Thursday, August 6, 2009

New Captain, Alternates and Audio

(Paul Mailey taking on all comers - Photo Randy Emery)

I've received lots of positive feedback today in my e-mail to Paul Mailey being named the new Captain of the Smoke Eaters. Mailey is the sixth local player to wear the C for the BCHL Smokies. He follows the legacy left by Corey Bell, Dallas Stanton, Brandon Gawryletz, Jon Hanley and Kevin Limbert. Thanks to Randy Emery for that info and as always his terrific photos. The Greater Trail region has always produced that hard working, blue collar type of player that lends itself to team leadership. Of course last year's Captain Ryan Bulach may as well have been from Trail given the way he played the game and conducted himself.

Mailey is an excellent choice for a number of reasons. As I mention in both interviews he's not as vocal as a guy like Sean Nugent, but he's someone who has earned the respect of the team over three BCHL seasons. He's been a Smoke Eater since he was 16 and grew up learning what that was all about. Mailey is also someone who works as hard or harder than anyone on the team. He has good grades, is in great shape and continues to improve as a player every year. You can see that from the increases in his point totals.

(Mailey and Jeff Zmurchyk sign autographs)

Now is also a good time to make him Captain because he is certainly expected to step up and be one of Trail's best players this season. He'll need to bring his offensive game up even another notch this year the way that Bulach did last season as Captain. Mailey was an alternate last year and knows what it takes to be part of the leadership core. He's played under three great Captains in Alex Greenlay, Limbert and Bulach. I think he'll do a terrific job.

I had a chance to talk to Coach Jim Ingram and Mailey himself about the selection. Ingram also discusses Patrik Martin's commitment to Simon Fraser University (more on that tomorrow with Martin and Jeff Dubois) and naming two of Mailey's alternate captains.

Jim Ingram on Captains

Click here to download

Paul Mailey

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(Brown with an intense look - Photo Randy Emery)

The Ingram interview also let the cat out of the bag on Trail's new alternate captains. He only named two of them and will leave a spot open for training camp. Trail's Justin Brown certainly follows in the footsteps of past local leaders. He receives a lot of comparisons to Kevin Limbert because of his excellence academically and commitment to fitness. Brown was a rookie in the league last year who wasn't a lock to make the team. He took that spot and became a leader as a 17 year old. Brown also has the potential to become one of the better two way players in the league. There's no question in my mind that he's a future Captain.

(Nugent shows his brute force - Photo Randy Emery)

The other alternate is a no brainer in my view. Sean Nugent was a 19 year old rookie last season, but you wouldn't know it by the respect he commanded. Nugent will tell guys when they have to pick up their game... and if they dont, he might just rip their heads off. He can do that because he's one of the hardest workers out there himself. Listen to the interview with Coach Ingram to get some insight into that. Nugent doesn't get an off season as he goes right from hockey to lacrosse. That's part of what makes him as tough as he is. However, he makes the effort to do all the little things on the ice too. This isn't just a goon. He's a player that I think is capable of scoring 20 goals while being a huge physical presence for his team.

As for that third alternate spot... there is no shortage of possibilities. From veterans like Nick Sandor, Riley Loyst and Colin Lidster to someone that may not even be pencilled in for the roster yet. With Mailey, Brown and Nugent in place there is already no question the team will have a terrific leadership core in place. They're examples of hard work on and off the ice. Performance, practice, fitness and academics... you don't get much better than these three.

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