Host Bearcats begin their quest for Fred Page Cup championship tonight
The Truro Bearcats are aiming for a Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian junior A hockey championship on home ice this week at RECC. Members of the team are, first row, from left, Alex Hazlehurst, Jeff Hanes, Mitchel Scott, Colby Lanceleve and Jacob Fancy. Second row, Ryan Moore, Dylan McGuigan, Kyle Morrison, Jordan Coccimiglio, Tyler Morrison and Travis Moore. Third row, Patrick Downe, Grant West, David Mosher, Brandon Pye and Travis Fernley. Fourth row, Cal Gloade, Mitchell Robillard, Shayne Campbell, Zach Evans-Renaud, Daniel Perigo, Philip Fife and Adam Guy. Matthew Veno – Truro Daily News
TRURO - It's Christmas Day for hockey fans in Colchester County.
The Fred Page Cup kicks off today, pitting four of the best teams from Eastern Canada against each other to battle for a berth in the Royal Bank Cup national championship in Summerside later this month.
But nobody is more excited than the Bearcats themselves. For the members of the team, the five-day tournament offers a second lease on life and another shot at glory in front of their hometown fans.
"It's a second chance so it's time to step up and an opportunity to come and show what our team is about," Bearcats forward Mitchell Robillard said.
The Cornwall Colts and Summerside Western Capitals meet at 4 p.m. at RECC while the host Truro Bearcats and College Francais de Longueuil lock horns at 8 p.m. following the official opening ceremonies at 7:30.
Although they knew all season they had the Fred Page to fall back on to prolong their season, the Bearcats tried not to rest on that thought.
"We had one goal on our mind to win the league and played a very good Summerside team and came up short," forward Dylan McGuigan said. "But the good thing is we have a second chance because we're the host team and we have to take advantage of that and bring everything we can to the table."
That means getting a full pull from every piece of their 20-man roster, the same formula that's brought the team success all season.
"Every guy has to do their own thing and do what they do best and I think we'll come together as a team and hopefully get it done," McGuigan said.
Truro was awarded the event in December 2011 and a group of volunteers has been working diligently since to iron out every detail before the opening faceoff.
Bearcats owner Stu Rath said the tournament is just the next exciting thing in what has been a banner year for his club following a strong playoff run, the opening of the RECC and an excellent regular season campaign.
"We're very keen on it," Rath said. "It's a great way to open the new facility and it's going to be good for the area."
It also gave a boost to the Bearcats this season, helping general manager Shawn Evans attract some high-end talent to make a championship run. Robillard said the prospect of playing for an Eastern Canadian title helped him decide to come to Truro, but wasn't the only factor in his decision.
"But it was mainly because it's a great organization," Robillard said. "I knew I was going to be in good hands coming here. They had a winning team and I wanted to be a part of that."
It looks as if the home side will have plenty of support in their bid. As of Monday about 900 tickets had been sold for each of their games and the team has averaged 1,943 fans per game throughout the MHL playoffs, tops in the league.
"We're pretty sure they'll come out because they were there a lot in the playoffs and we hope they come out and cheer loud for us," Robillard said.