Stephen MacInnis is shown last season with the men’s hockey team at Stanstead College in Quebec. MacInnis, an 18-year-old forward, will join the Crushers for the upcoming season.
NEW GLASGOW – With any competitive sports team you want your rookies to make an immediate impact, but regardless how well a rookie plays veterans are generally leaned on to lead the team.
Stephen MacInnis is likely an exception to the rule.
The 18-year-old from Cable Head East, P.E.I. is a rookie in the MHL this year, but is familiar with the Weeks Hockey Organization having been drafted by the Crushers at the 2011 MHL Entry Draft.
After being drafted MacInnis chose to return to Appleby College, a prep school in Oakville, Ont., for his Grade 12 season. He then took an offer to go to another prep school in Quebec, Stanstead College, where he played one season doing a year of post-grad schooling.
“Stanstead College offered me a spot on their team last year and I felt that was the best spot for me at the time so I ended up going there,” he said. “When it came to this season Pictou County was where I wanted to go when I came back to MHL. Over the summer I talked to Jason and to my parents and it turned out to be a good fit for me and the pieces came together well.”
Joining the Crushers team with a number of returning players, MacInnis said the toughest part will be proving to his teammates and coaches that he deserves to be there.
“Honestly the toughest thing for me is to prove to teammates and the coach that I may be a rookie in the league, but not going to play as a rookie,” he said. “I’m not a 16; I’m an 18 with a couple of good years of hockey under my belt. I think the biggest challenge is to prove to them that I belong and can play with the rest of the returning guys.”
The Weeks Crushers coaching staff said that they believe MacInnis is another piece to the puzzle as the build what hopes to be a championship team. MacInnis said he’s a hard working two-way forward that is strong in the faceoff circle. He admitted he’s not the most skillful player, but works hard and hopes to bring leadership.
“We never really thought we would see him in our league, so we moved him to Summerside as part of another trade last season,” said Crushers head coach Jason Malone. “He became a free agent this summer and was contacted by teams in the USHL and the OJHL, but we’re very excited that he chose us. He’s a gritty, hardnosed forward that has been a leader on every team he’s played on. He wants to win, and that’s the type of culture we want surrounding our team this season.”
MacInnis will be in town next week as the Crushers hold a veterans mini-camp starting Aug. 26 at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. The main camp opens Aug. 30 and will include four exhibitions games, including a home-and-home series with both the defending Kent Cup champion and RBC cup runner-up Summerside Western Capitals and the Fred Page Cup champion Truro Bearcats.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris