‘I’ve never been more proud of a group of players’

Christopher Cameron
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Published on April 06, 2014

Weeks Major Midgets’ forward Cody Johnston, right, looks for a shot from the point during Saturday afternoon’s game at the Pictou County Wellness Centre between Weeks and the Saint John Vitos. With both teams having 2-1 records going into the game, the team that won advanced to the final. Unfortunately for the hosts the Vitos won 3-1. 

Published on April 05, 2014

Weeks Major Midgets forward Michael Stuart, right, is shown during Friday night's game against the Halifax McDonalds. Weeks feel 2-1 to Halifax at the Wellness Centre.

Published on April 04, 2014

Weeks Major Midgets goalie Matthew Williams covers the puck as Central IcePak forward Adam Dawe looks for a rebound during Friday afternoon action at the Atlantic Major Midget Hockey Championships being played at the Wellness Centre. Weeks defeated Central 3-1 in the game. Their game at 8 p.m. against Halifax was not completed before press time. 

Published on April 03, 2014

Weeks Major Midgets forward Mark Vokey looks for space with Kensington Wild defenceman Bailey Webster staring him down during Thurday night's game at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.

Published on April 03, 2014

Weeks Major Midgets

Published on February 09, 2014

Newbridge Gladiators defenceman Noah McMullan gets chased by Weeks Major Midgets forwards Noah Archibald and Nathaniel Leger during Sunday’s NSMMHL action at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Weeks won Sunday’s game 6-5 to tie their playoff series 2-2. 

Published on December 29, 2013

Weeks Major Midgets forward Evan MacLennan, left, celebrates his third period goal with Noah Archibald and Doug Barton on Sunday afternoon at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. Weeks defeated the Cape Breton Tradesmen 6-2 to win their fourth straight game. 

MacIntyre discusses ups and downs of Weeks Major Midgets season

NEW GLASGOW – The easiest thing to do would’ve been to quit, throw in the towel and say they couldn’t do it.

Weeks Major Midgets head coach Dave MacIntyre said the players didn’t take the easy way out, but they dug deep and proved they could do more than what their record showed. In their first ten games they opened with a 2-8 record and midway through the season (17 games), they still hadn’t won a third game, now with 15 losses.

“I honestly just think it was a special group of kids,” said MacIntyre about how the team overcame the tough start to the season. “We had players quit an hour before the first game of the season, players that quit for selfish reasons in my opinion. But they all rallied together and never stopped believing.

“They believed we were better than the points showing up on the board, the coaching staff believed it and we kept preaching that brighter days were ahead. We told them to keep sticking to the game plan. They stuck to it and bought in.”

In the second half of the season, they walked away with a 9-7-1 record, good enough to have them finish fifth in the NSMMHL. They then moved into the first round of the playoffs against the Newbridge Gladiators, losing the series 4-2 on Feb. 15.

With the Atlantic Major Midget Hockey Championship starting just over six weeks later, it meant there had to be some creativity in how they prepared themselves.

“There is nothing harder than practicing four times a week for five weeks because you can’t play any games,” said MacIntyre. “It’s hard to maintain focus and work ethic sometimes, but they showed up every practice and worked hard. We had some hard conditioning skates at the end of practices some nights as well and they always pushed themselves as hard as they could.”

At Atlantics, held at the Pictou County Wellness Centre last week, the hosts finished with a 2-2 record. They opened with a 4-3 victory over Kensington (P.E.I.) on Thursday before their two-game day on Friday.

In the afternoon they won 3-1 against the Central IcePak (N.L.). Against their NSMMHL rivals that night, the Halifax McDonalds, they came up just short of winning three straight games and possibly making the championship final. Losing 2-1 to Halifax, they had to win against the Saint John Vitos to advance.

In the final day of round-robin play on Saturday, they lost that game 3-1 to the New Brunswick champions.

Although they didn’t make the final, which most outsiders didn’t expect them to, MacIntyre said their goal from the beginning was to win the tournament.

“Our expectation was that we weren’t just going to be there because we came in the back door,” he said. “We said we’re going to be good enough to be there and talked all along about the fact we would be there to win it. I honestly thought the talent and heart in our room would surprise people and we did that. Some thought we over-achieved based on where you would think we fit in on paper.

“Looking back I know there was definitely no way Halifax wanted to play us on Sunday because of how tough that game was for them.”

Looking ahead to next season, the team will lose at least three players. Forwards Mark Vokey, Nathaniel Leger and Cody Johnston are all graduating from the program.

MacIntyre said there is the potential for others to move onto junior A or major junior, but it’s too soon to tell if that will happen.

“Our program is all about moving players onto the next step in hockey,” he said. “Every year it has been noted that we’ve done a good job of moving players on. While some teams want to hold players back, we always want to help them advance and be ready for the next step.”

When asked to comment on how he expects the team to fare next season, he said he didn’t feel he could comment. MacIntyre told the Weeks Hockey Organization that he won’t be back next season.

“It’s probably unfair to comment on the kids for next year because I won’t be coaching anymore,” he said. “It’s something I discussed with Art (Kennedy) and Wade (Taylor) early in the season. I said I would see it though until the end this season and give it my all because I don’t do anything without giving it everything I can.”

He said the decision comes because he wants to spend more time with his family. He said coaching, on top of being the CEO of the YMCA of Pictou County, made it hard to spend time with his family during the season.

“My kids are now 11 and four and the oldest one is starting to skate now, so stepping aside will give me an opportunity to get on the ice with her and spend more time with all of them,” he said. “I think there are some great individuals that could step into the position and do a great job with the team starting next year.”

MacIntyre also said he couldn't thank the Weeks Hockey Organization enough for the opportunity to be involved over the past number of years. He added that it's people like manager Art Kennedy that make things so easy on the coaching staff.

"Without people like Art last weekend wouldn't have been the success that it was," he said. "Art is just as passionate about this as the coaching staff and would do anything for the boys."

christopher.cameron@ngnews.ca

On Twitter: @NGNewsChris

Organizations: Newbridge Gladiators, Pictou County Wellness Centre, Weeks Hockey Organization YMCA

Geographic location: Kensington, New Brunswick, Pictou County

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  • Hockeybum
    April 11, 2014 - 07:51

    Congratulations to the Weeks Major Midgets on an outstanding performance at the Atlantics! The boys represented themselves, their coaches and their respective communities very well. The coaching staff deserve huge credit for keeping the dressing room positive throughout the season. We're very fortunate to have this program in Pictou County - providing the players with an opportunity to play, and the fans a venue to enjoy this exciting level of hockey. Special thanks to the Weeks family for their continuing support and to all the other businesses large and small helping to make this program happen. The Atlantics turned into an amazing event for his group of Weeks' players. Something special that they will always remember. Thank you!

  • Cole Livingstone
    April 10, 2014 - 17:25

    After reading this article I can't help but feel frustrated, once again, with the comments of Dave MacIntyre. First of all let me say Congratulations to the team for their success at Atlantics. I have many friends, including my brother, that play for the Weeks, and I was at every game cheering them on. Now, on to my main point. After playing for the Weeks organization for two years, I was looking forward to my third and final year, which would have been this one. My main motivation was getting to play at Atlantics and playing with my brother and my good friends, an opportunity I had to give up. According to MacIntyre he has stated several times this year that there have been players on the team that quit "for selfish reasons" Unfortunately those who don't know the situation may actually believe this. That is why I am ready to speak up. I didn't quit the team because I'm selfish, I quit the team because I was tired of being treated badly. I was tired of the head games, the favouritism, the verbal abuse, the name-calling and the total lack of respect towards me and my team mates. I had lost respect for my coach and I was losing my love for the game. Unfortunately, I was not the only one but I can only speak for myself today. Luckily I found a place with the Junior B Scotians and got to enjoy the rest of the year with great team mates and an awesome coaching staff So there it is, finally I get the chance to tell MY side of the story - the real story. Thank-You, Cole Livingstone

  • Lapper Mac
    April 10, 2014 - 10:53

    Dave Mac made me a better hockey player. Under his guidance, he has taken me from a player on the 4th line of Midget , to a starting center with the Trenton Junior C Scotians. Go Scotians! Thanks Mac