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Charlottetown native will be counted on to play a big role down the stretch
As his junior hockey career winds down, Kallum Muirhead is motivated to succeed.
The 20-year-old right-winger has one more opportunity to pursue that elusive Maritime Junior Hockey League championship in his final year of eligibility with the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals.
“I want to win, this is my last year,” emphasized the son of Tammy and Dave Muirhead in an interview with the Journal Pioneer before Thursday afternoon’s practice at Eastlink Arena. “All the boys in there (dressing room) want to win.”
If that goal is to be realized, Muirhead is one of the players who will be counted on heavily. The six-foot-six and 235-pound right-winger is on pace for a career year with the Caps, having recorded 60 points in 31 games. His previous high was 69 points in 47 regular-season games last season.
“He produces offence, he’s a big body, he’s physical, he has a lot of great attributes and he’s a great kid,” said Caps head coach Billy McGuigan. “His size is certainly a big attribute, but the length of his stick and his shot are two things that come to mind for me.
“He has unbelievable hand-eye co-ordination, as good as anyone I have ever seen. That comes from being an elite baseball player for several years.
“There is no one better in the Maritime (Junior) Hockey League picking up an errant pass that goes off his skate and he figures a way to get it onto his stick.”
Muirhead agrees he and the other veterans still have a sour taste in their mouths about how the last two seasons have ended on the road in the Eastlink North Division final series – a Game 7 loss to the Edmundston Blizzard in 2018 and a six-game series loss to the Campbellton Tigers in 2019.
“Having those series go that far and to lose them, it just sucks,” said Muirhead, an assistant captain. “It makes you want to come back and win.”
This year, the Caps have a team that is expected to be in the thick of things come playoff time. They sit atop the Maritime Junior Hockey League’s overall standings at 25-5-1 (won-lost-overtime losses) going into Saturday’s home game versus the Valley Wildcats (8-22-2).
“We are having a pretty good season and hoping to keep it rolling,” said Muirhead, who is one point behind linemate Brodie MacArthur, who has 61 points in 31 games, atop the league scoring race.
Muirhead was recently named the Canadian Junior Hockey League’s second star of the month for November after recording 26 points in 10 games.
“I just have to use my size and keep my feet moving, bring that gritty edge and produce some goals and assists,” added the Charlottetown native.
Muirhead is no stranger to Caps’ fans as he’s in his fourth season wearing the team’s white, blue and red colours.
“I came in here at 17 and didn't know what to expect,” said Muirhead, who has played in 183 regular-season and playoff games with the Caps. “Every year, I have been developing and getting better.”
McGuigan has had a front-row seat to Muirhead’s development over the last four years.
“He’s evolved as a player and as a person as well over the last couple of years,” said McGuigan. “Even from 19 to 20, you could see the evolution of his maturity.
“He came to camp this year focused and ready to play. He’s in the best shape of his life right now. He’s turned the corner with his commitment level and he wants to become a hockey player and he has his sights set on being a college player or maybe even turning pro someday.”
McGuigan said Muirhead is also leaving his mark with the organization off the ice.
“We are lucky with the group of players that we have here now, especially the core group that has been here for three or four years, they understand what being a Summerside Capital is all about,” said McGuigan. “They are all respectful kids and Kallum is one of them.
“He’s a good leader and is a polite young man. When you look at him, he’s six-foot-six and has a presence to him, but he's soft-spoken and has a big heart.
“We are happy the way he’s evolved as a player and his maturity level has certainly come to the next level.”
- Click here for story on Kallum Muirhead named Canadian Junior Hockey League's second star of the month for November:
- Click here for story on Kallum Muirhead recognized by Maritime Junior Hockey League recognizing his play for the month of November:
- Click here for story on Kallum Muirhead leading the Summerside Western Capitals to a recent victory:
Kallum Muirhead’s statistics with Western Capitals:
43 games, 20 goals, 22 assists, 42 points.
10 games, 4 goals, 3 assists, 7 points.
32 games, 22 goals, 13 assists, 35 points.
12 games, 4 goals, 5 assists, 9 points.
35 games, 34 goals, 34 assists, 69 points.
8 games, 2 goals, 3 assists, 5 points.
31 games, 23 goals, 37 assists, 60 points.
- The Summerside Western Capitals host the Valley Wildcats in a Maritime Junior Hockey League game at Eastlink Arena on Saturday. The opening faceoff is set for 7 p.m.
- The Capitals are first overall in the 12-team league at 25-5-1 (won-lost-overtime losses). The Wildcats are last in the six-team Eastlink South Division at 8-22-2.
- It will be the first regular-season meeting between the two teams.
- The Capitals will unveil their new mascot on Saturday night.
- The Wildcats have two Prince Edward Islanders on their roster. Goaltender Chad Arsenault of St-Raphael is 4-11-1 (won-lost-overtime losses) with a 3.98 goals-against average and .895 save percentage. Left-winger Dylan Matthews of Mount Albion has 14 points, including eight goals, in 32 games.