X-Men to battle Tommies at the Wellness Centre
NEW GLASGOW – University hockey is the best amateur hockey in Canada according to Pat Powers and Brad Peddle.
This week Pictou County residents have the opportunity to witness Atlantic University Sport action as Powers’ St. Thomas Tommies and Peddle’s St. FX X-Men battle in exhibition play at the Wellness Centre. Peddle said the biggest difference fans will notice between university and junior hockey is the level of play.
“I think the biggest thing fans will see is the size and speed difference,” he said. “Junior hockey is good of course, but the majority of our players are 21 to 25 and are coming out of junior and are bigger and stronger. The CIS (Canadian Interuniversity Sport) is the closest thing to pro hockey that you can get in Canada and a lot of our guys could’ve gone on to play pro hockey at some level, but chose to get their education first.
“Fans will definitely notice how fast it is and physical it is. The AUS is known for how competitive it is every night because of that speed.”
The game, hosted by PCMHA’s rep division, is Friday night at 7 p.m. in the Sobeys Arena at the Wellness Centre. Although it’s only exhibition play, both coaches said their exhibition games are more important than other leagues.
“College hockey is definitely different than junior or pro because our exhibition schedule is extensive,” said Peddle. “It’s really important because we don’t play enough games (28 regular season games). Our goal is to get better and improve constantly throughout our exhibition schedule so that we come out of the gate strong for the regular season.”
Powers said his team is using their exhibition schedule to get on the same page and used to one system.
“These games are extremely important to the us, especially this season,” he said. “We have nine new guys in our lineup coming in from various programs. There is also half of our program coming in used to the systems run by Troy (Ryan). We want to get everyone on the same page and used to the same system. Exhibition games are a great opportunity for us to do that besides practice.”
Our goal is to get better and improve constantly throughout our exhibition schedule so that we come out of the gate strong for the regular season. Brad Peddle - St. FX X-Men head coach
A number of former Weeks Junior A Crushers are expected to be in the lineup including Ryan Fortune, Mitchell Taylor and Dylan Frank with the X-Men.
“It’s always great for us to be able to come there because we have strong ties with Pictou County and a great relationship with the junior team there with a few former players now playing here,” said Peddle. “We’re always looking to play games in our area, but that being said, if we can play outside Antigonish it’s good thing. A lot of people travel from Pictou County and Cape Breton West to our games, so this game is a great opportunity to bring some of their former players back and expose people to the product and the level of play at the AUS level.”
Jordan Moore will suit up for the Tommies. Powers had a lot of positive things to say about him, in particular about their exhibition game on Thursday.
“Last night (Thursday) in our exhibition game and throughout training camp he has shown he will be an asset for this team this season,” he said. “He shows a lot of poise and skill with the puck. He’s not afraid to skate with the puck or shoot and can generate offensive opportunities on the power play for us. I think he’ll be really good years to come.”
Tickets are $8 for adults and $6 for students. They can be purchased at Cleve’s or by contacting a PCMHA executive member.
On Twitter: @NGNewsChris