WESTVILLE ROAD – Giancarlo Fiori wishes he could turn back the clock a few years.
Seven Junior A Crushers will play their final home game in junior hockey on Thursday, when they host the Truro Bearcats at the Pictou County Wellness Centre. They range from three-year Crushers (Alex Bonaparte, Michael Dill), a two-year Crusher (Luke Melanson) and four players who spent one season in Pictou County (Marc Gagnon, Donovan Rehill, Giancarlo Fiori and Nick Jessome).
The News asked all seven of those players a few non-hockey questions and their answers have been edited for this space. To read their complete thoughts, see below.
“Personally, I'll be pretty sad come Thursday, but it will be kind of neat to play that final home game against my former team,” said goaltender Luke Melanson. “It went by a lot faster than expected. Time flies when you're having fun.”
Ditto for Fiori.
“I can't even imagine the feeling, just to go to the ice and really tell myself, ‘Boy, it's your last home game in your junior career.’ I will just miss the whole environment of junior hockey, I wish I could be 17 again.”
Marc Gagnon turned 20 last Dec. 31; had he been born a day later, the team’s best defenceman would be a Crusher for another year.
“Thursday night in Pictou is something that I will remember all my life,” said the Quebec native, whose injury in October did significant damage to the team’s fortunes this season.
Nick Jessome was traded to the Crushers from the Edmundston Blizzard early in the season.
“It was my first time billeting and I couldn't have asked for better billets,” he said of his time in the county.
“I’ll miss coming to the rink every day and seeing the boys because they were like a second family.”
Donovan Rehill spent his final season of junior in Pictou County, where he has family on both his mother’s and father’s side.
“The thing I will miss the most is coming to the rink every day and seeing my teammates and playing in front of my family. As a 16-year-old, you think this day will never come,” said Rehill.
Alex Bonaparte is one of two holdovers (the other is Michael Dill) from their 2016 championship team. The Cape Bretoner nicknamed ‘Bones’ arrived at the Crushers’ camp in the fall of 2015 and played gritty, leadership-style hockey for three seasons.
“Words can’t describe how fast my junior career has gone by,” said Bonaparte.
“It doesn’t feel real that this Thursday is my last home game as a Crusher. I just hope that the fans, my teammates and coaches are proud of the way I represented the logo in my past three years.”
The final word goes to Michael Dill, the team’s captain and all-time Crushers scoring leader (he reached the 200-point mark on Tuesday in a 3-2 win over the St. Stephen Aces).
“Three years flew by, it feels like just yesterday I was a rookie trying to make this team,” said Dill, who will play NCAA Division 1 hockey next fall in Massachusetts.
“It was the best three years of my life…. I will miss the fans, coaches, all the teammates I had over the three years and also my billet family.”
• Any minor hockey player wearing their jersey will get free admission to the game, when accompanied by an adult.
• Michael Dill, Jaden Mason and Dylan Riley had the goals in the win over the St. Stephen Aces on Tuesday.
• The Crushers finish up their season Saturday in Amherst.
A few questions for graduating Crushers (a few went unanswered):
1. Thoughts on final home game of your junior career Thursday? Did it go by faster than you expected?
2. Where do you realistically see yourself in five years? What will you be doing?
3. What are you good at (non-sports)? Can you sing? Good at poker?
4. Pick your favourite actor/actress and favourite movie?
5. What are your thoughts on your time in Pictou County?
6. Which music star would you want to trade places with and why?
1. Three years flew by, it feels like just yesterday I was a rookie trying to make this team.
2. In five years I hope to be finished school and working. Also helping out on the farm.
3. I am probably the best Fortnite player on the team (it’s a video game and not true lol).
4. Leonardo DiCaprio/Wolf of Wall Street.
5. It was the best three years of my life I learned a lot with hockey and being the person I am today. I will miss the fans, coaches, all the teammates I had over the three years and also my billet family.
1. I can’t believe it’s over yet! The season went very fast for me because of my injury. I just want to enjoy my last home game in front of great fans. Thursday night in Pictou is something that I will remember all my life.
2. In five years, I hope I will graduate from university in physical education. Also, want to go play in Europe after university.
3. Probably the best singer in the shower.
4. I have to go with Adam Sandler and my favorite is Slap Shot. Favorite series is The Office
5. Probably Justin Bieber, to get all the girls.
1. Last home game feels surreal because of how fast junior hockey flew by and playing as a 16-year-old you think this day will never come.
2. In five years i see myself working as a police officer but no idea where yet
3. One of the things I’m best at is hunting and fishing.
4. Favorite actor is Tom Hardy and favorite movie is Warrior.
5. I’d like to trade places with (country music singer) Jason Aldean because he travels the world making millions and hunts in his spare time.
6. My time in Pictou County was memorable and special because i got to spend my last year at home and Pictou gave me the opportunity to be a student athlete and the thing I will miss the most is coming to the rink every day and seeing my teammates and playing in front of my family.
1) words can’t describe how fast my jr career has gone by. It doesn’t feel real that this Thursday is my last home game as a crusher. I just hope that the fans, my teammates and coaches are proud of the way I represented the logo in my past 3 years.
2) In 5 years, I hope to be done school and focused on my career path that I’ll choose for the rest of my life.
3) This is a tough question because other than hockey I’ve never focused on any other talents. My summers and winters have always been focused on getting better for the next hockey season. I am excited to see what else I can do in life and what other hidden talents I may have.
4) my favourite actor would be Sylvester Stalloen, and my favourite movie would be Rocky. Loved that since I was a kid and still do.
5) I would trade places with Chad Brownlee. The guy had a good hockey career along with being drafted into the NHL by the Canucks and now is a top young country artist.
6) I loved my time in Pictou County. I can’t say enough about how much fun I had in my past 3 years there. I can’t even pick one thing that I’ll miss the most because I’m going to miss it all, the Thursday night games, the long road trips with my teammates, the laughs and jokes you share along the way.. especially when your stranded in a hotel after a game in Yarmouth while having gone through 3 buses just to get there and back. I enjoyed everything. From the fans, to the community and the coaches/teammates. I’ll forever be grateful I got the chance to represent their logo and community.
1. Personally, I'll be pretty sad come Thursday but it will be kind of neat to play that final home game against my former team. It went by a lot faster than expected, time flies when you're having fun:)
2. In five years I hope to (finally) be out of school with my Education degree and pursuing full time work
3. Consider myself pretty good at math, not something I necessarily would do for "fun" in my free time.
4. Heath ledger in Dark Knight Rises would be my favourite acting performance while my favourite movie would be Wolf of Wall Street.
5. Post Malone – I like how unique he is as an artist.
6. Pictou County has become a second home for me in the past 5-6 years since I started playing here in midget. I can't thank everyone enough for my time here. I will miss the practices, games, and workouts, but most of all I will miss being a part of a team and seeing my teammates every day.
1. Emotional one for sure... I can't even imagine just the feeling just to go to the ice and really tell myself, boy it's your last home game in your junior career.
When I was 17 years old and I was with Rehill with the Quebec Remparts, 20's always kept saying, boys you have no idea how time goes fast, enjoy every moment of your junior career. I really didn't thought time was actually going fast like this... I'm actually shocked.
2. I see myself in five years with a diploma in business, starting another chapter of my life, while finishing my University Hockey.
Like I said, I will start another page of my life, a fresh one, who knows what I will be doing, life is always full of surprises!
3. Poker master, no doubt about that, learned that from my dad, now he's pissed that I'm better than him, he can't even admit it. Also, pretty good singer, I should call myself Lil Fiori, pretty sure i could be successful in the music industry.
4. I don't have really favorite actors, I just enjoyed watching good action/suspense/horror/ thriller and mind-blowing films. But, obviously my favorites movies was all of the Harry Potter.
5. Definitely Justin Bieber, the guy is a young talented singer, good looking, can have anything that he wants and he's famous.
6. My time in Pictou County was a blast, I've met such of great people from everywhere, made friends for life & I've had the best billet I could asked for. Yvonne and Jeanette McChesney are two women's I will remember for my life, love them. Finally, I will just miss the whole environment of Junior Hockey, I wish I could be seventeen again!
1. It went by so much faster than expected, there’s for sure going to be lots of emotions.
2. In 5 years I’m hoping to be a cop & I might move out west to be an RCMP officer.
3. I don’t really have a special talent, I’m decent at other sports like skiing, golf & badminton but other then that I can't think of anything.
4. Favourite actor is Will Ferrell & all-time favourite movie is Stepbrothers.
5. I would definitely trade spot with a DJ like DJ SNAKE because he's so famous and I'd like to see what it’s like to perform in front of thousands of people that all love your songs.
6. I had a great experience here in Pictou, I've learned a lot as a player but also as a person outside the rink. It was my first time billeting and I couldn't have asked for better billets, mother they were great! I’ll miss coming to the rink every day and seeing the boys because they were like a second family and I’ll obviously miss my billets.