BERWICK, N.S. – The Valley Wildcats hosted the annual Maritime Hockey League Draft on June 9, as clubs from around the 12-team league – including the Yarmouth Mariners – sought to add young talent from across Atlantic Canada.
One hundred and 20 names were called out at the draft as the junior clubs claimed the rights to midget-aged players. The top 3 selections went to the St. Stephen County Aces.
Yarmouth Mariners head coach Laurie Barron said they were pleased with the draft.
“We are very excited about our draft and feel we have added lots of young talent,” he said. “Along with skill we have added size upfront with the forwards.”
The Mariners had the 11th pick overall in the draft and in this first round selected Sam Gillis, a forward with the Cape Breton Tradesmen Major Midget team.
Welcome Ben. pic.twitter.com/OGZfHe1G6F— Yarmouth Mariners (@MarinersHockey) June 9, 2018
The Mariners formally announced Yarmouth major midget player Ben Charles of the South Shore Mustangs as their first territorial pick, an announcement the team had made prior to the draft.
The Mariners’ second territorial pick is Brendan Sibley, a defenseman with the Saint on Sea Dogs of the QMJHL who has former ties to the Yarmouth and Clare areas and played some minor hockey in the region.
“We are rolling the dice a little here,” said Barron, noting last season Sibley’s time was split between the Dartmouth major midget and the Sea Dogs.
“We may never see him but if we do he will be an impact player,” said Barron.
The Mariners came away from the draft with nine selections.
The Yarmouth Mariners – who had a very successful 2017-2018 season, going all the way to Game 6 of the MHL championship final – also picked up two MHL awards over the draft weekend. Ben Chipman, a graduating defenseman and a fan favourite on and off the ice, won the MHL Community Spirit Award for his work on and off the ice.
Mariners owner Mitch Bonnar won the Moe Bent Builders Award for his contributions to junior A hockey. Bonnar, incidentally, has now taken on the sole role as owner, president and governor of the Mariners. He had previously co-owned the team with Keith Condon, who is stepping away from the ownership responsibility due to other commitments, Bonnar said Monday.
The Mariners draft list:
• 1st round: Sam Gillis, forward, Cape Breton Tradesmen (NS Major Midget)
• 2nd round: Miguel Poirier, forward, Moncton Flyers (NB/PEI Major Midget)
• Territorial pick 1: Ben Charles, forward, South Shore Mustangs (NS Major Midget)
• Territorial pick 2: Brendan Sibley, defense, Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL)
• 4th round: David Hibbs, forward, Tri-Pen Osprey (NL Major Midget)
• 6th round: Kurtis Lang, forward, Newbridge Academy (NS Major Midget)
• 7th round: Dixon MacLeod, forward, Kensington Wild (NB/PEI Major Midget)
• 8th round (two pics): Connor MacLeod, forward, Weeks Major Midgets (NS Major Midget)
Matthew Helpard, defense, Newbridge Academy (U18)