CHARLOTTETOWN – The P.E.I. Major Bantam AAA Hockey League is set to begin the 2017-18 regular season.
The Mid-Isle Matrix and Prince County Warriors will kick things off at the APM Centre in Cornwall on Tuesday. Puck drop is scheduled for 7:20 p.m.
The league will continue to interlock games with New Brunswick teams that will travel to P.E.I. on Oct. 28 and 29, and Feb. 10 and 11. P.E.I. teams will travel to New Brunswick on Dec. 15, 16 and 17.
The league champion will represent P.E.I. at the Atlantic championship in Torbay, N.L., from April 5 to 8.
Following is a look at the four P.E.I. teams:
The Matrix is heading into the season with high expectations.
The coaching staff, led by head coach Cory Parsons, expects his team, which features a solid group of veteran leadership and a very capable rookie group looking to step right in and contribute to work hard, to compete every night.
Eastern Express coach Will Zafiris expects to have fast and tenacious forwards, led by returnees Dylan Blackett, Jack Campbell, Gabe Hartlen and Cole McKeigan.
On the blue-line, the Express is anchored by Seth Macleod and Alex Dixon, and expect a solid goaltending duo with Caleb Drake and Drew Chapman.
Eastern’s opening game is against the Charlottetown-based Central Attack in Pownal on Thursday, Oct. 19, at 7:30 p.m.
Prince County Warriors
The O’Leary-based Warriors will have a much different look than last year, and recognize the importance of size and speed.
Coach Cleve McNeill is very excited about the makeup of the team’s roster that features six solid returnees – goaltender Aiden Williams, defencemen Zach Biggar and Colby MacDonald, and forwards Sam Hackett, Max Chisholm and Frédérick Morency.
The Warriors are also very excited about their crop of rookies making the jump from their respective peewee AAA teams, with five of their first-year bantam rookies playing very important roles in their recent showing for the under-14 male Program of Excellence team.
The Warriors’ home opener is slated for the O’Leary Community Sports Centre on Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
The Central Attack is returning with a new coach. Jeff MacDonald will look to his solid group of veteran leadership and very capable rookies.
“We have a nice balance of older and young players who understand that we have a lot of great pieces here to potentially do something special,” says MacDonald. “Our goal is to create an environment where kids are excited to come to the rink.
“It’s about having fun, working hard, and being accountable. We’re looking to developing a team culture that, at the end of the day, gives us a chance to compete for an Island championship.”