Hughie McGuish has been one of the more popular members of the Cumberland County Cool Blues since joining the club three years ago. McGuish is much more than the Blues enforcer, hes their leader on and off the ice. File photo - Amherst Daily News
SPRINGHILL - Fighters have always held a special place in the hearts of hockey fans.
When a big man steps out on the ice it never fails to send shock waves through the crowd. There's no telling what can happen.
And teammates will always tell you a fighter brings special intangibles that aren't always found on the scoreboard.
Gretzky called his protector, Dave Semenko, the funniest man he's ever met and legendary Canadian writer Mordecai Richler, who wrote many stories about hockey players, said hanging out with hockey fighters was one of the greatest experiences a hockey fan could hope for.
Cool Blues Captain Hughie McCuish is no exception to the rule.
In three years with the Cool Blues he has become, not only one of the most popular players in Springhill, but one of the most popular players in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League.
"I've been in hockey a lot of years and I can't say I've ever met anybody nicer than Hughie McCuish," Cool Blues Coach Ron Reynolds said. "I can't say enough about Hughie. He's as enjoyable as anybody I've been involved with in hockey. He's a tough guy on the ice but a gentleman off the ice."
At the beginning of the year, his third and final season in the league, McCuish was named captain of the Cool Blues.
"Being captain is a huge honour," McCuish said. "The boys look to you and you want to do your best. You don't want to let them down, that's for sure."
With the C on his jersey the 6'5" square-shouldered, square-jawed McCuish then went on to lead his team to their best finish in team history.
"Clinching first place overall was awesome," McCuish said. "We definitely have a championship calibre team here."
McCuish can't say enough about his coach.
"Ron's got all the boys backs. He'd never let you down," McCuish said. "And he likes to win. He's a winner."
He also can't say enough about his teammates, especially the 3rd and 4th line players.
"They can swing the game right around. When you see them bust it hard., it makes you want to pick up your game," McCuish said. "Everyone has a role on this team. Its not just the goal scorers."
McCuish says he's always working on his foot speed and foot movement but an interview with Hughie McCuish isn't really an interview if you don't talk a little bit about fighting.
When squaring off with an opponent McCuish said, "Not a lot goes through your head. You just want to rock 'em. You don't want to be the one going down."
He said he has a lot respect for fighters because, "if someone is willing to drop their gloves, you have to respect them no matter who they are."
But fighters he doesn't respect are the ones, "who keep hitting somebody when they're down. When I see that it makes me want to get the guy.
"It's kind of strange being known as a fighter," McCuish added. "But it gives you a lot more room to skate out there, that's for sure."