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Kensington Wild hosting major midget hockey showcase this weekend

Jason Simmonds/Journal Pioneer
Keiran Gallant in action with the Kensington Wild during a New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Major Midget Hockey League game last season.
Keiran Gallant in action with the Kensington Wild during a New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Major Midget Hockey League game last season. - Jason Simmonds
KENSINGTON, P.E.I. —

It’s nice to be the first to host this and get it going. We volunteered ourselves to get it started. We are hoping to draw a crowd in Kensington and get some excitement generated for all six games, not just ours.

- Mike Gallant, Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild owner

There will be a full menu of major midget hockey on display in Kensington this weekend.

The Kensington Monaghan Farms Wild will host the inaugural New Brunswick/Prince Edward Island Major Midget Hockey League Showcase at Credit Union Centre.

“It’s nice to be the first to host this,” said Wild owner Mike Gallant. “We volunteered to get it started.

“We are hoping to draw a crowd in Kensington and get some excitement generated for all six games, not just ours.”

All of the league’s six teams will play two games – one on Saturday and one on Sunday – that will count in the standings. All games will be three 20-minute periods.

“It’s a great idea for the whole league to play some regular-season games in one location and we have a list of scouts who are going to be here,” said Wild head coach Kyle Dunn. “It’s going to be pretty exciting for these kids with a tournament atmosphere but game mentality.”

Gallant confirmed there are already close to 20 scouts pre-registered from major junior and junior A teams.

“It’s a great opportunity for all these players, no matter if you are drafted or undrafted,” said Dunn. “If you are drafted it’s an opportunity to showcase your talent and to prove to the guys who drafted you that they made a great decision. If you are undrafted it’s an opportunity to show the scouts what you have.”

Gallant said fans should be treated to a high-calibre of hockey. He added the Wild organization has put a lot of work into planning for this weekend.

“If it goes well we are hoping to host it every year,” said Gallant. “We want to do a good job and provide a good experience for all the teams.”


Callup should be back in time

Third-year forward and assistant captain Dixon MacLeod, who has 20 points in 28 regular-season games, has been called up by the Grand Falls Rapids of the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL). MacLeod joined the Rapids for Thursday’s game in New Glasgow, N.S., against the Pictou County Crushers. He is also expected to play with Grand Falls on Friday against the Truro Bearcats. MacLeod will be back in the Wild lineup on Saturday. Grand Falls recently acquired MacLeod’s MHL rights in a trade with the Fredericton Red Wings.


Gallant returns

Keiran Gallant is returning to the Wild after a stint with the QMJHL's Charlottetown Islanders. He's shown here scoring on Moncton Wildcats goalie Erik MacInnis in a September preseason game. - Jason Malloy
Keiran Gallant is returning to the Wild after a stint with the QMJHL's Charlottetown Islanders. He's shown here scoring on Moncton Wildcats goalie Erik MacInnis in a September preseason game. - Jason Malloy

A familiar face will make his season debut with the Wild this weekend. Forward Keiran Gallant, who played with the Wild last season, started this year with the Charlottetown Islanders of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

He suffered a broken collarbone in November and was recently cleared to return to game action. He had one goal and four points in 13 games with the Islanders.

“It’s always a good time here and I know a lot of the boys very well,” said the 17-year-old son of Todd and Angela Gallant of Covehead. “They have a good team and I’m pretty excited.”

The slick-skating Gallant, who recorded 41 points in 35 regular-season games with the Wild a year ago, has also been practising with the Islanders since returning from surgery. He is taking a simple approach with the Wild.

“I don’t want to overcomplicate it,” said Gallant. “I just want to play my game, move fast, play hard and be hard to play against.”

Busy long weekend

It’s the start of a busy holiday weekend for the Wild, who will play three games in three days. The Wild faces the Bathurst, N.B.-Northern Moose on Saturday at 7:30 p.m., and the Fredericton Caps on Sunday at 11 a.m.

Kensington will also host the Moose in a make-up game on Islander Day (Monday) at the APM Centre in Cornwall at 1:30 p.m.


NOTES:

Sophomore Duncan Picketts will return to the Wild on Saturday after sitting out a two-game suspension.

After this weekend, the Wild has only one regular-season game remaining at Credit Union Centre. That is Saturday, Feb. 22, against the Saint John Vitos.


Jason.simmonds@journalpioneer.com

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