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It’s safe to say there is a lot of hockey talk around the home of Brian and Tracy Arsenault.
After all, the 2019-20 hockey season is a family affair for the Richmond family.
Brothers Austin, 17, and Donovan Arsenault, 15, are linemates with the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild. Their father, Brian, and older brother, Jacob, are fitness coaches with the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League team.
“It’s always the topic,” said a smiling Austin.
Austin and Donovan are in their first season with the Wild after playing last year at the Ontario Hockey Academy in Cornwall, Ont. Austin played midget while Donovan was in bantam.
“It’s kind of fun to play with my brother,” said Austin. “We’ve never played on the same line before.”
That was until a couple of weeks ago and the move to put the brothers together paid immediate dividends. Donovan entered weekend action in third place in the league scoring race with 13 points, including nine goals, while Austin was tied for fourth with 11 points, including five goals. Both have played eight games.
“I pass more than him,” quipped Austin. “He's good at getting open and I can get my head up and hit him with passes.”
Donovan credited speed and strength as keys to the early-season success with Austin.
“We are moving the puck quickly and using our big bodies,” said Donovan. “We are both pretty big guys in this league and both have quick releases.”
Wild head coach Kyle Dunn is thrilled to have the Arsenaults on his side.
“Austin and Donovan are very passionate about their game and you see that on the ice,” said Dunn. “Brian and Jacob put that passion into the fitness and it’s great to have them a part of our organization.”
Dunn was familiar with Donovan after coaching him with Team P.E.I. at the 2019 Canada Winter Games.
“He’s a big body who is skilled,” said Dunn. “He’s young and has some learning to do on both sides of his game.
“I would like to see him be a little stronger in his zone, but there is no question he can put the puck in the net and we are pleased about that.
“I didn’t know Austin too much before this year. He has skill and size and was one of the last cuts from Summerside (Western Capitals’ junior A hockey team). Having those two on our team brings that competitiveness to the ice and the dressing room.”
A conversation with Wild assistant coach Duane Richards laid the foundation for Brian and Jacob joining the Wild staff. They knew each other from their time as teammates with the Capitals in the early 1990s.
“He’s been calling me a few years about the boys and this year was a good opportunity,” said Brian. “So far it’s been good. The quality of hockey is good and the boys are treated great here.”
The Wild can be found in the FitPlex at Credit Union Centre under the watchful eyes of Brian and Jacob, a defenceman with the Capitals. Each off-ice workout lasts for an hour before Mondays and Wednesdays practices.
Brian and Jacob are no strangers to off-ice training. They operate a training business – RT2 Success – in Richmond.
“Boys, it’s OK if you need to take a break but don’t quit. There are no quitters here.”
- Wild fitness coach Brian Arsenault
“We train mostly hockey players, but also athletes and people who are looking to better themselves,” said Brian. “When the boys decided they were going to play here, the opportunity came up and I think we are a good fit.”
Brian said two areas of emphasis in the gym are speed and conditioning.
“Adding core strength and flexibility (are important) and we are trying to help them put a better product on the ice and prevent injuries,” explained Brian. “The coaches look after their skills and the hockey games and the on-ice stuff. We try to put them in the best situation when they hit the ice to respond to whatever shows up in front of them.”
Brian, who will jump in and do exercises with the players, encourages the players during workouts and tells them, “‘Boys, it’s OK if you need to take a break but don’t quit. There are no quitters here.’”
The team’s schedule also determines the pace of the workouts.
“If they are leading up to a three-game weekend we might do what we call an active recovery or after a three-game weekend we will work on a lot of stretching, rolling out and let the muscles get back to where they can perform,” explained Brian, who praised Jacob’s passion for training. “He’s a driving force in a lot of ways and the kids like him.”
Austin and Donovan both acknowledge they lean heavily on their big brother, who has played 91 regular-season and playoff games in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
“We work out with Jake in the summer and he tells us what we need to do to get to the next level and what we need to keep working on,” said Austin.
Donovan added: “I’m on the ice with him two times a week in the mornings getting some pointers and working on skill development and battle drills. I’m just trying to make myself a little better every day.”
A look at Kensington Wild’s next game
When: Saturday at 7:30 p.m.
Where: Credit Union Centre, Kensington.
Opponent: Northern Moose from Bathurst, N.B.
Records: Wild: 5-2-1 (won-lost-overtime losses); Moose: 3-2-1.
Season series: Wild defeated Moose 5-2 in Bathurst on Sunday afternoon.
At home: Wild: 3-2-1.
On the road: Moose: 2-1-0.
Points leaders: Wild: Donovan Arsenault, 13; Moose: William Schofield, 6.