Cape Breton West Islanders Major Midget

History of the Cape Breton West Islanders

Cape Breton West Islanders

The Cape Breton West area has been host to a Major Midget Hockey Team since the 1995-96 hockey season and its franchises have a long and storied history. A group of hockey men from the “West” area, namely John Carl Gillies and Alex Chooch Mac Donald from Port Hood, Ross Ingraham from Margaree, Arnold Dithurbide from Cheticamp, Martin Bernard from Whycocomagh just to name a few, got together and applied to the NSMMHL  for a franchise to replace the “Nova Midgets” which had taken a leave of absence. The team was called “Rods’ One-Stop Eagles” after its original sponsor, Rod Goo-Goo who owned Rod’s One Stop in Whycocomagh. The team practiced out of the old Whycocomagh Arena but played their home games at six different arenas in the West coverage area. Neil Mac Donald from Cheticamp was the initial coach. The most prominent player from this era was Aaron Johnson who is currently enjoying a lengthy professional career.

Prior to the  2001-2002 season, the franchise went up for bids and moved to the Baddeck Arena, where they were re-named the Inverary Islanders. Scott MacAulay the owner of the Inverary Inn was the team sponsor. The most notable player during that time frame was Judigue native Andrew Mac Donald who is currently playing in the NHL with the Philadelphia Flyers.

In May of 2005, the team was put up for bids again and the Al MacInnis Sports Center under Manager Joe Morris and Arena President Brian Mac Innis were awarded the franchise and named the Cape Breton West Islanders. During their initial season led by Team President  Lester Cambell and Head Coach Craig Mac Innis, the Islanders finished first in league play, including recording an undefeated 25 game streak which is still in the record books. They lost a vicious 7 game series in the League Finals to the Dartmouth Subways. The team was led that year by Team Captain Kyle Duke Mac Donald and featured the high scoring line of Nick Mac Neil, Adam Laite and Willie Harvey. Murdock Mac Lellan a top forward anchored the Power Play and was a premier Penalty killer.

Since that initial season the Islanders have had three other head Coaches, Brian Mac Innis, Nick Muise and Sean Donovan. They also have had many Team Captains – 2005-06 Kyle “Duke” Mac Donald 06/07 Graham Decoste, 07/08 Marco Deveaux,08/09 Kendall Mac Innis, 09/10 Dale MacIntosh, 10/12 Brandon Mac Kinnon, 12/13 Regan Spears and from 2013-15 Alex Bonaparte.

The 2015-16 season will be the 11th season for the Islanders playing at the Al MacInnis Sports Center in Port Hood. Many fine young men have gone through the program, and the goal is to continue to provide that opportunity to all the aspiring young players in the “West” coverage area.