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SPORTS CHAT: Cape Breton connections in gold medal game, New Waterford fighter to watch, an update on Anthony MacDonald and more

Due to visa complications, New Waterford’s Steven MacDonald’s Bellator MMA debut has been delayed. He is expected to have his first fighter sometime this year. CONTRIBUTED
Due to visa complications, New Waterford’s Steven MacDonald’s Bellator MMA debut has been delayed. He is expected to have his first fighter sometime this year. CONTRIBUTED

A new year comes with new ideas to help keep you informed about the latest local sports news related to Cape Breton Island.

You may be familiar with the weekly opinion column Sports Chat, which appears in the Cape Breton Post every Wednesday, highlighting issues within the local sports community.

Beginning this week, and continuing each Saturday going forward, the Post is introducing an extended version of Sports Chat focused on headlines, opinion, fact, insight, rumours and where people are in the sports community.

The tidbits provided each week will keep you informed while also making for a conversation starter among family and friends.

C.B. CONNECTIONS

Jonathan Deschamps played a season-and-a-half with the Cape Breton Eagles from 2014-16. He officiated at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton. CONTRIBUTED
Jonathan Deschamps played a season-and-a-half with the Cape Breton Eagles from 2014-16. He officiated at the 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Edmonton. CONTRIBUTED

 

The 2021 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship came to an end on Tuesday night with Canada and the United States playing for the gold medal.

Although no Cape Breton players played with either Canada or the United States, the island did have two connections involved in the contest.

Former Cape Breton Eagle defenceman Jonathan Deschamps was part of the on-ice officiating team. The 24-year-old worked the tournament as a linesman and was on the ice for the game.

Meanwhile, U.S. national junior team head coach Nate Leaman played for Sydney’s Allan MacCormack at State University of New York (NCAA III) in Cortland. At the time, MacCormack was the team’s head coach.

The United States won the game 2-0.

FORMER OILER

Former Cape Breton Oiler Norm Maciver was recently named the new director of player personnel for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL’s newest team which will begin play in 2021-22. CONTRIBUTED
Former Cape Breton Oiler Norm Maciver was recently named the new director of player personnel for the Seattle Kraken, the NHL’s newest team which will begin play in 2021-22. CONTRIBUTED

 

A former Cape Breton Oiler has joined the staff of the NHL’s newest team.

Norm Maciver was recently named the director of player personnel for the Seattle Kraken, who will begin play during the 2021-22 season.

Prior to joining the Kraken, Maciver spent 11 years with the Chicago Blackhawks organization, serving as the club’s director of player development and director of player personnel. From 2012 to 2019 he was the Blackhawks assistant general manager.

Maciver, 56, played two seasons with the Cape Breton Oilers, recording 26 goals and 109 points in 124 games.

Along with the Maciver news, the Kraken also named Jason Botterill as the club’s new assistant general manager.

O’BRIEN AWARD

For the second-straight year, Century Farroh, owned by Ratchford Stables of North Sydney, is a finalist for an O’Brien Award. CONTRIBUTED
For the second-straight year, Century Farroh, owned by Ratchford Stables of North Sydney, is a finalist for an O’Brien Award. CONTRIBUTED

 

With endless success on the track this past season, Century Farroh is once again being recognized by Standardbred Canada.

The four-year-old horse, owned by Dave and Marguerite Ratchford of North Sydney, is a finalist for the O’Brien Award’s Older Pacing Horse.

Century Farroh, who was considered the poster boy for the Ontario Sires Stakes in 2019, has been quite the surprise for the Ratchford family, who purchased the horse for $17,000 in October 2017.

Among the highlights of the 2020 season for Century Farroh came on Oct. 31, capturing the $500,000 Breeders Crown Open Pace at Harrah's Hoosier Park Racing and Casino in Anderson, Ind.

Century Farroh is seeking a second consecutive O’Brien trophy after he was voted Canada’s three-year-old pacing colt of the year in 2019.

To date, Century Farroh’s all-time earnings are more than $1.232-million, a similar number to well-known Fresh Yankee, a horse once owned by Cape Breton’s Duncan MacDonald and partners Richard and Dorothy Logue of Sydney.

Sintra, owned by Michael Guerriero of Brampton, Ont., as well as Kelly Waxman, Carlisle Nunzio Vena, and Bolton and Frank Cirillo, is also up for the award.

With all due respect to Sintra, this is Century Farroh’s award to win and not just because he has Cape Breton connections.

The 2020 Virtual O'Brien Awards Gala takes place on Jan. 31.

FIGHTER TO WATCH

Steven MacDonald, who signed with Bellator MMA last September, is being recognized as one of 10 Canadian mixed martial arts fighters to keep an eye on in 2021.

Joel Griffin of MMA Empire, a Canadian-based mixed martial arts website, recently released his top 10 list and MacDonald was part of it.

The 27-year-old MacDonald began his professional career in Canada in 2018 and has since posted an undefeated 4-0 record, fighting out of Toshido MMA in Kelowna, B.C.

Griffin considers MacDonald one the country’s top light heavyweight prospects, which is one of the reasons he included the New Waterford native on the list.

MacDonald was scheduled to make his Bellator debut before the end of last year, however, visa complications forced a delay in his debut.

No date has been confirmed for his first fight.

MACDONALD RECOVERING

The name Anthony MacDonald became familiar to readers in November.

The 15-year-old hockey player for the Strait Area Education Recreation Centre Saints suffered a skull fracture after taking a slapshot to the head while picking up pucks following a team practice in Port Hawkesbury on Nov. 10.

MacDonald was airlifted to Halifax and later had surgery. He returned home to Port Hawkesbury a week later but has since had another surgery.

MacDonald had the surgery on Dec. 18 and we’re happy to report the procedure went well with no surprises. He was released from hospital on Dec. 22 and spent Christmas with his family in Port Hawkesbury.

Prior to being released, MacDonald received a surprise from TSN. Along with TSN swag, he was also given a hockey stick signed by his favourite player, Chicago Blackhawks forward Patrick Kane.

In a Facebook post on Dec. 22, Mark MacDonald, Anthony’s father, said his son will have several appointments in the future as doctors expect it will be two to three months before they can say if there’s going to be any long-term effects.

Stay strong, Anthony.

TRADED AGAIN

For the second time in his career, former Cape Breton Eagle first-round draft pick Alex Drover has been traded. The 18-year-old was traded from the Saint John Sea Dogs to the Rimouski Océanic this week. JEREMY FRASER • CAPE BRETON POST
For the second time in his career, former Cape Breton Eagle first-round draft pick Alex Drover has been traded. The 18-year-old was traded from the Saint John Sea Dogs to the Rimouski Océanic this week. JEREMY FRASER • CAPE BRETON POST

 

A former Cape Breton Eagle first-round draft pick has once again found a new address.

Alex Drover, the Eagles 10th overall pick at the 2018 QMJHL Entry Draft, was traded from the Saint John Sea Dogs to the Rimouski Océanic for a second-round pick in 2022, a 10th-round pick in 2022, and a fourth-round pick in 2023.

The 18-year-old was traded to the Sea Dogs in December 2018 in a deal for current Eagle defenceman Nathan Larose.

Drover hasn’t really been given a chance to prove himself.

The forward played the majority of his time with the Sea Dogs between the third and fourth lines and with numerous highly skilled players entering the Saint John lineup this season, a trade was bound to happen.

“Client @alexdrover14 is excited to join the @oceanicrimouski organization and show why he was a top-10 pick a couple of years ago,” said Drover’s agent Bryan Dube on Twitter.

The QMJHL trade deadline is Jan. 25 at 1 p.m. Atlantic time.

ACHIEVEMENT ANNIVERSARIES

Since we’re now into 2021, for the next little bit, we’ll recognize some Cape Breton high school sports championship anniversaries each week in this column. Watch for more next Saturday.

Here are this week’s anniversaries:

50th Anniversary (1971):

• Sydney Academy girls badminton provincial championship

• Riverview High School mixed badminton provincial championship

• Riverview High School hockey provincial championship

45th Anniversary (1976):

• Sydney Academy hockey provincial championship

40th Anniversary (1981):

• Cabot High School girls ‘A’ basketball provincial championship

• Sydney Academy hockey provincial championship

• Inverness Consolidated High School boys ‘A’ hockey provincial championship

Have a note of interest you would like to see appear in this weekly column? Send it to Jeremy at [email protected] along with a name and phone number. Follow Jeremy on Twitter @CBPost_Jeremy for the latest sports news.

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