Last weekend the Weeks Major Midget hockey team saw both Josh Pugsley and Jeff Hanes drafted at the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft in Quebec City.
Pugsley was selected in the third-round, 45th overall by the Moncton Wildcats, while Hanes was selected by the Sherbrooke Phoenix 202nd overall in the 12th round.
Weeks Major Midget head coach Dave MacIntyre says this is exactly what he and the coaching staff hope to happen on a regular basis.
“This is a big deal for the kids and for this program,” he said. “We want this to be a developmental AAA midget team and we want kids to move on and go to the next level.”
Hanes, from Truro, just completed his second year with the Weeks program. MacIntyre says he stepped up his game in his second year and has developed into a consistent and strong player. Although Hanes was not drafted as high as he had hoped he is still optimistic.
“It’s not where you’re drafted, but what you do at camp,” said Hanes. “It’s going to be a different kind of camp because it’s a new organization. There’s no returning players so the way I see it we’re all fighting for a spot.”
This summer he plans on working more on his explosiveness on the ice and continuing to work hard on his fitness level off the ice at the track and in the gym.
Pugsley comes from Amherst and in his first season with the Weeks Major Midgets was the NSMMHL leading scorer and rookie of the year.
“He came out of the gates as any first-year midget player would and wasn’t the player by any means,” said MacIntyre. “That said he isn’t afraid to those grey areas. He was a little timid at first, but then he really came into his own and made the best of the opportunity.”
After hearing his name called by Moncton he said it was a big deal for him because he will be close to home and will still have his family around to support him.
“I didn’t expect Moncton to draft me because I didn’t think I fit into their plans over the next couple of years, but it was a great feeling to have Moncton call my name because it’s only a half hour from my hometown,” said Pugsley. “I’ll still get to see all my friends and family on a regular basis and that potential to get homesick will be smaller.”
He said that he believes that his speed and grittiness is what he improved on the most this year with the Weeks program and knows Moncton will expect those to continue to be at a high level moving forward.
MacIntyre says that he expects both athletes to have strong camps with their respective junior teams, but there is still work to be done if they hope to make the team.
“It’s not the end of the world if you don’t make it your first year, obviously they want to play, but if that doesn’t happen we’re always happy to have players come back to our program.”