BRAMPTON, Ont. – Mike MacIsaac of O’Leary will return to the Brampton Beast for the 2014-15 season.
The 26-year-old forward had 19 points – six goals and 13 assists – in 59 regular-season games with the Central Hockey League expansion team last season. It was MacIsaac’s first year of professional hockey after playing with the Summerside Western Capitals of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) and the UPEI Panthers of the Atlantic University Sport (AUS) Men’s Hockey Conference.
“I’m excited and happy that they offered me a chance to come back and play with them next season,” said MacIsaac in a phone interview with the Journal Pioneer on Friday afternoon.
The Beast finished last season sixth in the 10-team league, and lost in the opening round of the playoffs.
“Mike performed very well in the playoffs, and we expect him to have an even greater impact this upcoming season,” said Beast head coach Mark DeSantis. “We are very excited to have Mike back in our line-up.”
MacIsaac had four points, including two goals, and 10 penalty minutes in five post-season games.
“I just hope to build on the end of the season I had last year,” said MacIsaac, who added he enjoyed his first season with the Beast and getting involved in the Brampton community. “I had a good playoff run, and unfortunately we didn’t make it as far as we would have liked.
“I just want to help out the team any way I can.”
DeSantis described MacIsaac as a “thorn in the side” for opposing players, and it was this agitating style of play that helped him become a fan favourite in Brampton, much like he was with the Caps and Panthers.
“I am just doing what I can and what got me here,” said MacIsaac, who finished the regular season with 124 penalty minutes.
MacIsaac has proven he can put the puck in the net. MacIsaac scored 134 goals in 164 regular-season games with the Capitals from 2005 to 2009, and in four seasons with the Panthers – 2009 to 2013 – he had 39 goals in 100 regular-season games.
So, how would MacIsaac compare the level of hockey in the Central Hockey League to the AUS, which is regarded by many as the top amateur league in Canada?
“It’s pretty similar hockey,” answered MacIsaac. “The AUS is a fast league, and this is a fast league. The guys are a lot bigger in the Central league.”
MacIsaac, who admitted he became more comfortable with the Beast as the 2013-14 season moved along, is going into his sophomore season with a simple goal. That is to keep getting better.
“Playing against some of the older guys who are a lot stronger and have a lot of experience, there were and are a lot of adjustments I have to make,” said MacIsaac. “I just have to take advantage of the strong parts of my game.”