Regrets hitting official in final game of career
© Dave Mathieson - Cumberland News Now
Blues goaltender Jessie Cox with fellow over-agers Brett Pendergast (left) and Jesse Colborne. The players posed for photos before stepping off the ice for the last time at the Richard Calder Arena in Springhill.
SPRINGHILL – Jessie Cox has blue-coloured blood.
“I bleed blue,” said Cox.
Cox finished his career with the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League's Cumberland County Blues last weekend.
Cox’s was very busy between the pipes during his tenure with Blues, often making 50 or 60 stops per game, always giving his team a chance to win.
The Blues played exceptional hockey leading up to the playoffs, a run that included a five-game win streak, but fell short of extending their season.
“It was a very good feeling when we started winning,” said Cox. “It was emotional and it took a lot out of every single one of us but it felt good to do well.
“Even though we didn’t make the playoffs we showed the league we can contend.”
The Blues were in playoff contention down the stretch with the Antigonish Bulldogs but the Bulldogs punched their ticket to the playoffs with a 4-1 win over the Blues on Feb. 7 in Springhill.
The game was tied 1-1 with 6:20 left in the game when the Blues ran into penalty trouble.
After the Bulldogs went up 3-1 on their second power play several players got into a heated exchange with one of the officials and Cox ended the exchange with a smack to the back of the officials leg with his goalie stick.
Cox was suspended for the last three games of the season.
“It was very emotional realizing that we weren’t going to make playoffs,” said Cox. “It’s something I’ll regret for he rest of my life. I’m a very emotional hockey player and what happened, happened. It’s in the past and I want to move on from it.”
The Bulldogs play the league leading Glace Bay Miners in the first round of the playoffs. Their first game is Saturday night in Sydney.
The Blues had several close games against the Miners and felt they would have done well in the playoffs against them.
“I will say that Glace Bay is happy that they did not play us because of the way we’ve been playing,” said Cox “In a seven-game series, I wouldn’t want to play us.”
Terry McManaman, Blues general manager, says Cox has been a great ambassador for the Blues.
“He goes to all our events. He shows up at our golf tournaments, he goes to CanSkate, he goes to the schools,” said McManaman. “He helps out wherever he can.”
“It’s all for the kids,” said Cox.
McManaman says most teams in the league wanted Cox playing in goal for them.
“I could have traded this guy six times but every time he turned it down,” said McManaman. “He turned down going to Port Hawkesbury last January, he turned down going to lower Sackville, he turned down going to Eastern Shore. There were a lot of teams that wanted him.”
Cox says the Blues were the best group of people he’s played hockey for.
“Terry is on the phone all the time, bringing players in. If it were a month earlier we would have been in the playoffs. It was a good group of players,” said Cox. “And the entire team bonded well together.”
He also thanked the fans.
“There were more and more fans every game. They realized we were a good team,” he said. “I’ll miss everything. I’ll miss wearing the jersey, I’ll miss the coaching staff, and I’ll miss the fans. It’s a nice feeling when you step on the ice and have the fans cheering for you.”
Cox also congratulated Jesse Colborne on scoring all five goals in the Blues 5-3 win over the Port Hawkesbury Strait Pirates during their last home game of the season.
“He’s a great hockey player,” said Cox. “He changed his game around 360 degrees and turned himself into a leader, and he proved that by scoring five goals in a 5-3 win.”
He also congratulated backup goaltender, Julien Savoie, after facing 61 shots in the 5-3 win over the Pirates.
“For him to step in after I was suspended I couldn’t be happier or more proud of him,” said Cox. “He’s proved himself for next year, and to everyone here, including the fans.
“He has one of the biggest hearts and has an extreme passion for hockey,” added Cox. “He’s like a brother to me.”
Cox would like to play on a semi-pro team and the Blues are helping him find a home on a team.
As a previous goaltender myself, Jessie has shown me he can play for a few more years at a level where he can make a wage,” said Paul Atkinson, Blues assistant coach. "We’re working with our contacts with semi-pro teams. Where he ends up we don’t know but we’re going to give it our best shot.”
Cox says it doesn’t matter if he plays in Canada or the U.S., he just wants to play hockey, and he thanked the staff for trying to help him find a new home to play hockey.
“I don’t think I could have finished off my junior career with a better group of people,” he said. “They’re very high on helping people succeed at hockey and life in general.”