SUMMERSIDE – The opportunity to potentially play junior A hockey in their hometown has four Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals’ draft picks excited.
The Capitals announced forwards Colby MacArthur and Bennett MacArthur as territorial picks last week, and then selected defenceman Ed McNeill in the second round, and made a trade so they could take forward Nick Reeves in the fifth round of the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) Draft in Berwick, N.S., on Saturday.
“I talked to them before the draft, and had my fingers crossed the whole day that they would take me because that’s the only place I would want to go,” said Reeves, 16. “I want to play at home when it comes to junior A, be close to my family and be able to play in front of all the Summerside fans.
“I was one of those fans, and it’s been an organization I’ve grown up watching.”
Reeves, who recorded 21 points in 32 regular-season games with the Charlottetown Bulk Carriers Pride during the 2017-18 New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League regular season, said he had a “good” experience attending the 2017 Caps’ training camp as a walk-on.
“I was really excited and honoured, and just did my best,” said Reeves. “I felt I had a pretty good camp, and got in a couple of games.
“That helped prepare me for my season in Charlottetown because I got to play against older guys, and get a taste of what junior hockey is about.”
McNeill described being drafted by his hometown team as an “unbelievable experience.”
He went on to say he’s watched them since he was a little kid.
“I’ve always wanted to play with them, so it is a dream come true,” continued McNeill.
The 15-year-old McNeill had 15 points in 34 games with the Pride last season. His plan is to attend the training camp of the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, who selected him in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Draft on June 2.
“If that doesn’t work out there I’ll come back and go with the Caps,” he added.
Colby MacArthur, who is coming off a 41-point regular-season with the Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild major midget team, is the younger brother of Caps forward Brodie MacArthur, who was second in team scoring with 89 points in 45 regular-season games and had a team-leading 21 points in 12 post-season contests. Bennett is not related to Colby and Brodie.
“We were thinking about it and how Bennett was the other territorial (selection), and we are all MacArthurs, all living in Summerside and could all be playing on the same team,” said Colby, 16.
Colby said he had “a good experience” attending last year’s Caps’ training camp, and he’s also hoping that will prove beneficial this year.
“Right now, I’m just trying to make the team, nothing more,” said Colby. “I just want to improve as the year goes on, and have a good year.”
Excited for camp
Bennett, who registered 24 points in 21 games with the Rothesay-Netherwood School Riverhawks last season, is excited to return to the Capitals’ training camp.
“I’m going to go into camp trying to make the team,” said Bennett, 17. “I’m going to have a big summer in the gym, and then I’ll be in great shape for camp.”
Bennett, who played with the Wild for the 2016-17 season, is looking forward for the opportunity to return to his hometown.
“It was a pretty big relief to get drafted and knowing I will be staying home, and getting a chance to play in front of people I know was a great feeling,” he said.