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Players deal with different routine during first school day game in QMJHL history

Charlottetown Islanders goalie Matthew Welsh played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's first ever school day game Wednesday at the Eastlink Centre.
Charlottetown Islanders goalie Matthew Welsh played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's first ever school day game Wednesday at the Eastlink Centre. - Jason Malloy

CHARLOTTETOWN, P.E.I. – Wednesday’s early wakeup call had some players thinking of their minor hockey days.

“Growing up as a kid here and playing in the Spud, and all the tournaments around, you’re going to have early games,” Summerside native Jeremy McKenna said. “It kind of reminded me of that.”

Students dance during the first ever school day game in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League history Wednesday at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.
Students dance during the first ever school day game in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League history Wednesday at the Eastlink Centre in Charlottetown.

McKenna and his Moncton Wildcats travelled to Charlottetown Tuesday and spent the night here in order to play the Islanders at the Eastlink Centre at 10 a.m. in the first Quebec Major Junior Hockey League school day game.

It was a near-capacity crowd of 3,689 with most being from local schools.

“It’s amazing. It’s a great idea and . . . I hope it catches fire,” McKenna said. “It was fun for us.”

RELATED: Click here to find out more about the school day game.

Charlottetown Islanders goalie Matthew Welsh laughed when asked when his last 10 a.m. game was.

“A long time ago,” he said, suggesting it might have been in midget at the Ice Jam tournament in Nova Scotia. “Maybe the Canada Games.”

RELATED: Click here for a story and photos from the game.

The morning game resulted in a 6:15 a.m. wakeup call for the netminder.

“It’s very different,” he said. “It kind of changes up your whole day. Usually a game day is a full-day process and it takes a lot of work leading up to game time.”

Charlottetown native and Isles forward Thomas Casey said it does throw your routine off.

“I was eating rice and chicken at 6:45 a.m. That’s really weird,” he acknowledged. “You have to really dial in on your sleep and what you’re putting into your body.”

He said the staff did a great job in preparing them for the game, and Welsh added it was great to see the kids excited to be at the game.
“We didn't want to make it interesting at the end, but I was glad they got a bit of a show.”

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