PORT HAWKESBURY: Meet the Canadian Tire Strait Pirates.
That is the new name of the local entry in the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League after the executive of the Pirates was able to reach a sponsorship deal with Canadian Tire.
“It’s a really important step for us,” said assistant coach Tim MacMillan. “We’ve never had that type of sponsor, certainly not a public one so for Canadian Tire to step up and do this, it’s really important. It’s great to have a brand like Canadian Tire that’s so well known. The Melanson’s are terrific. They’re already terrific community supporters, I mean they’re into everything, so it wasn’t a hard conversation to have with them for sure. They really wanted it, so they jumped at it.”
As part of the re-branding process, the Facebook page is now called the “Canadian Tire Strait Pirates,” and the Canadian Tire logo will be put on Pirate jerseys and game programs.
After the new sponsor was announced Friday night at the Port Hawkesbury Civic Centre, the home side skated to a 5-4 win over the Pictou Scotians.
After Pictou County took a 1-0 lead in the first, the Pirates roared back with three straight first period goals. Avery Warner had three points, while Gregor Yoell, Josh Foster and Drew MacDonald each had 2 points. The Pirates directed 48 shots on net.
Then on Sunday in Trenton, the Pirates beat the Scotians 7-4, in a game where the Pirates had 49 shots on net, while the Scotians fired 52 pucks at the goal. The Pirates were able to stave-off a comeback from the Scotians after they got out to a 4-1 lead.
Joshua MacAskill, Luke Hadley and Foster all had two points for the Strait.
“Both were hard-fought, could’ve gone either way, but we managed to squeak them both out,” MacMillan stated. “It’s time we ended up having a four-point weekend so we’re pretty pleased with that rolling into the game with the Junior Miners at home.”
Meanwhile, the Antigonish AA Munro Junior B Bulldogs defeated the Eskasoni Junior Eagles 4-1 on November 6 with Fearghus MacDonald and Sam Mattie each getting two points.
On November 8, the Bulldogs fired 42 shots on goal to skate away with a 6-2 win over Eskasoni. Mattie had three points, MacDonald two and Tyler Cook also had two points.
As for the aforementioned Junior Miners, the Pirate’s Cape Breton rivals will be at the Civic Centre this Friday for a 7:30 puck-drop.
“Certainly the Miners are a contender, there’s no doubt about it,” MacMillan said. “They’re a solid team, right from the net out, so it’ll be a really good test for us.”
As was the case last week, the Pirate executive and the Civic Centre were approved to host a crowd of 400.
“Give credit to the Civic Centre, they came up with the plan, worked with us to put the plan in place, and then had it all ready for Friday night,” MacMillan added. “There needed to be signage, and barriers. There’s work that goes into to having two zones so we appreciate the Civic Centre, and the fans’ cooperation too.”