BRANTFORD – The Allan Cup, Canada’s most prestigious amateur senior hockey title, will be played for this spring in Dundas, Ontario, as the Real McCoys won the bid to host.
But there will be a lot of hockey between now and then as the ACH, and the Brantford Blast gears up for the new season.
Among those returning to the fold from last year’s squad is Cameron Sault who impressed a lot of people last season. Not the least is Blast General Manager, Peter Ham who can’t seem to say enough about “Pepper”, as he is known in the dressing room.
“Cam means everything to the Blast,” says Ham. “He brings class, dedication, hard work, skill, speed and an insatiable desire to compete and win.” Sault is an important role player who came into his own in the playoffs last year.
“He became perhaps the MVP of last seasons final series when we defeated Dundas to capture the Provincial Championship.”
Pepper’s moniker came from Blast captain Chad Spurr last year and stuck.
“You only receive that kind of love from our team when you’re a proven leader on and off the ice, a role model and a Blaster through and through,” says Ham. “His playing style and ability reminds me a lot of Guy Smith, who was a member of our 1977 Allan Cup winning team, the Brantford Alexanders, and also a distinguished player and resident from Six Nations”.
The Blast finished last year’s regular season schedule in first place with 20 wins, two loses, one overtime loss, and one shootout loss for 42 points, 9 more than second place Whitby, The Blast went on to defeat Dundas for the Renwick Cup and a berth in the Allen Cup, which was won by the Bentley Generals in Red Deer Alberta.
Sault is looking forward to adding to his 8 goals and 16 assists for 24 points in 21 games played. He will have to work hard to do that in two less games. He is recovering from orthopedic knee surgery and will miss the first two weeks of the schedule.
“It’s just about ready,” says Sault. “But it’s a good thing that there are only two games that I’ll miss.”
Sault is excited to see so many of last year’s teammates returning and believes they will be a force to be rekoned with.
“I think there’s only three or four new guys and they all have a lot of experience eiter in Europe or in the Minor-pros,” he says.
One of those new names is Chris Levier who will start the season on Sault’s line along with returnee Chris Rebernik. Sault has played against both in the pros and knows them well.
This season the league will look slightly different with a new franchise from Stoney Creek entering in for the first time, and the Norwood Vipers return after taking last season off to retool the franchise.
“Stoney Creek should be a strong team,” predicts Sault. “They’ve got the greater Hamilton area to draw from and there’s a lot of good players come from there.”
This year it’s the Orillia Tundra taking a pass on the 2013-2014 season, but they hope to return next year.
The new season starts for the Blast at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Nov. 1 at the Brantford and District Civic Centre against the Welland Warloards.