Guide to AAA Atlantic’s (Male and Female) – March/April ’23

Posted on March 29, 2023

Note*** VHG ties = a player has attended at least one (1) session since the this time last season, or has committed to play for one of our Spring Travel Teams

Brooklyn Jefford (Ice U18 Female)

U13AAA Male

Where: Paradise, NL (Host: Eastern Knights)

Schedule: Click Here

Teams: Eastern Knights (Host), Pictou County Crushers (NS Rep) , North West Bulls (NB Rep), Mid-Isle Matrix (PEI Rep), Eastern Hitmen (NL Rep)

Where to Watch:

VHG Ties: 4 on the Knights, 6 on the Hitmen

Overview: The host (Eastern Knights) did not limp into this event. The orange and blacks won the right to host the Atlantic’s this Winter, and followed that up with a Provincial title in convincing fashion just a few weeks ago. The Hitmen improved as the season went along, culminated by a birth in the Provincial final which qualified them for this event. The NW Bulls might be a surprise entry to some, as the NB East Aces finished the regular season at 27-0-3. The Pictou Crushers – if they are like any other Pictou team the past 50+ years – will be hard-working and well-coached. The Matrix – much like the Knights (Adrienne Shannahan) – will have a female defenceman on their roster (Maria Macpherson). It is difficult to extrapolate how teams will fare head-to-head with little to no experience playing one another; at the 2023 Spud, the Knights and Hitmen did not face any of the other provincial reps.

U13AAA Female

Where: Port Hawkesbury, NS (Host: Quad County Whitecaps)

Schedule: Click here

Teams: Eastern IceBreakers (NL Rep), Quad County Whitecaps (Host), Metro West Force Warriors (NS Rep), SEFHA Fury (NB Rep), Central Storm Black (PEI Rep)

Where to Watch:

VHG Ties: 9 on the ‘Breakers

Overview: It will be very interesting to see how the U13AAA Eastern IceBreakers fare at this event; the ‘Breakers have a great deal of size on the back end, lots of depth up front and 2 good goalies. This is the first-ever Female U13AAA Atlantic’s, which is a step forward in the continued growth of female hockey in Atlantic Canada. I have been to/played in a lot of Atlantic Canadian arenas but have never set foot in the Port Hawkesbury facility. I highly doubt that any of these teams – outside of the host and NS reps – have faced-off against one another this season.

U15AAA Male

Where: O’Leary, PEI (Host: Prince County Warriors)

Schedule: Click Here

Teams: Prince County Warriors (Host), Eastern Hitmen (NL Rep), The Gulls (NS rep), Eastern Express (PEI Rep), Fredericton Blues (NB Rep)

Where to Watch:

VHG Ties: 2 on the Gulls, 2 on the Blues, 13 on the Hitmen

Overview: Going into the Atlantic’s, the Gulls have to be the odds-on favourite. The Gulls won the IceJam, and finished 2nd at the Monctonian. The Gulls have beaten mostly everyone at this event, some in convincing fashion (the Gulls have not faced the Hitmen yet). That said, everyone has an identical record right now and what happened in January is out the window. The Hitmen will turn to stellar big-game net-minding from Willy Mo Morgan and Nate Leonard at this tournament, and will also lean heavily on their young guns; Rookie forward Ethan Jones finished with a point-per-game in the regular season and really shined at Provincials.

U15AAA Female

Where: The Thunder Valley (Anyone who played in the MHL in the early 2000’s will always call Woodstock the Thunder Valley)

Schedule: Click here

Teams: MW Force Citadels (NS Rep), The Rockets (NB Rep), Central Storm Black (PEI Rep), Western Phantoms (Host) , Western Warriors (NL Rep)

Where to Watch:

VHG Ties: 3 on the Warriors

Overview: The Western Warriors knocked off the Eastern IceBreakers in dramatic fashion at Provincials, and will look to build off that down in the Thunder Valley this weekend. Oh the memories of the Carleton Civic Centre; my first MHL game and my last MHL game were played in that stadium (I cried like a baby sitting over by one of the on-ice gates, tears are still there somewhere). I have absolutely no idea how good any of these teams are, but one thing that does stand out is the number of 2010’s lacing ’em up for the Western Phantoms. The host team will dress a grand total of six under-agers this weekend, which has to be some sort of tournament record for this age division.

U18AAA Male

Where: Fredericton, NB (Host: Fredericton Caps)

Schedule: Click here

Teams: Fredericton Caps (Host), Pinnacle Growlers (NL Rep), Charlottetown Knights (PEI Rep), Moncton Flyers (NB Rep), Weeks Majors (NS Rep)

VHG Ties: 1 on the Caps, 17 on the Growlers

Overview: I feel the Growlers have as good a chance at hoisting the Atlantic Championship as anybody. Last year, I felt that Moncton were just a stronger team than anyone else going in and that culminated in a National Championship. This year, there are lots of great teams but I don’t think there is a clear-cut favourite of the bunch. The ‘dogs will probably utilize their full bench like they have all year and will rely on a deep back-end with the Dawe brothers and company to keep things composed. Clay Ryan stood on his head at last years Atlantic’s, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he does it again in 2023.

U18AAA Female

Where: Membertou, NS (Host: Cape Breton Lynx)

Schedule: Click here

Teams: Cape Breton Lynx (Host), Tri-Pen Ice (NL Rep), Highland Selects (NS Rep), The Flames (NB Rep), Eastern Stars (PEI Rep)

VHG Ties: 6 on the Ice

Overview: The Tri-Pen Ice looked very good at Provincials; they looked like a team that was finally healthy, with all hands pulling in the same direction just a few short weeks ago. The Lynx and Selects have been battling it out all season – I have that game circled on my calendar to take a closer look at because the games between these two have been neck-and-neck all year. I have no clue what the Flames and Stars will bring to Membertou this weekend.

Other Sites to Pay Attention To

Atlantic Hockey Hub (Twitter @atlhockeyhub)

HockeyNL Web Site (click here)