AMHERST – The Amherst Ramblers have confirmed that forward Josh Pugsley will be the club’s territorial pick when the Maritime Junior Hockey League holds its annual player draft on Saturday in Yarmouth.
“There was never any doubt in my mind that he would be our territorial pick,” Ramblers’ coach and general manager Jim Bottomley said, confirming one of the club’s worst kept secrets. “He’s a real class act. I got the opportunity to spend a lot of time with him after his team was eliminated from the playoffs. There’s no question he can play in the league next season.”
Pugsley travelled with the Ramblers during the second-round series against the Yarmouth Mariners and practiced with the club during the final few weeks of the season.
In his first season in the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League, Pugsley was the leading scorer and picked up the Rookie of the Year nod.
Pugsley, 15, was also drafted in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft last weekend in Quebec City by the Moncton Wildcats. However, with Wildcats expected to make a run at a division championship next season there’s a solid possibility Pugsley could suit up for the Ramblers.
“It’s nice to see a local player do so well and it’ll be nice to see him join our team and replace some of the local guys we are losing,” Bottomley said. “He may be small in size, but he plays like a big man out there. He sees the ice well and is not afraid to be pesky as well. We’d love to see him in our lineup to help him prepare to play for the Wildcats in the future.”
Pugsley said he would love to play for the Ramblers if things don’t work out in Moncton.
“It would be awesome to play in front of my friends and family, plus it would be a great learning experience,” Pugsley said last night. “I grew up watching and cheering for the Ramblers, it would be great to play for them.”
Bottomley is only using one of the club’s two territorial picks. The other pick will be made just before the start of the fourth round of the draft.
Pugsley was the only local player at the Major Midget AAA level eligible to be picked with a territorial selection. Robert Fraser of Advocate Harbour is property of the Bridgewater Lumberjacks while forward Jaret Collins was taken by the Ramblers last season.