Jesse MacLean will be the new head coach of the Cabot Highlanders.

STRAIT AREA: Last Thursday, the day after he signed on to serve as head coach of the Cabot Highlanders of the Nova Scotia Minor Midget AAA Hockey League, Jesse MacLean told The Reporter the only bad part of his new gig is the packing.

“I threw my resume in and got a message from Danny Demone [team president],” MacLean said from his South End Halifax apartment, which he was in the process of cleaning out due to his move back to Cape Breton. 

“I was originally going to be an assistant with them last year, but work and life got in the way of that. We chatted last night [Wednesday, April 24] and got everything set up. I’m looking forward to it for sure.”

The Cabot Highlanders celebrated their first season in the Nova Scotia Minor AAA Midget Hockey League on April 5 at the Civic Centre. It was recently announced the squad would have a new coach next season.

MacLean is 23-years-old and hails from Whycocomagh. He served as an assistant coach with the provincial champion Cape Breton West Midget AA Islanders during 2018-19, and he spent several seasons working with the Dalbrae Dragons high school team.

In specific, he served as the head coach of the Dragons from 2016-17 to 2017-18, coming up with a silver medal at provincials in 2017-18. He also helped the team win a number of tournament and regional banners.

The Strait Pirates of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League also benefited from MacLean’s coaching. He worked with them as an assistant coach from 2016-17 to 2017-18.

“I’m a hockey nut, and I’ve been lucky to have solid teams so far,” he said. “I’m looking to do all I can to help Cabot, the players and the organization as a whole.

“We have a big draw, and we’re lucky in that respect. I know some of these kids, but there’s a lot of them I never saw play. I’m basing myself on stats right now, but stats only go so far.

“I’m counting down the days now.”

The Highlanders will hold a Spring ID Camp on May 25 and 26 at the Antigonish Arena.

All first and second-year Midget players from the Antigonish, Canso, Cape Breton West and Strait area are welcome to attend. For registration information, contact cabot.highlanders@gmail.com.

The sessions will be both Saturday and Sunday, with an 11 a.m. ice session and a 3:30 p.m. intersquad game both days.

“Cabot had a rough start last year, but they were in a lot of those games and won some late in the year,” he said. “It’ll be very different from high school, but I’m looking forward to it.”