Londesborough native turns heads in Las Vegas tournament - Jan. 11, 2018
BY DENNY SCOTT
Londesborough native and Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League (CPJHL) Seaforth Generals player Ethan Scrimgeour recently got the call to compete at the 2017-2018 Western States Hockey League Shootout Showcase in Las Vegas.
Scrimgeour was picked up by the Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League (CPJHL) Red team, one of two select teams from the league put together to compete at the tournament.
The event ran from Dec. 19 to Dec. 22 and Scrimgeour’s team faced off against competition from the western United States and beyond.
“The players are from all over the world,” Scrimgeour said. “There were Swedish players, a ton from the United States and a lot of local players from the CPJHL. It was a really diverse group.”
Scrimgeour said there were players at the tournament from Great Britain and some who had taken part in the recent IIHF World U20 Championship.
The tough competition resulted in the CPJHL Red team not being able to post a win, however each game was close.
“We lost 6-3 against the West Sound Warriors, 1-0 against the Ontario [California] Avalanche and they scored in the last 12 seconds, 2-1 against the Lake Tahoe Icemen in overtime and 4-3 against the Seattle Totems,” he said. “It was very competitive hockey.”
Scrimgeour said he wasn’t slated to play on the CPJHL Red team, but he was picked up by coach Sylvain Cloutier who also coaches the Essa Stallions, a team the Generals face off against in the CPJHL.
“I was a last-minute addition,” Scrimgeour said. “The team needed a player and the head coach [Cloutier] asked my Dad if I would play. It was a last-minute decision, but it all worked out in the end.”
Sylvain Cloutier may be a name familiar to hockey fans as he was drafted by the Detroit Red Wings in the 1992 NHL Entry Draft, eventually joining the Chicago Blackhawks several years later. He also played for the Guelph Storm in the OHL from 1991 to 1994 where he served as Captain.
Scrimgeour joined fellow Generals John Buckley and Travis Sloan, alongside players from across the league for the tournament. At 16 years old, he was the youngest player on the CPJHL Red team and possibly the youngest at the tournament. The experience was a unique one, Scrimgeour said, adding that playing for the Generals has also been an eye-opening experience.
The CPJHL is not a part of the Ontario Minor Hockey Association and is instead sanctioned under the United Hockey Union. With the exception of a team from Pennsylvania, the league is all-Canadian.
“It’s a good league, and a competitive one,” Scrimgeour said. “The level of hockey is the same as any Junior team and I’m really enjoying myself.”
Scrimgeour said he wasn’t interested in playing minor hockey this year and, after going out for a few practices with the Generals, he said he was hooked on the style of hockey and the style of camaraderie the club provides.
“I’ve made a ton of friends in the local community and you get the experience of those long bus rides,” he said. “You spend time with your teammates, get to know each other better and get to be a better team because of it. It’s a good opportunity and I’m glad I took advantage of it.”
The team practises three times a week in Seaforth, and depending on the weekend, could play one to three games between Friday and Sunday night.
“The CPJHL has really changed my opinion on where I want to play,” Scrimgeour said. “I was looking at Junior C or Junior B, but I’m considering this instead. It’s connected to the U.S. hockey programs, which helps with scholarships there. I haven’t decided where I’m going to play next year, but the experience with the Generals has made it a serious option for me again next year.”
The Generals are currently fourth in their division with seven wins over 27 games. The squad next takes on the Essa Stallions in Seaforth on Jan. 14. The puck drops at 7:30 p.m.