rink for the 2018 – 2019 season.

Optimism is high throughout the MHL with each organization prepared to put their game face on and their best foot forward immediately.

Competition within the Eastlink South and North Divisions should be keen from the get-go. All teams wish to be in Amherst at season’s end to join the host Ramblers in the 2019 Fred Page Cup.

From this point on, all 50 regulation games have meaning and consequence. Successful teams learn early there can be no nights off and alterations may be made right up to January 10 when roster are virtually frozen.

The Bearcats enter the campaign with two goalies, seven defencemen and fourteen forwards. The survivors are a solid
combination of returnees, experienced acquisitions and bright – eyed rookies.

Opening on the road is a Bearcat preference. Ironing out wrinkles, learning roles and bonding all contribute to preparation for next weekend’s home opener.

The Bearcats, while fresh from a successful pre-season schedule where they won three-of-four, are looking to get on the same page. It’s a work in progress.

The St. Stephen Aces, entering their fifth season, have undergone a complete coaching change in the off-season.

The Aces, like the Bearcats, are gnawing at the bit to get this season underway.

Let the games begin.