(Editor’s Note: This is the first of a three-part series on Pictou County sports in 2017, a series that will run through Saturday. If you feel your big moment – or someone else’s – was overlooked, please contact us at email@example.com and tell us about it.)
By Kevin Adshade
• The Bantam A Subway Selects captured first place at the Subway Cup on Jan. 8.
• Games over: In the midst of labour strife between the Province of Nova Scotia and the Nova Scotia Teachers’ Union, school sports such as hockey and basketball were officially wiped out in Nova Scotia, as the union resumed its work-to-rule job action on Jan. 30.
Less than two weeks earlier, the NSTU had announced the work-to-rule strike action would be "suspended and phased out beginning Jan. 23."
The issue would later be resolved and school sports would resume in the spring.
• Pictou County Special Olympians won 11 medals at the provincial championships, which were held in late February.
• Three Pictou County Lightning basketball teams captured gold medals at provincial championships.
• Just to prove one must never give up: in early March, the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets lost the first three games of a playoff series against the Cole Harbour Wolfpack. But starting on March 5, the Major Midgets won four games in four nights to shock the Wolfpack, a series capped by Gavin Hart’s dramatic overtime winner in Game 7.
“What they did was pretty special,” coach Kyle MacLennan would say of his team, who for the first time in five years won a playoff series for the Major Midget program.
• On March 11, Pictou County Athletics won the indoor track and field championships in Moncton. It was the club’s first-ever indoor title.
• A total of 29 teams competed at the March Break Hockey Tournament in Trenton.
• On Top of the World: Daniel Martin won a gold medal in snowshoeing at the Special Olympics World Games in Austria, in the 1600m race held on March 24. Earlier that week, Martin also won a silver medal with his Canadian teammates in the 4X400 relay.
“I think there’s bigger and better things along the way for him,” said Cathy Mason, regional co-ordinator for Special Olympics in Pictou County.
“This is just the start.”
• The Northern Subway Midget AAA Selects won a provincial title on March 19 and would later advance to the Atlantic championship game, before losing to P.E.I.
• The Pictou County Peewee AAA Crushers won provincial gold on their home ice in Trenton, on a last-second (and controversial) goal by Landon Sim against the TASA Ducks. The goal was scored with 3.7 seconds left on the clock, and with two Ducks players in the penalty box.
The Peewee AAAs would lose in the gold-medal game at Atlantics.
“I don’t think anyone counted on us to be here except our players, and our parents and staff,” Peewee AAA coach Jon Sim said, after his team won the N.S. title.
• On March 28, the Junior A Crushers, regular-season champions in the Maritime Hockey League, lost in overtime in Game 7 against the Amherst Ramblers, a disappointing end to their season. Michael Dill won the league’s scoring title and Dylan Riley was named MHL rookie of the year.
“(Amherst) was a team that was extremely motivated to beat us,” Crushers coach Doug Doull would say. “You could feel that, even going into the series.”
• The Pictou County Lightning basketball program won provincial gold medals in U16 girls Division 2 and U18 girls Division 4.
• The Peewee AA Crushers and the Pictou Midget A Maripacs both won provincial titles at the annual Day of Champions.
• When a team comes from out of nowhere, to take their place in history: On April 14, in front of roughly 1,700 fans, the Pictou County Scotians captured its first-ever Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League title, winning Game 6 against the Liverpool Privateers.
Riley Cameron, who would be named playoff MVP, scored three goals in the clincher, an 8-5 victory at the Pictou County Wellness Centre.
“It's kind of surreal. I can’t believe we did it,” said captain Brendon Duff, as the team celebrated on the ice.
The Scotians didn’t even clinch a playoff spot until the final game of the regular season, but they got rolling in the playoffs, winning three straight series – including a Game 7 victory in Glace Bay that put them in the league final.
The Scotians later represented Nova Scotia at the annual Don Johnson Memorial Cup, where they would fail to make the playoff round.
• Three Mariposa East figure skaters won medals at Atlantics: Cameron Boulter won a bronze, while Sarah Higdon and Brooke Pennington each brought home silver in their respective age groups.