Coming off strong rookie season in Amherst
Josh Pugsley, shown in game action last season, is in the Moncton Wildcats' training camp. The 17-year-old was drafted in the third round in last year's QMJHL draft and was one of the last players sent down at the end of camp.
MONCTON, N.B. – Josh Pugsley has learned a lot in one year.
Last year, the 17-year-old forward attended the Moncton Wildcats’ camp as a third-round selection with high hopes of making the veteran-laded QMJHL hockey club.
After a year with his hometown Amherst Ramblers of the Maritime Junior Hockey League, Pugsley is back hoping to crack the lineup of a younger Wildcats’ squad.
“I’m ready to go. I feel as though I’m in better shape this year,” said Pugsley before going on the ice as the Wildcats opened their 2013 training camp. “After being there last year I have a better idea of what the coaches expect and what they want.”
Pugsley has a solid rookie season with the Ramblers last year battling a series of nagging injuries to score six goals and add 23 assists for 29 points in 44 games. That came after a 62-point season in 2011-12 with the Weeks Major Midgets – a season in which he led the league in scoring and won rookie of the year honours.
While he would have liked to have made the Wildcats last season, Pugsley said playing in Amherst helped him prepare for this year’s camp.
“In junior A I played against bigger and stronger guys for almost 50 games so that’s going to help me in the long run. I my mind I’m physically prepared to take the next step,” said Pugsley, who played in the Cumberland County Minor Hockey Association before going to Truro to play major bantam in 2010.
The Wildcats are expected to be in a rebuilding mode after carrying an older team last season. Pugsley said that doesn’t mean the team will be any easier to make, adding he expects the club will have a good mix of rookies and returning players.
“The team will be younger, but there will be a lot of veterans back. It’s up to me to play my best and show them what I can do,” said Pugsley. “It’s going to be a great experience.”
Springhill's Bronson Beaton is in Cape Breton for the Screaming Eagles' camp that also began Monday.