TRURO, N.S. – Two members of the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals will represent the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) at the Eastern Canada Cup All-Star Challenge in Trenton, Ont., from Nov. 19 to 21.
Billy McGuigan has been announced as head coach of the Eastlink North Division team while head trainer and equipment manager John Blanchard will serve as one of the squad’s athletic therapists along with the St. Stephen Aces’ Ashley Grant-MacDonald.
A media release issued by the MHL notes this tournament, which features players from junior A teams in the Maritimes, Quebec and Ontario, attracts scouts from all over the hockey world, including the NHL, NCAA, CHL and U Sports.
“I feel these tournaments are of the utmost importance to showcase our league,” said McGuigan. “We have a great product here in the MHL, and this is an opportunity to prove that we can compete with leagues across Canada.”
McGuigan will be taking part in his first Eastern Canada Cup. His resumé includes coaching the MHL Prospects ahead of the 2009 World Junior A Challenge in Summerside, Team East at the 2012 Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Games and assistant coach for Team Canada East at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge in Yarmouth, N.S. He coached the Capitals to the 2012-13 league title, and appearances in the final games of the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian championship in Truro, N.S., and the RBC Cup national championship in Summerside that same season.
Sandy McCarthy, head coach of the Grand Falls Rapids, has been named Team North’s assistant coach.
“I’m looking to work with Sandy, gaining as much knowledge as I can from him and his 20 years of NHL experience, as well as our training staff,” added McGuigan.
Laurie Barron of the Yarmouth Mariners will serve as head coach of the South Division. South Shore Lumberjacks head coach Kyle McAllister will be an assistant coach while Steve Lindsay (Truro Bearcats) and Ashley Merrithew (Amherst Ramblers) are the athletic therapists.
“First of all, I’m very excited to have a chance to represent our league at this event,” said Baron. “The talent and quality of players and coaches in the Maritime Hockey League is top shelf.
“I believe our league has taken a huge step forward by not only attending the event, but sending two teams.”
This is the fourth year the MHL has taken part in the Eastern Canada Cup. The league sent one team in 2015 and 2017, and two teams in 2016.
The rosters for the two MHL teams will be announced in the coming weeks.