© Kirk Starratt
Returning Midget Valley Wildcats players Brad Boone (left) and Michael Pettet talk strategy with new head coach Dan Turner at tryouts Aug. 17.
By Kirk Starratt
With the memory of making it all the way to the national championship fresh in their minds, returning Major Midget Valley Wildcats hockey players are hoping for another successful season.
Tryouts for the team began at Kentville Centennial Arena Aug. 17. Final cuts being made in early September. There are about 40 players vying for a spot on the final roster.
Returning players Brad Boone and Michael Pettet, both 17 years old, have their sights set on another successful season. Both already have two seasons with the Midget Wildcats under their belts. Boone, who plays defence, said last year’s ‘Cats were among the six best midget teams in Canada. The team made it all the way to the Telus Cup in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, in April.
“It was really great to be a part of it,” Boone said.
When asked if he thinks they’ll make it that far this season, Boone said it’s quite possible and added he has been impressed with what he has seen from the new recruits. The Kingston resident said he thinks the reasons why the team was so successful last year was a combination of great coaching and having a strong group of returning players.
It isn’t all about competition for Boone, who said he enjoys hanging out with his teammates. He said being part of the team is a great experience for everyone.
Pettet, a goaltender, said the Telus Cup experience was amazing and a lot of fun. The team members are all friends and the Kentville player said he looks forward to similar success this season.
“We all bonded together and we stuck to the game plan,” Pettet said.
Pettet said he would like to see the team win it all, but he thinks just making it back to the national finals is a good goal. Although the team dominated the Atlantic Provinces, Pettet said, it has a lot to prove to be the best in Canada. He said it was interesting to see how they compared to the other top teams from across the country.
Head coach Dan Turner said the boys take it very seriously and have been training hard all summer. He said midget is a three-year league with players ranging in age from 15 to 17. This is Turner’s first season coaching the midgets after coaching for the bantam ‘Cats. For the past five seasons the midget team was coached by Nick Greenough, who will now be coaching the new Junior A team.
There are a few players who would be returning to the Midget Wildcats who are involved in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League tryouts, but regardless of their status, Turner said this year’s Midget Valley Wildcats will be a strong team.
“We won’t know what this team is going to look like for another couple weeks,” Turner said. “How many guys we get back will have an impact but we have a good core here.”