Stavert emerges as team leader in sophomore season with Caps
SUMMERSIDE – Forward Thomas Stavert may be “pretty quiet” away from the rink, but he prefers to let his play do the talking on the ice.
© Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Thomas Stavert in action with the Summerside Western Capitals during a recent home game in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) at Eastlink Arena.
Stavert led the Summerside Western Capitals in scoring while assuming a large leadership role in his second year in the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League).
“Thomas has always been a guy who has a lot of skill,” said Caps head coach Tim Schurman. “He (Stavert) has a nose for the net, and since we traded guys like JP (Harvey) and Bruce Hornbrook (earlier in the season), we have relied heavily on Thomas.
“He has taken that (responsibility) and ran with it. He knows that guys look up to him, and look to him to score big goals.
“He’s battling very hard for pucks and you mix that in with his skill level and his shot, and he’s scored some huge goals for us.”
How does a league-leading eight game-winning goals and a team-high eight on the power play sound?
Stavert appeared in all 52 regular-season games, recorded 56 points, including 33 goals, and takes a 14-game point streak into the playoffs.
“We were counting on him to be an offensive catalyst for us, and he’s certainly delivered,” said Schurman. “One of the things we are most happy with is the way he’s raised his compete level.
“He’s really taken a liking to this role, and he wants to do whatever he can to be successful as a team.”
Stavert is quick to credit his linemates, Blaize Bridges and Maxim Pitre.
“Blaize finds me all over the ice, and Max is always doing the dirty work,” said Stavert. “He (Pitre) goes to the net hard and contributes to a lot of my goals by going to the net and opening up room. He’s also a very skilled player, and can score if needed.”
Stavert and captain Jordan Buchanan are the only two returnees from the 2012-13 Capitals, who advanced to the RBC Cup national championship final game in Summerside. The Caps decided early in the 2013-14 season they were going to commit to a youth movement, which included the trading of co-captains Mike Crocock and JP Harvey, along with 20-year-old forward Bruce Hornbrook.
That opened up a big leadership void, and this is where Stavert quietly stepped up.
“Thomas has always been a guy who has a lot of skill. He (Stavert) has a nose for the net, and since we traded guys like JP (Harvey) and Bruce Hornbrook (earlier in the season), we have relied heavily on Thomas. He has taken that (responsibility) and ran with it. He knows that guys look up to him, and look to him to score big goals. He’s battling very hard for pucks and you mix that in with his skill level and his shot, and he’s scored some huge goals for us.” Caps head coach Tim Schurman
“I’m not a big talker or anything like that, but I try to lead by example,” he said. “Throughout the year I felt more relied on to produce for my team.
“The older guys at the start of the year, JP Harvey and Bruce Hornbrook, got me going. When they left I still had the confidence I gained through them. I felt more pressure, but a good type of pressure to produce for my team.”
Stavert said one veteran he looked up to last season was Mitch Maynard, who is now playing at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, N.S.
“It didn’t matter if you were winning 10-0, he would always play the same way and always lead by example,” said Stavert. “I try to play like him (Maynard) every game.”
Away from the rink, Stavert prefers a laid-back approach.
“I am busy studying and I like to hang out with friends and be around family,” he continued. “In the summer I play golf a little bit too.”
When asked what his average score would be, Stavert quipped, “I don’t play that often!”
The Caps will need Stavert to continue to produce big numbers in the post-season. The fourth-place Caps open the best-of-seven Roger Meek Division semifinal on the road against the first-place Miramichi Timberwolves on Saturday night, with Game 2 back in Summerside on Monday at 7 p.m.
“We both have been playing well,” said Stavert. “They (Timberwolves) have some older guys with experience. It will be a good test for us.”
A look at Thomas Stavert:
Parents: Maryse and the late Brian Stavert.
Weight: 175 pounds.
School: UPEI (taking business and kinesiology courses).