SACKVILLE – On the ice, they seem like tough guys, facial expressions hidden behind bulky helmets. But off the ice, Zach Anderson and Brett Pendergast are two normal young adults, who just happen to be two of the Cumberland County Blues.
Our newsroom caught up with the pair in Sackville, N.B. to get an inside look at the players without their game faces.
While Anderson said it was almost natural for him to take up hockey, what with his family building backyard rinks when he was younger, Pendergast’s decision to take the to the ice wasn’t so obvious.
“I was probably at one of those stages where I was interested in everything and my parents put me into hockey,” he said. “I quit after one year but then I got back into it. But I mean, for my first year, in beginner, all I really did was eat snow. I retired because I guess I wasn’t having that much fun with it but I realized I really did miss it, so I came back.”
Much like his teammate Zac Black, Anderson hadn’t wanted to join a team because he said his main focus was school. But once he settled in, Anderson said he wanted back on the ice.
“I missed it too much,” he said. “I started (with the Blues) just before Christmas and I love it.”
Something fans may not know - they can’t follow the team into the dressing room -is the Blues have a resident comedian. Both Anderson and Pendergast agree teammate Mike McLure is always one to lighten the mood and put smiles on their faces.
“He’s got a colourful personality,” said Anderson. “He’s always up and going, always talking to everyone in the room, hopping around the room.”
“He lives life on impulse really,” added Pendergast. “One moment, he’ll be sitting down calmly and the next he’ll see Connor (equipment manager) in the room and get up and beat the crap out of him. But he’s just joking around.”
The team even has a resident relationship advisor. Pendergast, who happens to be in a committed relationship (sorry ladies), doesn’t mind taking time out to help his fellow Blues out with love-related problems.
“The only guy I’ve ever given love advice to is Mike McLure,” he said. “I always tell him, ‘Mike, you gotta do this’. He’s definitely got some learning left to do.”
With only a few games left before the playoffs, Pendergast said the team has the potential to make a lot of noise in the league and hopes the fans don’t mind being a little patient.
“We’re the youngest team in the league and once we come together, we’ll be an exciting team to watch.”
“We have a lot of talent,” Anderson added.