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Morgan Messenger lacing up for 2016 RBC Cup national junior A championship


LLOYDMINSTER, SASK. – A hockey player from southwestern Nova Scotia will play for a national championship in western Canada.

Morgan Messenger, who started off his junior A career playing in Yarmouth, says he's looking forward to it.

What started out as 131 junior A teams at the start of the season will be 5 teams at the 2016 RBC Cup, running May 14-22.

Messenger, whose family lives in Centreville, Shelburne County, plays on the host Lloydminster Bobcats team. He was traded from the Whitecourt Wolverines prior to the start of this season.

“It was pretty exciting to get the phone call that you’re going to play for Lloyd this year,” he says.

The team had a very successful season and playoff run, winning 44 games and making it to Game 5 of the Alberta Junior Hockey League semi-finals in playoffs.

Messenger was always considered a hometown kid when he played with the Yarmouth Mariners.

When he was on the Canada East roster at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge and scored a goal to tie a game with USA, Hockey Canada tweeted: “If anybody happens to find the roof of the Mariners Centre please return it to Yarmouth. It came off when (Messenger) tied the game."

Messenger isn’t the hometown kid in Lloydminster, but the team feels like home.

“From when he first arrived here he has been a huge part of our community. He is one that as soon as you ask 'Hey want to help?' he jumps on board, he never hesitates," says Kandace Letkeman, with the Bobcats administration. “Fans love him here. There’s one little guy who pretends he’s Messenger all the time. It’s amazing to see someone who moved across the country adapt and fit in so well."

Interviewed before all of the teams had been settled for the RBC Cup, Messenger was hoping to see an MHL team, specifically the Woodstock Slammers, make it through from the Fred Page Cup. That almost happened, but the Slammers lost 4-2 to the Carleton Place Canadians in the Fred Page Cup final.

Messenger – no doubt thinking about the Mariners’ 4-3 loss to Woodstock in triple overtime of Game 7 of the 2012 Kent Cup final for the chance to advance to the Fred Page Cup – said it would have been fun to play Woodstock at the RBC. Maybe a chance for payback?

Asked what’s changed about his game since leaving Yarmouth, Messenger says in Alberta the hockey is faster and more aggressive, but he says he's picked up his pace.

“Overall I’ve tried to work on my offensive game a lot. In my 17 and 18-year-old years I got caught playing a little too much on the defensive side of the puck,” he says.

In this year's regular season Messenger had 23 goals and 28 assists. His 51 points was the second highest on his team. In the playoff's 10 games he had four goals and two assists.

As for the location of the RBC Cup, the city of Lloydminster is unique in that it straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, with parts of the city in both provinces. Messenger lives on the Alberta side but the rink is in Saskatchewan.

“Pretty much,” he says laughing when asked if the rink parking lot is in Alberta. “The street that the rink is on, one side is in Alberta and the other is in Saskatchewan.”

Messenger, meanwhile, could also get another shot at an RBC Cup. He still has one year left of junior hockey after this season.

Morgan Messenger, who started off his junior A career playing in Yarmouth, says he's looking forward to it.

What started out as 131 junior A teams at the start of the season will be 5 teams at the 2016 RBC Cup, running May 14-22.

Messenger, whose family lives in Centreville, Shelburne County, plays on the host Lloydminster Bobcats team. He was traded from the Whitecourt Wolverines prior to the start of this season.

“It was pretty exciting to get the phone call that you’re going to play for Lloyd this year,” he says.

The team had a very successful season and playoff run, winning 44 games and making it to Game 5 of the Alberta Junior Hockey League semi-finals in playoffs.

Messenger was always considered a hometown kid when he played with the Yarmouth Mariners.

When he was on the Canada East roster at the 2013 World Junior A Challenge and scored a goal to tie a game with USA, Hockey Canada tweeted: “If anybody happens to find the roof of the Mariners Centre please return it to Yarmouth. It came off when (Messenger) tied the game."

Messenger isn’t the hometown kid in Lloydminster, but the team feels like home.

“From when he first arrived here he has been a huge part of our community. He is one that as soon as you ask 'Hey want to help?' he jumps on board, he never hesitates," says Kandace Letkeman, with the Bobcats administration. “Fans love him here. There’s one little guy who pretends he’s Messenger all the time. It’s amazing to see someone who moved across the country adapt and fit in so well."

Interviewed before all of the teams had been settled for the RBC Cup, Messenger was hoping to see an MHL team, specifically the Woodstock Slammers, make it through from the Fred Page Cup. That almost happened, but the Slammers lost 4-2 to the Carleton Place Canadians in the Fred Page Cup final.

Messenger – no doubt thinking about the Mariners’ 4-3 loss to Woodstock in triple overtime of Game 7 of the 2012 Kent Cup final for the chance to advance to the Fred Page Cup – said it would have been fun to play Woodstock at the RBC. Maybe a chance for payback?

Asked what’s changed about his game since leaving Yarmouth, Messenger says in Alberta the hockey is faster and more aggressive, but he says he's picked up his pace.

“Overall I’ve tried to work on my offensive game a lot. In my 17 and 18-year-old years I got caught playing a little too much on the defensive side of the puck,” he says.

In this year's regular season Messenger had 23 goals and 28 assists. His 51 points was the second highest on his team. In the playoff's 10 games he had four goals and two assists.

As for the location of the RBC Cup, the city of Lloydminster is unique in that it straddles the Alberta/Saskatchewan border, with parts of the city in both provinces. Messenger lives on the Alberta side but the rink is in Saskatchewan.

“Pretty much,” he says laughing when asked if the rink parking lot is in Alberta. “The street that the rink is on, one side is in Alberta and the other is in Saskatchewan.”

Messenger, meanwhile, could also get another shot at an RBC Cup. He still has one year left of junior hockey after this season.

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