Members of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) team were introduced individually, and a video was shown while Mayor Basil Stewart and Caps general manager Pat McIver addressed the gathering.
“Just being able to play in the RBC (Cup) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” said Capitals left-winger JP Harvey, who was acquired from the Metro Shipbuilders on Thursday before that night’s roster and trade deadline.
As host team, the Capitals are guaranteed a berth in the Canadian junior A hockey championship tournament at Eastlink Arena from May 11 to 19. However, the team wants to go in through the front door.
“I expect a championship,” said Capitals centre Danny Chiasson, who was acquired from the Dieppe Commandos on Dec. 21. “I want to win a Kent Cup (league championship), Fred Page Cup (Eastern Canadian championship) and RBC Cup. That’s what everyone wants to do here. We all have the same expectations for the team.”
All of the Caps’ players were in attendance, with the exception of forward Mitch Maynard, who had school commitments at UPEI.
Another newcomer to the Caps is defenceman MacKenzie Braid, who was released from the Sudbury Wolves of the Ontario Hockey League on Wednesday.
“I’m happy to be here,” said Braid, who is from Mississauga, Ont. “I got released from Sudbury, and had a short window to choose where I was going.
“I heard this was a really good organization, it was a good team and they are hosting the RBC (Cup).”
How did things come together for Braid to sign with Summerside before Thursday’s deadline?
“My advisor made a phone call and let them know I wasn’t with Sudbury anymore,” answered Braid, who turns 20 on Wednesday. “I guess Summerside made a few calls, got some references and I decided to come here.
“Just being able to play in the RBC (Cup) is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.” - Capitals left-winger JP Harvey
“I had a lot of other offers and it was a tough decision, but I’m happy to be here.”
Braid, who describes himself as a “good-skating” defenceman and adds he likes to play gritty, said it appears the Caps have a tight-knit group of players.
For Chiasson, he gets the opportunity to close out his junior career by playing in a national championship. The 20-year-old from Edmundston, N.B., leads the 11-team MHL in scoring with 58 points (19-39), six ahead of Maynard (16-36).
“It’s (Summerside) a nice place to play, I love it,” said Chiasson. “It’s a great organization, great fans, nice rink and it’s all positive.”
Chiasson admitted it was tough to leave the Commandos and Moncton area.
“I had some good relationships with the boys and I had a girlfriend in Moncton,” said Chiasson. “For sure it’s hard, but I’ll get used to it pretty quick. I’ve been living away from home since I was 16-years-old.”
Harvey comes to the league-leading Capitals from the last-place Shipbuilders (4-33-0-1).
“It was definitely a tough season with Metro,” said the 19-year-old Harvey, who is from Cole Harbour, N.S. “I stuck with it and tried to keep it going there.
“When I found out I was traded here, it was definitely some good news.”
Harvey is hoping to contribute to the Caps in different ways.
“I’m going to be a gritty player, throw the body around and get the boys going, but also hopefully be putting some points up for the team as well,” he said.