SPRINGHILL – When the Truro bantam AAA Bearcats begin their 2013 Nova Scotia Major Bantam Hockey League playoff campaign on Saturday they will be doing it with three Springhillers, two players and one coach.
Landon Crowe is the assistant coach and trainer, and Doug Barton and Brandon MacDonald are the players.
“Landon is a great guy,” said bantam Bearcats coach Lou Lanceleve, “I call him the Springhill Legend.”
Crowe helped Lanceleve recruit Barton and MacDonald, both of who are 14-years-old, from they Cumberland County minor hockey system to the Truro Bantams before the 2012-2013 season.
“I asked Landon about those players because that’s important to off-ice conduct because I don’t know the kids,” said Lanceleve. “He knew them well and spoke very well of them and they turned out to be everything he said they’d be.
“He was also a great avenue for us to bring those Springhill kids in and make them feel accepted and part of the team.”
Lanceleve says Crowe has a good rapport with the all the players and is consistent in how he treats them. Consistency is important to Lanceleve.
“As a coach you can’t act one way one day and then turn around and be different the next day. You have to be consistent,” he said. “You have to show them you’re willing to put the time in, and you expect them to put the time in.”
Lanceleve said the chemistry among the team is great.
“I’ve played junior hockey and senior hockey and this is one of the best atmosphere’s I’ve experienced,” he said. “The dressing room is great and the kids are fun to be around.”
Lanceleve said Barton and MacDonald have been great additions to the Bearcats.
“Pound-for-pound, along the wall, Dougy Barton is probably one of the strongest guys you’re going to find,” said Lanceleve. “He wins his one-on-one battles, he’s got great hand-eye coordination and he’s got good skill.
“Dougy is going to play some pretty good hockey if he stays focused.”
And what about MacDonald?
“Big Mac has a rocket, he’s got a canon. He’s got one of the heaviest shots in the league,” said Lanceleve. “He’s a big, strong kid with a lot of upside but he’s got to slow the game down a little bit and use his skills.
“If he slows down the process and keeps it simple, he’ll do great.”
Barton and MacDonald say playing in Truro has been a positive experience.
“Our teams starting to pull together and we have a great coaching staff,” said MacDonald. “I find every little thing we do in practice is making the game that much better for our team.”
“There’s good coaching going on down here and I’m learning a lot in practice,” he said. “Louie pushes you real hard. If you make a mistake he lets you know.”
The Bearcats had a productive weekend, going 2-1 at the Scotsburn Memorial Tournament.
On Saturday they start their best-of-three playoff series against the Bubba Rays at 4:30 p.m. at the Colchester Legion Stadium. The Bubba Rays finished fourth in the league standings, while the Bearcats finished ninth.
“Last year we played the Bubba Rays and they beat us 8-4 in Game-1 and we beat them 5-0 in Game-2 and we lost in the third game,” said Lanceleve.
No matter what the outcome of the playoffs, Lanceleve hopes more players from Cumberland County try out for the bantam Bearcats next year.
“When your competing with teams in this league you have three or four peewee AAA teams in one area that combine to make one Major Bantam team, where in our case in we have the Truro area,” said Lanceleve. “So we have to try to take advantage of Cumberland County to try bring some guys down to help us compete because it’s a tough league.”
Barton and MacDonald both say they are going to try out for the Pictou County Weeks Major Midgets next year, and Lanceleve says, “I won’t be surprised if they goes over the mountain next year and makes the major midget team.
“They’re a great complement for our team and our organization,” he added. “They’re very dedicated and will fit in well no matter what team they play with.”