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Pictou County players to get test against the best

Kingsley Austin (left) and Lane Sim are going to be part of an Atlantic team competing in Minnesota next week.
Kingsley Austin (left) and Lane Sim are going to be part of an Atlantic team competing in Minnesota next week. - Adam MacInnis

Two young players will be representing Pictou County as part of Team Atlantic at the International Showcase in Blaine, Minnesota, next week.

Lane Sim and Kingsley Austin were chosen to be part of the team that will compete at the tournament, which brings together the top young players born in 2007 from across North America. The teams will play 10 games over a five-day period.

Former NHL player and Pictou County native Jon Sim will be coaching the Atlantic team. Sim said this is the fourth year for the tournament. He previously went about three or four years ago with his oldest son.

“I think the benefits of something like this is you’re going to see kids from all over North America at the top level and to see where you stand and to see what other kids are doing besides just playing hockey and preparing themselves mentally and physically to play hockey.”

The level of competition is second to none he said.

The process of selecting the players for this team began a year ago with a tryout in Moncton.

“We brought, like, 40 skaters in and then we started to pick the team and then we kind of left some spots for potential kids we saw throughout the winter. Then we ended up getting down to our top 17 that we thought would compete the best.”

It finished with a training camp two weeks ago in Pictou which included players from across the region.

“The pace was unbelievable,” Sim said. “The skill is through the roof.”

Owen Conrad had also made the cut for the tournament, but broke his collarbone recently and unfortunately won’t be able to play, Sim said.

The tournament will also provide an opportunity for Sim to introduce the players to some of his former contacts in the NHL world. His friend Anders Lee of the New York Islanders has agreed to come on as a guest coach for the team. They’ve also arranged an opportunity for the players to visit the Minnesota Wild dressing room.

“It’s a once-in-a-lifetime tournament for these kids,” Sim said.

Lane Sim said he is looking forward to playing alongside other kids from Atlantic Canada against some great competition.

Austin is also looking forward to the competition and said he hopes to beat the team from Ontario the most.

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