The Westport Rideaus are off to a sizzling start in the Central Canada Tier 2 Junior Hockey League.
The Rideaus sport a 7-1 record and currently sit atop of the Richardson Division with 14 points.
“We’re off to a hot start and looking pretty good right now,” said Rideaus captain Blake Kettyle.
The 20-year-old forward from Perth is back for his fourth and final year of junior hockey. He led the club in scoring last season with 80 points in just 43 games.
“We’ve got a great mix of veterans and some talented newcomers,” added Kettyle.
“The rookies are so much fun to watch. They know how to play the game. Everybody works hard in practice and it shows the games. Hard work is a big reason for the team’s quick start.”
The CCHL2 has become more of a development league in recent years and the Rideaus have some of the best young talent in the region.
“We’ve brought in some really good kids from the Smiths Falls Under-18 program,” said Mike Seed, the club’s coach and general manager.
Seed has three players on his roster who were drafted by teams in the Ontario Hockey League.
“We’ve got Owen Watson and Sean James from the Kingston Frontenacs and goaltender Patrick Leaver from the Oshawa Generals,” added Seed.
“Our job is to bring these kids along and if they don’t make it to the OHL they have other opportunities like the NCAA or U-Sport scholarships.”
Another talented youngster on the Rideaus roster is 17-year-old Tye Carswell.
“This is a great place to play and develop,” said Carswell, a Gananoque native.
“Were off to a great start,” Carswell added.
“The rookies have played a key role in our success but we’ve got some talented 20-year-old’s like Blake Kettyle, Brock Boisclair, Griffen Patterson and Matthew Seed. This is a good team. We believe we have the horses to win a league championship.”
The Rideaus next contest is Friday night against their closest rivals, the Athens Aeros. Game time is 8 p.m at the Westport Community Centre.