A Kentville hockey player says he’s “pretty excited” to be invited to attend a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League camp this summer.
Brady Atwater, who suited up for the Valley Junior A Wildcats last season, has been invited by the Val D’Or Foreurs to try out at the camp, which starts Aug. 12.
“If I make the team or not, I’m glad I’m getting to opportunity with the experience of attending the camp. It is a thing I’ve always wanted to do,” Atwater said. “I’m very happy that I’m getting this opportunity. It’s a great experience that all hockey players wish for.”
Val D’Or Maritime scout Claude Aucoin made the offer to the defenceman June 11. Atwater first caught the Kingston resident’s attention after he took in a Valley Wildcats game.
“It’s my job to travel all over the province and Maritimes to look at first or second year midget AAA players, first of all, who are draft eligible and look for free agents who haven’t been selected or who have slipped through the cracks,” Aucoin explained.
Atwater fit the second category quite well. The 19-year-old took a different route to junior A than most hockey players, opting to play high school hockey instead of bantam or midget.
“It was his first year of junior A, he’d never played midget and played high school hockey at NKEC. To see him play at that level and play at that level very well impressed me and made me wonder what else is in the tank for Brady? What else can he do? It made me follow him – his game is just excellent.”
In addition to being a strong defensive addition to the Wildcats, Atwater was also able to put the puck in the net, picking up nine goals and 17 assists in the regular season and one goal and two assists in the playoffs.
“His skating and his ability to skate and handle the puck through traffic impressed me,” Aucoin said. “He’s a very offensive defenceman.”
That could make him a good fit for Val D’Or, which scored the most goals in the QMJHL last season. His age could also help – at 19, Atwater would not be competing at the camp for one of the limited number of spots allowed for younger players on the team.
“He could bring a bit more maturity to the blue line,” Aucoin said.
“I think he’ll fair out very well and they’ll give him a really good look when he goes to camp.”
Atwater says he realizes he has a challenge ahead of him. He adds that he’s
“It won’t be easy to make (the team), but I’m going to give it my all, do what I can do, don’t overdo it, just keep my game smart and simple and hopefully I’ll stick around, I’m very excited about the opportunity,” Atwater said.
Atwater has already been training this summer in preparation for the Valley Wildcats’ camp.
“After this news, it makes me want to train harder to get even better,” he said.