SUMMERSIDE – When assessing Brodie MacArthur’s career with the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals, two things clearly stand out – consistency and progression.
The Summerside native is in his third season with the MHL (Maritime Junior Hockey League) team, and has been a key offensive performer since joining the Caps as a midget-aged rookie for the 2016-17 season. He also has the special opportunity to wear the jersey of the team he grew up watching.
“It’s pretty awesome (playing for the Caps),” said MacArthur. “When I was a kid I always came to these games with my buddies, and always wanted to be one of these guys. Now that it’s my third year here, it’s pretty awesome to look back and understand that.”
MVP in major midget
Now 19, MacArthur joined the Capitals after two seasons with the Kensington Wild. In his second season with the Wild, MacArthur was named the New Brunswick/P.E.I. Major Midget Hockey League’s most valuable player and a first-team all-star after recording a league-leading 60 points and 40 assists.
“I came in here my first year around 150 pounds or so,” said the six-foot MacArthur, who now weighs 175 pounds. “I was pretty small that year, and thought I got a little better over the year.
“I put some weight on over the summer, and this year I came in here with a little bit extra weight and strength, and it’s helped a bit.”
MacArthur, who deflected praise to his trainer, Morgan McNeill, for that goal, has been a model of consistency offensively. He averaged a point a game – 50 points in 50 regular-season contests – as he was named to the MHL’s rookie all-star team for the 2016-17 season, and had 89 points in 45 games in his sophomore campaign while being named a first-team all-star in 2017-18.
This year, MacArthur is off to another strong start with 38 points in 21 contests. After starting the season on a line with TJ Shea and Cameron Roberts, MacArthur has been playing with Kallum Muirhead and Calum MacPherson recently.
“I like to create some offence, and try to be responsible in the D zone and at the same time make plays for our team and try to make some things happen,” said the son of Rodney and Kim MacArthur, who is coming off a hat-trick performance in a 7-1 win over Grand Rapids on Dec. 1.
MacArthur, a first-round pick of the Caps in the 2015 MHL Entry Draft, puts a strong emphasis on the defensive side of the game as well.
“Overall, most of us have tried to play a bit better defensively,” said MacArthur, who is studying business at UPEI. “If we can do that, we are going to have a better chance of winning it all.
“This year, I am really focusing on that. Each game I want to make sure I’m playing a 200-foot game, and everything else will come.”
Caps head coach Billy McGuigan said the key to MacArthur’s success is simple – hard work and a desire to continuously get better.
“To be honest, there is that level you get to as a player, and sometimes players don’t find that next gear,” said McGuigan. “But he seems to have found it here.
“Even looking at him in practices and games, his stride alone in his skating has improved over the last six months. His stride is a little more fluent, his skating patterns are a little more fluent, he’s covering the ice quicker and seems to have gained that step he was missing in the past.
“We talked about how he looked in practice last week, and then he goes out and has a three-goal night. A lot of that work comes with practising hard every day, and he’s certainly becoming a more rounded player. That’s a tribute to his hard work.”
MacArthur, a 13th-round draft choice by the Moncton Wildcats in the 2015 Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Entry Draft, is also part of the team’s leadership group this season as an assistant captain. He said the team’s leaders stress positivity.
“Whenever we are all positive, all the young guys can look up to that,” said MacArthur. “If you stay positive, good things will happen.”
Although his play speaks volumes on the ice, McGuigan said MacArthur’s value to the franchise extends far beyond the ice surface.
“Brodie MacArthur means a great deal to our team,” said McGuigan. “Not only is he a fantastic player, he adds a lot as a person. Brodie is a high-character person, is a great kid, very respectful, great manners, comes from a great family and background and grew up here in Summerside.
“He is stereotypical of what we want a Summerside Capital to be – a kid that is respected in the community, a kid that holds himself with professionalism and comes to work each and every day and is a good teammate.”
Brodie MacArthur’s statistics with Western Capitals:
89 penalty minutes
Summerside Western Capitals’ game day:
The Caps host the Campbellton Tigers at Eastlink Arena on Saturday. Game time is 7 p.m.
The Eastlink North Division-leading Caps are 17-4-0 (won-lost-overtime losses), and the Tigers entered Friday’s play at 13-7-3, five points behind Summerside.
This will be only the second meeting of the season between the Caps and Tigers. Sullivan Sparkes scored at 3:33 of overtime to give the Caps a 2-1 win in Summerside on Nov. 10.
Forward Ryan MacDonald, who was acquired from the St. Stephen Aces last week, is expected to make his Caps’ debut Saturday. He had 11 points in 18 regular-season games this year.
“He’s a 20-year-old guy and wanted to be a Summerside Western Capital for a while,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “He has family and friends around Prince Edward Island, and it’s a good fit for us. He’s an undersized forward who can really skate, he’s got some great speed, he puts up decent numbers and he’ll contribute to our penalty kill some and help our team.”
McGuigan confirmed that fourth-year defenceman Jesse Annear is close to returning to the Caps after recovering from off-season surgery.
“Jesse is tied up with school stuff right now doing exams, but he has been skating full-contact practices,” said McGuigan. “We are waiting for the day he is cleared to go, and we feel that could be any day.”
Saturday’s game will be the Caps’ final home contest until New Year’s Eve, when the Valley Wildcats (4-16-3) visit Summerside for a 5 p.m. start.