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Former coach says Summerside Western Capitals' rookie Bennett MacArthur is much more than just a good hockey player

Summerside Western Capitals rookie Bennett MacArthur, 9, battles for position with the Campbellton Tigers’ Sam McKinney, 61, while attempting to redirect a shot on goaltender Tristan Gray during a Maritime Junior Hockey League game at Eastlink Arena on Nov. 9. Also in the play is the Tigers’ Elliott St-Pierre.
Summerside Western Capitals rookie Bennett MacArthur, 9, battles for position with the Campbellton Tigers’ Sam McKinney, 61, while attempting to redirect a shot on goaltender Tristan Gray during a Maritime Junior Hockey League game at Eastlink Arena on Nov. 9. Also in the play is the Tigers’ Elliott St-Pierre. - Jason Simmonds
SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —

Bennett MacArthur’s production on the ice speaks for itself.

It’s his character that stands out for his former coach.

“He’s a great person as well as a hockey player,” said Kyle Dunn, who coached MacArthur with the Kensington Wild major midget program two of the last three years. 

After playing his first year of major midget eligibility with the Wild and going undrafted in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), MacArthur decided to attend Rothesay-Netherwood Prep School in New Brunswick for the 2017-18 season. But what stood out for Dunn is MacArthur took the time to approach him with his decision.

“One of the things I love about this kid is he phoned to tell me he was going to Rothesay and that he didn’t want to hide anything and he was just trying his different options,” recalled Dunn. “Then, in the summer (of 2018), he called me again saying he was going to try and make the Summerside Western Capitals and if not he wanted to come back to Kensington.”

“I’ve had some good opportunities and played with some good players. We want to win a championship here and that’s our main goal.”

- Bennett MacArthur

The Capitals had selected MacArthur and Colby MacArthur (no relation) as territorial selections in June 2018. They both started the 2018-19 regular season with the Caps – Colby played 11 games and Bennett appeared in seven – before returning for their final year with the Wild. 

“It helped me for sure building more confidence,” said MacArthur, who registered 35 points in 26 regular-season games with the Wild. “If I was (with the Caps) last year I probably would have had a lesser role on the team and I went to the Wild and accepted a bigger role. We had a great year and it was good for me.”

He feels starting last season with the Caps paid off for him this year.

“Last year, I had a little cup of coffee here and that helped my transition,” said MacArthur. “We are just hoping to keep it going.”

Perfect start

The 18-year-old son of Adam and Lindsay MacArthur of Summerside could not have written a better script for his first full season at the junior A level. The left-winger is the top rookie point-getter in the 12-team Maritime Junior Hockey League, with 32 points in 23 regular-season games while playing on a team with championship aspirations. The Caps are ranked 12th nationally and sport a league-leading record of 20-3-0 (won-lost-overtime losses).

“I’ve had some good opportunities and played with some good players,” said a modest MacArthur, who’s playing on a line with Colby MacArthur and Marc-Andre LeCouffe. “We want to win a championship here and that’s our main goal.”

MacArthur enters Thursday’s 7 p.m. home game against the Grand Falls Rapids with 16 goals and 16 assists. Five of those goals have come on the power play.

Colby MacArthur is having a good season with the Capitals after spending most of last year with the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild. - Jason Malloy
Colby MacArthur is having a good season with the Capitals after spending most of last year with the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild. - Jason Malloy

“One thing about Bennett MacArthur is he can score goals,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “He’s the product of playing with good players on the power play, (Kallum) Muirhead, LeCouffe, Brodie MacArthur, Zach Biggar. 

“They find a way to get him pucks on the half wall and if you can get him a clean shot from the half wall he usually scores.

“Obviously, like any young player, there are some holes in his game, but he’s working on those. He’s starting to get inside position on the offence, starting to drive to the net and starting to produce for us in the tough areas. 

“He’s getting to the hard areas where you have to score goals at times. He’s a great skater, he’s big and strong and he can shoot the puck like a pro.”

MacArthur said two keys for him scoring goals are finding open ice and getting to the right spots.

“The games when I’m moving my feet are when I am scoring and doing the best,” he added.

Dunn is not surprised by his success.

“He has a knack for the net,” continued Dunn. “Give that guy the puck in the slot and I don’t think there’s any other guy that we coached the last six years in Kensington ahead of Bennett that you would want with the puck. 

“If you needed a big goal, he was always around to find it.”

Dunn also praised MacArthur’s desire to get better.

“He’s produced at every level and he wants to be a hockey player,” added Dunn. “I talked to him over the summer and he put the work in this summer, adding some size and improving his strength.”

Grounded

MacArthur acknowledges his strong start has boosted his confidence, but he stressed the importance of remaining level-headed.

“You can’t get too high or too low,” he added. “I always have to get better in my D zone and my speed can always get better.”

McGuigan said MacArthur is working towards becoming a well-rounded, 200-foot player.

“He’s a very good player now and I think there are spots he can get better at, but once he does that he’s going to be a great player,” said McGuigan. 

Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com

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The Western Capitals have the top-three rookie scorers in MHL:

Bennett MacArthur - Forward
23 games
16 goals
16 assists
32 points

Colby MacArthur - Forward
23 games
9 goals
15 assists
24 points

Zach Biggar - Defenceman
23 games
3 goals
20 assists
23 points

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