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Kensington begins play Dec. 12
KENSINGTON – It has been a November to remember for the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild.
Now the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League team, which last lost a game on Oct. 14, is hoping that success carries into December.
The Wild, winners of nine straight league games, has gone 16-0-1 (won-lost-tied) in their last 17 games, including an exhibition game against the Notre Dame Argos and the Monctonian AAA Challenge tournament. After winning the Major Midget Division of the Monctonian on Nov. 18, the Wild was recently invited to participate in the 2018 CCM Midget AAA Challenge tournament in Chicoutimi, Que., in December.
“It used to be the Gatineau tournament at one time, and now it’s moved to Chicoutimi,” explained Wild assistant coach Duane Richards. “It’s the same as a Monctonian or an Ice Jam (tournament in Bedford, N.S.), only it’s a Quebec version.
“I haven’t had a chance to do a whole lot of homework on it yet, but it sounds like it’s the cream of the crop from the Quebec side of things, with some flavour from Atlantic Canada and the United States. It seems like it will be a real good tournament.”
The Wild will play single round-robin games on Dec. 12, 13 and 14, and hopes to qualify for the playoffs that start on Dec. 15.
“We play a select team from Quebec, play the Valley Wildcats from Nova Scotia and will play another high school select team,” said Richards, who is in his fifth season working alongside head coach Kyle Dunn.
Wild rookie right-winger Reid Peardon of Georgetown says the players understand they have been presented with a very rare opportunity.
“Everybody was pretty excited because it is a huge tournament,” said Peardon, 16. “You are usually going to tournaments in Nova Scotia and New Brunswick and maybe Newfoundland, but you never really get an opportunity like this.”
Peardon is also looking forward to playing some new opposition.
“Having a 35-game season, you are playing the same teams six or seven times,” offered Peardon. “It’s nice to play different teams to see where you stand.”
Peardon and Richards both agree this tournament also is an opportunity for Wild players to gain exposure in front of scouts who normally would not see them play.
“It’s an opportunity for the kids to put themselves up against the best guys in Quebec that we don’t see in the Monctonian or Ice Jam,” offered Richards. “It’s a different group of kids to compare yourself against and put the measuring stick up against and see where we stand.”
The Wild returns to action with two important back-to-back league games this weekend. Second-place Kensington, which is 14-2-1 (won-lost-overtime losses), visits the third-place Saint John Vitos (10-6-1) on Friday night, before returning home to host the Moncton Flyers (15-1-1) in a potential first-place showdown on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.