Pugsley named top scorer, Rookie of the Year, now heading to QMJHL combine

Dave Mathieson
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Amherst's Josh Pugsley received Rookie of the Year and top scorer honours at the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League awards banquet Saturday in Truro. The 15-year-old hopes to make a statement at the QMJHL scout combine at the end of April in Quebec. Presenting the awards to Pugsley is Geoff Newton, NSMMHL secretary.

AMHERST - Amherst's Josh Pugsley hopes to carry the momentum he's earned as the 2011-2012 Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League top scorer and Rookie of the Year to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

After winning the two major awards Saturday in Truro, the next goal for the 15-year-old Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets centre is to impress scouts at the 2012 QMJHL scouting combine, being held April 27 to 29 in Boisbriand, Quebec.

"I'll just have to build on my year in those three days and start off strong, keep my feet moving, keep my head up and make good plays," said Pugsley. "I don't want to worry about what others think, I just want play my game and, hopefully, everything will follow from that."

80 players from throughout the Maritimes and Quebec have been invited to the combine.

Pugsley received his invitation 10 days ago while in his Grade 10 English class at Amherst Regional High School.

"I got the e-mail on my phone when I was in class and I didn't pay attention in class for the rest of the day," said Pugsley with a laugh.

The combine will include a fitness test, four teams playing two games and several skills sessions.

Pugsley said he feels more fit than ever before.

"I've been at the gym every day for the last three weeks," said Pugsley. "I do 45 minutes of cardio each day, followed by an hour workout for whatever body part I'm training, and I try to do a full body workout as well.

"I don't know what's going to be involved in the fitness test but I've been through strenuous fitness tests before," added Puglsey. "As long as I keep training I should do fine."

Pugsley ran away with the 2011-2012 NSMMHL regular season scoring race with 22 goals and 40 assists, for a league high 62 points, outpacing the next top scorer, Alex Hazlehurst, by 13 points.

"My strengths are my speed, my ability to see the ice and my work ethic," said Puglsey. "My work ethic is something that turns people's heads."

He wants to improve his shot.

"I can get a shot away quickly but sometimes I let weak shots go when I should get a harder shot away," he said. "I'm going to set up a net in the back yard and shoot and shoot over the summer, and hopefully I can get some ice-time and practice on my shot."

He said he's become more focused over the past year.

"Sometimes, if the game gets dirty, I'll take stupid penalties but I cut that down a lot this year," said Pugsley.

Scouts will be paying extra attention to Pugsley after his stellar season.

"Going to the combine I know there will be extra pressure as the Rookie of the Year in the Nova Scotia League but I think it will be good pressure," he said.

Pugsley turns 16 in July.

"The youngest you can play at is 16 (in the QMJHL) but I'll be 16 before the training camps start so I'll be fine," he said.

Pugsley hopes he ends up playing for the Moncton Wildcats.

"It's really close to home and I know the coach (Danny Flynn)," he said. "He's a great coach and they have a great organization.

"They're going to be a little young next year, so that would be perfect," he added. "I'd like to go to a Maritime team but if I had to go to Quebec I wouldn't be complaining."



Organizations: Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, Amherst Regional High School Nova Scotia League

Geographic location: Quebec, Truro, Pictou County Boisbriand

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