SUMMERSIDE, P.E.I. —
Usually in sports activities, it’s the story behind a journey that’s fascinating.
A working example is Justin Ertel’s signing with the Summerside D. Alex MacDonald Ford Western Capitals of the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL).
At first look, this can be a 17-year-old seeking to capitalize on a possibility to additional his hockey profession.
However with COVID-19 restrictions in place, it stays unknown when Ertel will debut with the Caps, who haven’t performed a recreation since Nov. 21 and are 3-1-1 (won-lost-overtime losses).
This a lot is thought, although – Ertel’s journey to Summerside was paved by way of connections between his household and Caps head coach Billy McGuigan relationship again to the Nineteen Nineties.
“That’s how the hockey world works,” mentioned McGuigan, a former main junior and minor professional participant. “While you play 4, 5 or 6 years somewhere else, there are 20 gamers on each group, and also you make 20 contacts and extra with every group. It’s nice to have contacts in all places.”
Affiliation with household
McGuigan started his affiliation with the Ertel household when he joined the Ontario Hockey League’s Kitchener Rangers as a participant in the course of the 1994-95 season. Justin’s grandfather, Bob Ertel, was the Rangers normal supervisor on the time.
Additionally, within the mid-Nineteen Nineties, Justin’s father, Tyler Ertel, performed three seasons with the Charlottetown-based UPEI Panthers and have become pals with McGuigan, a Charlottetown native.
“I used to be away enjoying professional (when Tyler Ertel was enjoying at UPEI), and once I would come residence, I’d skate and hang around with the blokes at UPEI within the spring and fall,” mentioned McGuigan.
“Tyler and I grew to become pals, and that was 25 years in the past. We shared a number of laughs and a number of enjoyable over a couple of years and have stayed pals.
“We’ve got stored involved ever since main as much as about three months in the past after we actually began speaking about Justin. It was a name or textual content each week.”
Justin mentioned he’s lucky “for my dad and my grandpa to have these connections”.
The youthful Ertel will full his 14-day self-isolation in Summerside this week and is wanting ahead to beginning to skate with the Capitals.
As well as, the historical past between the Ertel and McGuigan households will proceed past the rink as Justin will transfer in with McGuigan and his household in Summerside as soon as his 14-day self-isolation concludes this week.
As a result of a later-than-normal begin and pauses within the 2020-21 regular-season schedule, the Maritime Junior Hockey League (MHL) has introduced an extension of the commerce deadline.
The commerce deadline, which is historically Jan. 10, has been moved to Feb. 25.
The 12-team league is at the moment on pause resulting from COVID-19.
At six-foot-two and 190 kilos, Ertel describes himself as an influence ahead who tries to capitalize on his dimension.
“I wish to use my offensive means at any time when our group has the puck,” mentioned Ertel, a local of Mississauga, Ont. “I wish to make performs and try to make my teammates higher.
“I wish to try to put the puck within the web and try to contribute to the group.”
Ertel involves the Caps from St. Andrew’s School in Aurora, Ont. Final season, Ertel put up spectacular numbers with St. Andrew’s in two completely different leagues. He had 93 factors, together with 40 targets, in 56 regular-season video games within the CAHS, and registered 11 targets and 27 factors in 12 regular-season contests within the CISAA.
Ertel has dedicated to attend Cornell College and play NCAA Division 1 faculty hockey.
Caps normal supervisor Pat McIver mentioned it’s thrilling so as to add a younger prospect like Ertel.
“He’s an offensive participant,” mentioned McIver. “He’s very, very expert. He has good dimension. We expect he’s going to be a well-rounded participant.
“He’s coming from an awesome hockey program, they usually end up good gamers there on a regular basis. We really feel we’re getting an all-around good participant and are wanting ahead to seeing his ability.”
Ertel is assured he can have a easy transition to the junior A degree. He famous he has at all times skilled with older gamers.
“It’s going to be a giant step for hockey,” he mentioned. “I’m attempting to not change an excessive amount of however nonetheless have that confidence in my recreation.”
Ertel is eligible and has been attracting some curiosity for the 2021 Nationwide Hockey League Entry Draft.
McGuigan mentioned he has spoken to some NHL scouts, who’ve informed him Ertel is unquestionably on the radar of groups.
“We’re getting an actual good character child who’s poised,” mentioned McGuigan. “He’s going to be a superb addition to our hockey membership.”
The Capitals additionally just lately introduced the acquisition of 18-year-old forwards Mark Hillier and Cole Galata from the British Columbia Hockey League’s Surrey Eagles.
In return, the Eagles obtain future concerns, which is commonly money.
Hillier and Galata performed final 12 months with the recently-acquired Justin Ertel and fashioned arguably one of many high traces with Aurora, Ont.-based St. Andrew’s School in North American faculty hockey.
“We’re excited so as to add Mark and Cole (together with Justin) to our lineup,” mentioned Caps normal supervisor Pat McIver. “They performed collectively final 12 months and (as a line) had over 300 factors.
“We stay up for seeing that chemistry carry over to our group right here in Summerside.”
The six-foot-one Hillier is from Labrador Metropolis, N.L. He had 112 factors, together with 52 targets, in 56 video games with St. Andrew’s School final season.
Galata, who stands five-foot-11, registered 32 targets and 101 factors in 54 video games in the course of the 2019-20 marketing campaign.
Hillier and Galata arrived on P.E.I. Tuesday. They may be part of the Caps as soon as they full their 14-day quarantine.