ST. STEPHEN – A local school team and student athlete were winners of New Brunswick Interscholastic Athletic Association awards recently.
The Fundy Middle and High School girls’ hockey team was recognized with the team sportsmanship of the year award for the southern conference.
Coach Meghan Wilcox said 15 students from grades 8 through 12 comprised their squad.
“We were in total shock when we received the information that we were nominated and received this award,” she said. “We had such an amazing group of girls, and they were so positive, so to get recognized for our southern conference it’s really amazing. We played a lot of teams, and a lot of other teams came to us and said how amazing the attitudes our girls had on the ice and off the ice. Our girls are always laughing and having a lot of fun, whether it’s on the bench or right before the game in the dressing room. Right after the games, our girls are seen laughing and smiling.”
Wilcox said the team was young and inexperienced.
“Our girls worked really hard. We had 15 players on our team this year and we had seven girls who had never played hockey before, so it was exciting to have them come out and try and fall in love with hockey,” she said. “We had six players who played before, we had six players who were in middle school, so that makes our team really young, which is amazing. We’re going to grow and develop these players. We had two brand new goalies, so that’s always amazing to find new goalies.”
Although the team did not win a game, Wilcox said her team steadily improved throughout the season.
“We didn’t go out expecting to win games, we knew that this was going to be a year to develop our players and start to develop our program,” she noted. “Our team made leaps and bounds throughout the season. We celebrated the little things and the little milestones that we had, and the small victories that we accomplished and wanted our girls to accomplish. Our girls were always positive no matter what the score was. We really had an amazing group of girls, and they did not get down on themselves no matter what the score was.”
Noting that she is returning behind the bench next year, Wilcox expects the team will improve.
“We have already been talking to some girls who are younger who are coming up through and trying to recruit new players already for next year,” she said. “We have big plans for next year and we only hope to have another amazing season with the girls next year.”
A physical education teacher at Fundy Middle and High School for the past five years, Wilcox coached gymnastics and soccer for 15 years. She has been coaching hockey for three years, and this was her first year coaching high school hockey.
“I volunteer to coach because I love the sports and I really want to share that love for the sports with the girls,” she stated. “We just want to make sure our girls enjoy the sport and love the sport.”
Josh McCallum, of St. Stephen High School, earned the AA boys Raymond Légère Excellence Award for the southern conference.
“It’s based on sportsmanship, leadership, excellence in the sport; so, my ability to perform and just being a good sport to my teammates, coaches, referees and to opponents,” he said. “It’s pretty nice to get it. I know there’s only been a few people from my school that have gotten the award. It’s just pretty cool to be one of them that got it. I never expected to get it, it wasn’t my goal to go play and get it. I was kind of surprised, but I’m pretty proud.”
McCallum served as the captain of the rugby, football and hockey teams for the past two years, volunteered in the community, was the student of the month for November at the high school, and maintained a 95 per cent academic average.
“I’m doing pretty well in all my classes,” he said. “Throughout playing sports, we do a lot of volunteering. Recently I just helped to clear out the bottom of the world’s oldest basketball court. A few guys on the team, we did some labour there, helped them clear out the basement of it. We do different things. We help bag groceries at the grocery stores.”
In 28 games for the boys’ hockey squad, McCallum led his team with 39 points (27 goals and 12 assists) and had only 12 penalty minutes. He scored 18 touchdowns as a running back in just six games for the football team, and his side recently finished second at Rugby Fest.
“Both my wingers were really good at feeding me the puck,” said McCallum. “My (football) coaches told me I carried the ball, probably close to 80 per cent of the time. We were very young and inexperienced, so they relied on the running game because I’ve been on the team for four years.”
The Grade 12 student committed to Bishop’s University and will be a running back for the Gators in the Atlantic University Sport conference this coming season.
“I’m taking a Bachelor of Arts in business and math,” said McCallum. “I am excited. I can’t wait, I’m a little nervous too but I think it’ll be fun.”