Adrian Ward knows the scouts will be watching when he hits the ice in Halifax this weekend, so he hopes he can bring his A game to the rink.
The Goose Cove native is in his third and final season of eligibility with the Dennis GM Western Kings of the Newfoundland and Labrador Hockey League — one of the provincial major midget hockey teams participating in The Chronicle Herald East Coast IceJam major midget hockey showcase tournament this weekend at the BMO Centre in Halifax.
Ward was a late-round pick of the Yarmouth Mariners of the Maritime Junior A Hockey League in 2017 and he spent two weeks at the team’s training camp to get a better sense of the calibre of hockey at the Junior A level.
He went there with the intention of returning home to finish his major midget career with the Kings and graduate from high school with his buddies in Corner Brook.
He has helped the Kings dominate the provincial league this season, heading to Halifax with first place clinched and only one loss in 28 games.
The Mariners want him to come back next season and Ward is going to work hard over the next year to see how he stacks up. The five-foot-eight, 155-pound speedster wants to give an honest effort for a couple of years to see where he can take his game before he switches his focus to furthering his education.
He’s not going to put any pressure on himself. He’s just going to play the game the way he figures got him noticed in the first place and that’s to be a speedy playmaker who is just fine with banging into bigger bodies than his small frame.
“Play physical and make all the right plays,” he said.
The Kings have won their share of games at the annual showcase event, but this time around Ward figures he’s playing on one of the strongest teams to head off the island, so he thinks winning is certainly within grasp.
He believes the Kings have a good mix of players who bring a lot of different things to the team, and all four lines have been playing good hockey all year, so depth is on their side.
“We’re not depending on one guy for everything. The whole team is contributing,” he said.