SUMMERSIDE – The Summerside Western Capitals lost a pair of players in the MHL’s (Maritime Junior Hockey League) expansion draft on Tuesday night.
The St. Stephen County Aces from New Brunswick selected forward David Sweet and Alex Gallant. Capitals general manager Pat McIver was disappointed to lose both players.
Sweet, who has one year of junior A eligibility remaining and is from Dunstable, Mass., played in 20 regular-season games with the Capitals last season. He registered four goals, four assists and 10 penalty minutes.
“I love Sweeter,” said McIver. “He was a hard-worker, a gritty player, had a good shot and is a good kid.
“At the end of the day, we went in protecting our young kids. We have a plan for the team for the next two or three years, and couldn’t risk losing our young guys for a one-year player. Unfortunately, David was picked and we wish him all the best.”
Played in IJHL
Gallant, who is from Stratford, recorded 33 points – 14 goals and 19 assists – and 73 penalty minutes in 20 games with the Montague Maniacs of the Island Junior Hockey League. He has three years of junior A eligibility remaining.
“The unfortunate thing right now is that we are so deep up front that we had no guarantees for Gallant in our lineup this year,” said McIver. “I’m not saying he wouldn’t have made our team, because I think he would have had a good chance at making the team (in training camp).
“At the end of the day, we have so many young forwards that we couldn’t protect everybody. County is getting a great player, and if he goes there and plays to his potential he will be a good player in this league.”
Another local player taken by the Aces was forward Benji Gaudet of Tignish. Gaudet was left unprotected by the Miramichi Timberwolves.
Gaudet played last season with the Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings of the Island Junior Hockey League.
In 17 games with the Abram-Village-based Red Wings, Gaudet picked up 21 points – seven goals and 14 assists – and 49 penalty minutes.
The MHL’s annual general meeting will be held at the Quality Inn in Summerside on Friday morning, and the league’s draft is scheduled for Credit Union Place on Saturday. The draft is scheduled to start at 1 p.m.