By Laine Sedore
A small town junior hockey team located just outside of Belleville is producing a lot of talent.
Just recently, the Wellington Dukes had three of their players named to the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects game in Winnipeg Dec, 7 and 8. The game will feature elite junior hockey players from across the country.
Defenceman Curtis Leonard wasn’t an original pick for the team but when one of the players selected got injured he got the call to go.
“I’m pretty excited, at first I didn’t really get the invite and then I think someone got injured or something and I was the first substitute, it kind of caught me by surprise and I’m really excited to show my stuff,” Leonard says.
The Wellington Dukes, who play in the Ontario Junior Hockey League one level lower than the OHL, sit first in their division. The team’s record is 19-3 on the season.
“As a team we’ve been playing really good,” said forward Brian Bunnett , who was named player of the month in the Ontario Junior Hockey League along with being named to the Prospects game. “In the month of November I think we’ve gone 9 and 2.
“We had a little lapse earlier in the month but we’re focused now. I think we’ve won like eight or nine in a row. Everyone is just following the game plan and we’re playing really good together.”
Darcy Greenaway, a forward for the Dukes, was also named to the Prospects game. Greenaway thinks this will bring him a lot of opportunities.
“ There are definitely playing opportunities just going to the game, there’s going to be a lot of NHL central scouting guys there and schools for the States as well so it should be exciting,” says Greenaway.
Leonard, Bunnett, and Greenaway all have one goal in common. They all plan to play hockey after the Dukes, preferably for a Division One NCAA team in the United States.
“ Hopefully I can get an NCAA Division One scholarship somewhere in the States and that would be my dream that would be awesome,” Leonard says.
Assistant coach Todd Reid says he wasn’t surprised his players made the Prospects game. He says it starts from the top with Head Coach and General Manger Marty Abrams.
“ He’s a good judge of talent, a great GM and great coach and he brought some guys in here, some local guys and some guys from out of town that can play.” says Reid. “They’re great kids, they work hard every practice every game and they obviously have got a lot of talent and it’s been recognized and noticed by other people. It says a lot about the organization and those three kids and we’re really proud of them.”