MacPhail named to Canada Winter Games team

Islander goalie Kenzie MacPhail and coach Nick MacNeil share a quick chat during Major Midget action.

INVERNESS: One of the Cape Breton West Islanders’ finest will join some of Nova Scotia’s best young hockey players to represent the province in February at next year’s Canada Winter Games.

Islander goalie Kenzie MacPhail was named to the male roster of Team Nova Scotia on Wednesday of last week. The rest of the roster was fleshed out then as well.

News came to the star goalie a little bit before then.

“About two weeks ago, I was home with my family and got a call from the coach,” MacPhail said. “He said he had some good news. I was pretty excited, and so was my family.”

It was a long process to evaluate all prospects for the team. It started for MacPhail at a camp last spring where eight eligible goalies were reviewed. That number was whittled down to five for the summer camp. A week after that summer camp, a list was released with the three remaining netminders.

“In September in Dartmouth, we had a mini-round robin tournament,” MacPhail explained. “They told us the Monday after the Monctonian tournament that they’d release the line-up and give you a phone call.

“I had a lot of support from my teammates and coaching staff, so that really helped too. I just want to thank everybody for the support I had.”

Also in net will be Upper Tantallon’s Jacob Goobie.

Nova Scotia’s blue line will be made up of Tanner Greatorex, Truro; Oscar Plandowski, Halifax; Michael Sack, Shubenacadie; Luke Vardy, Hammonds Plains; Zach Welsh, Halifax; and Cam Whynot, Kentville.

Up front, Team Nova Scotia will be represented by forwards Davis Cooper, Hammonds Plains; Sam Archibald, Debert; Cole Foston, Beaverbank; Riley Kidney, Enfield; Cam MacDonald, Tantallon; Matthew MacDonald, Halifax; Jacob Melanson, Amherst; Joey Merriam, Milford; Colin Parker, Newport; Griffin Peers, Cole Harbour; Alex Ross, Halifax; and Connor Trenholm, Cole Harbour.

The team was selected following an evaluation process that included camps and competition.

Islander coach Nick MacNeil said he has high praise for the netminder.

“He’s been awesome all year, and making that team was well-deserved,” MacNeil said. “Right now, he’s the top goalie in the province. I’ve got high praise for him, but I’m still going to push him.

“I think he can do some good things in hockey if he sticks with it and commits to it.”

Serving as head coach is Jon Greenwood, best known for coaching the Halifax Mooseheads of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. Serving as assistant coaches are Tom Lee and Erin King, and fleshing out the team staff are Charles Grant, goaltending coach; Chris Waugh, equipment manager; and Darren Sutherland, director of operations.

The 2019 Canada Winter Games male hockey tournament will be held from February 16-22 in Red Deer, Alberta.

“This has been a long selection process but we are excited with the roster that we have assembled and we’re really looking forward to getting out to Alberta in February,” said Coach Greenwood.