The 2010-11 edition of the Mark's Work Wearhouse Island Junior Hockey League gets underway on Tuesday night in Montague, when the Down East Auto & Marine Maniacs host the visiting Western Red Wings at 8 o'clock.
The Maniacs will kick off a big season for the franchise, as they are guaranteed a spot in the Don Johnson Cup as hosts of the Atlantic Junior B Championships in April. "This is a big year for this organization and for Kings County," states GM, Mark Baker, "We like our group which includes overage players Justin Hancock and Josh MacDonald who were with the team prior to its move to Montague. Returning players such as All-Star goalie, Travis Willis, and league Rookie of the Year, Tyler Clair, together with some exciting rookies and a new attitude will give hockey fans something to cheer about."
The Wings head into Tuesday's game with ten returning players and are lead by TJ Campbell, who was among the league's leading scorers last season. GM, Mick Hanlon, says that this year's team will have "speed, good defence, and lots of desire. We thank our sponsors, new and old, for continuing to support this good brand of exciting hockey and encourage fans to come and cheer us on," added Hanlon.
Other games this week include the Sherwood A&S Scrap Metal Falcons' home opener against the Charlottetown Metro Building Supplies Abbies on Wednesday night at Cody Banks. Sherwood will be looking to Tyler MacDonald in goal, and veterans Brodie MacDonald, Jon Vloet and Chris Boswall to help the many rookies in camp. Newcomers Ben MacSwain, Josh Kirkpatrick, and Craig Dougan have impressed at camp and should make an immediate impact. Coaches, Colin Hansen and Jason Denomme, are entering their 11th season behind the bench.
The Abbies will where the colours and take the name of the former Junior A franchise this season. "I like the look of the team, based on the strength of our returning players and the added depth from recent draft choices," co-coach Shawn MacDougall said. Among the 12 returning players are goaltender Chris Chandler, defencemen Willie Whelan and Mike Crosby, and forwards Steve Cassidy, Alex Abbott, and Ryan Chaisson. Co-coach Brad Larter says, "We know how competitive this league is and in order for us to be in the top part of the standings we will need our players to compete hard every game."
The Abbies will host the Red Wings the following night, and the Island Champion Kensington Moase Plumbing & Heating Vipers will kick off their season on Friday night in Montague. Vipers' owner, Pat McIver, says that the Vipers are looking forward to the season. "We have playoff MVP Alan Clow back in the lineup as well as regular season MVP and scoring champion, Cameron Webster. There are 17 returning players with five of last year's six defensemen returning."
The league looks forward to having Mark's Work Wearhouse back as the league's title sponsor for 2010-11.