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Yarmouth Mariners Sept. 13 season opener to honour league championship

The Yarmouth Mariners went 12-2 in the playoffs to claim the inaugural Canadian Tire Cup as champions of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. This is coach Laurie Barron’s third time as a coach at the Fred Page Cup, but his first as head coach.
The Yarmouth Mariners went 12-2 in the playoffs to claim the inaugural 2018-2019 Canadian Tire Cup as champions of the Maritime Junior Hockey League. TREVOR MCNALLY PHOTO
YARMOUTH, N.S. —

The Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners kick off the start to the 2019-2020 regular season with two games at home this weekend and their season opener be a special one for another big reason.

The reigning MHL league champions will host the Truro Bearcats for their season opener on Friday, Sept. 13 but there will be some important business to look after before the puck drops. The Mariners will be holding a ring ceremony and will be unveiling their division and league championship banners at the home opener. Look for things to get underway around 7:25 p.m.

The last and only other time the Mariners won the league championship was in 2008 in six games over the Woodstock Slammers. Yarmouth came close to winning the league championship again over the Slammers in 2012 when the Mariners lost a heartbreaker in triple overtime in Game 7.

Head coach and Mariners general manager Laurie Barron says the ceremonies on Friday evening will be a great way to kick off the 2019-2020 season and he adds that some players who were part of the championship team, but are no longer on the team due to their age, will be present.

 “It’s going to be a great night, getting to see former players that were so vital to our success," says Barron, talking about how some of last year's graduating players contributed to the Mariners championship title. "Andrew Martell led the playoffs in goals. (There was) Chris Goreham’s leadership and quarterbacks on the power play. Brett Crossley who from day one brought leadership both on and off the ice. Connor Peveril, our glue guy who scored the franchises biggest goal” Barron says. Peveril picked up the loose puck in overtime and scored in Game 4 of the league final against the Campbellton Tigers, giving the Mariners the win, the sweep and the Canadian Tire Cup title.

“Every player who wore the jersey last season had a special part of our success,” says Barron.  “Let’s celebrate last season and get a close up look at the newest Mariners.” (Scroll down to see the season roster as it looks heading into the season.)

Barron will be once again joined on the bench by assistant coaches John Murphy and David Leddicote.

There are a lot of new faces on the team this year, given that eight players graduated at the end of last season and there were other trade transactions during the pre-season and while training camp was underway. There are seven returning players who were part of the regular season last year, along with a couple of affiliate players who this year are part of the regular roster.

Both goalies are new to the team this year: Griffin Kelly and Justin Sumarah.

Asked during the pre-season whether this was a rebuilding year, Barron referred to it as more of a retooling year.

The Mariners previously announced that veteran player Matt Barron, who will be playing his fifth season with the team, will be captain. Barron lead the team in scoring last season and was also the MHL’s playoff MVP. This is Barron’s fifth season with the team.

“I feel very honoured to be named captain of the team I grew up watching and admiring,” he said when given the ‘C.’ “I’ve been lucky enough to have several great captains over the last four years and have been able to learn so much over that span. I’m really looking forward to leading this team and being someone the players and coaches can lean on.”

Barron is from Yarmouth and grew up playing minor hockey here. The Mariners have other local connections on their roster this year, including returning defenseman Kaleb Boudreau and forwards Ben Charles and Ryan Semple, all from Yarmouth County. Another player on D, Brendan Sibley, has ties to Clare.

The Mariners have two home games this open weekend. On Saturday evening they host the Miramichi Timberwolves. The puck drops for that game at 7:30 p.m.

The Mariners played three exhibition games in the pre-season, winning all three. Two exhibition road games the team was later to play couldn’t go ahead as scheduled due to hurricane/tropical storm Dorian. The weather and power outages both played factors.

The second weekend of the regular season will feature a rematch of the 2018-19 Canadian Tire Cup Final as the defending MHL Canadian Cup champion Yarmouth Mariners host the Campbellton Tigers on Sept. 20.

Fans will also see a new team name at the Mariners Centre this season as this will be the first season for the Fredericton Red Wings. Fredericton joined the league following a franchise purchase of the St. Stephen Aces after last’s year season. The Mariners will host Fredericton on Nov. 23 but their first meeting will be when they face the Red Wings on the road Sept. 27.

The MHL has moved to a balanced 52-game schedule for its 53rd season, up from 50 games last season, with a total of 312 regular season games. Each of the league’s 12 teams will play 26 home and away games, with one home and away game against every opponent in the opposite division and four home and away games against every team in their own division.

The MHL last played 52 regular season games in 2013-14.

The night before their season opener the Mariners players and coach Laurie Barron once again took part in the annual Walk Against Bullying Walk that is organized each year in Yarmouth to draw awareness to the issue of bullying. This was the 8th year for the walk.

The 2019 Walk Against Bullying in Yarmouth held on Sept. 12. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
The 2019 Walk Against Bullying in Yarmouth held on Sept. 12. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

The 2019 Walk Against Bullying in Yarmouth  held on Sept. 12. The Mariners once again took part. Also walking with them was Natalie Barron – the daughter of head coach Laurie Barron and sister of Mariners player Matthew Barron. TINA COMEAU PHOTO
The 2019 Walk Against Bullying in Yarmouth held on Sept. 12. The Mariners once again took part. Also walking with them was Natalie Barron – the daughter of head coach Laurie Barron and sister of Mariners player Matthew Barron. TINA COMEAU PHOTO

How the Yarmouth Mariners 2019-2020 roster looks heading into the regular season MHL opener.
How the Yarmouth Mariners 2019-2020 roster looks heading into the regular season MHL opener.

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