Yarmouth's Success Extends Beyond The Ice

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For those of you who have been reading my articles on this blog you may notice many are quite critical or suggesting how I think things should be in a variety of topics. So before I have my reader's thinking all I am is negative here's a very positive story in regards to a local organization. Despite being away from Nova Scotia I regularly try to stay updated on news from home while at Brock University. Recently I came across an article in the Yarmouth Vanguard newspaper explaining that world renowned neurosurgeon Dr. Ivar Mendez was performing medical tests on Mariners players for the interest of concussion studies. That article was what led me to write this piece on the Yarmouth Mariners organization and the multiple successes they have been able to achieve.Let's start on the ice, Yarmouth currently leads the Eastlink (Bent) division with an impressive record of 27-8-1 good for 55 points 3 up on Fred Page host the Truro Bearcats. They are certainly considered to be a contender to repeat as division champions and perhaps a league championship. Last season Yarmouth came painstakingly close to winning the Kent Cup, in fact losing in triple overtime of game 7 to the Woodstock Slammers. The Slammers then went on to the RBC (national) final and lost 4-3. So in essence Yarmouth very well could have had the same success at the national level, taking nothing away from Woodstock of course. Since Paul Currie moved the team in 2002 from Dartmouth the organization has been quite competitive, including a league championship in 2007-2008 under former NHL head coach Steve Kasper. In terms of player development Yarmouth is exceedingly seen as a leader in the MHL. Last year all-star goalie Charles Grant accepted a scholarship to play at Darmouth College (NCAA D1). Ryan Nickerson (Guelph), Mathew Pompei (McGill) both had opportunities to play Canadian university hockey while Morgan Mullen (Hobart College) and Andrew Wigg (Plymouth State) both went to NCAA DIII schools. Morgan Messenger was recently selected to play in the CJHL prospects game in Digby and should have a chance to play with Team Canada East at future events. Other notables who have gone to Major Junior via Yarmouth include; Kyle Campbell, Billy Hartley, Chase Gaudet, and Josh Desmond just to name a few. The development also extends from the players to the coaches as Timothy Garden-Cole was an assistant coach in the CJHL prospects game and Laurie Barron was an assistant with Team Canada East. In talking about Yarmouth and it's successes at some point you need to mention the fans. During my playing days, Yarmouth was one of my favorite places to play and also one of the worst places to play. I enjoyed playing in Yarmouth yet it was a tough place to win a hockey game, and was home to one of the hardest losses in my junior career in Game 7 last season. Disregarding the long road trip to the "end of the world" the opposing goalie's night would begin with an introduction from the puck bangers. A group of fans who love to try and annoy goalies, and spur on the home team by slapping pucks against the glass behind the net. I'll never admit to them (puck bangers) getting to me, but you can't deny the passion that Yarmouth fans exhibit during the games. In fact Yarmouth has the enviable position of drawing the largest attendance on average in the entire league at over 1,300 on any given night, with a rink capacity of 1,501 every game has an electrifying atmosphere.   I want to also quickly mention the Icy Knights program that Mariner players actively participate in. Self admittedly my knowledge of the program is basic, but from my understanding Mariner players once a week spend time with youth who have challenges in their daily lives. These include youth with mental disabilities, confined to a wheelchair or other behavioral issues. Perhaps of all the successes Yarmouth has had this truly may have the biggest impact on making the community a better place to be.Yarmouth has a terrific track record of hosting events. The Mariners organization hosted the 2005 Fred Page Cup and narrowly missed an opportunity to go to the RBC Cup losing 4-3 to Hawkesbury in the final. Last summer the Mariners hosted to MHL draft with considerable success, however what I consider to be the biggest success was the 2012 World Jr. A challenge. I understand the Mariner's organization was not the only group to help lead a successful tournament however they played an integral role. And what an event it was, the Mariner's Centre drew impressive crowds all week, and were terrific hosts leaving the possibility of Hockey Canada allowing similar sized communities to host the event in the future. Lastly is Dr. Ivar Mendez's research and testing of new equipment to detect concussions in athletes. What an accomplishment to say that some of the first ever testing done in this type of new technology which could be used all around the world was done by a local Jr. team from Nova Scotia, representing the MHL. I think that is just another feather in the cap of this organization, its fans and ultimately the community.So kudos to the Yarmouth Mariner's and its supporters for all its successes both on and off the ice as these things are helping to push the MHL to new levels in image and on-ice product.http://www.thevanguard.ca/Sports/Hockey/2013-01-15/article-3156225/Mariners-1st-team-to-test-medical-technology/1

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