NEW GLASGOW – Last season it took triple overtime for the Scotsburn Major Bantam Crushers to win the SPUD minor hockey tournament in Charlottetown, P.E.I., and this year they hope to win the banner again, but in an easier fashion.
With eight teams from the NSMBHL involved last year compared to two this year (Scotsburn Crushers and Western Hurricanes), the Crushers will be guaranteed to see different teams. Head coach Richard White said the team is looking forward to their opportunity to play more N.B. and P.E.I. squads.
“It’s great for us because now instead of playing three of our six games (last year) against teams we play all the time in our league, we’ll now get to play some of these teams for the first time,” he said.
The Crushers will kick off the tournament Friday morning at 11:00 a.m. against the KV Rangers and the Kings County Kings at 4:30 p.m. Kicking off this tournament on Friday it will be the first of two tournaments in three weeks for the team. White said at this point of the year it’s a good thing to be playing multiple tournaments.
“Last year we came out of the Christmas break really well and that was us peaking at the right time,” he said. “This year we’re in a bit of a slump so we want to use this tournament as a spring board to get us started heading into our playoffs and use this as a tune up for own memorial tournament in two weeks. We only have five regular season home games left so we hopefully want to use this tournament, as somewhere we can be successful and maybe build some confidence.”
“I think this year the more hockey we can play at this point the better.”
This season only four players are returning from the SPUD banner winning team. White said to repeat the team has to treat the tournament the same way they did last year.
“This was the tournament where we all came together as a team for the first time probably, where guys were playing as hard as they can with their hearts on their sleeves,” he said. “There were a couple instances last year where a couple guys got hurt in games and other guys were stepping up and wanted to win for them. If we can have that same effort this time around I think we’ll be successful.”
Three weeks ago this Saturday, the Major Bantam Crushers took part in their team building exercise of pulling a fire truck across the John Brother MacDonald Stadium. Since that weekend White said the team has been coming together.
“Since that team building exercise we’ve played three very good games,” he said. “Unfortunately we’re still coming out on the wrong side of the results, but we’re definitely starting to see an upswing. Anytime a team goes through a funk it’s hard to dig yourself out of it, but I think the last couple of weeks we’ve really seen some progress made.”
“That’s why I say this is a little bit of a different perspective coming into the tournament this year because this is what’s going to help us spring forward and out of this funk that we’re in.”
After their first two games they have to wait to see where they sit in their division to determine who and when they play on Saturday.