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Lumberjacks Return to Bridgewater this Saturday in new league

By Evan Taylor Sep 21, 2023 | 11:36 AM

The home of the South Shore Lumberjacks, The LCLC in Bridgewater, NS. Photo: Evan Taylor


BRIDGEWATER, N.S. – Hockey enthusiasts in Bridgewater are celebrating the revival of a cherished tradition as the Lunenburg County Life and Style Centre (LCLC) proudly welcomes back the South Shore Lumberjacks, this time as a junior B team. The Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League (NSJHL) franchise made the shift from Liverpool to Bridgewater during the summer after the junior A Lumberjacks headed to Grand-Bouctouche, N.B., and rebranded themselves as the West Kent Steamers.

Save the date, hockey fans! South Shore’s home opener is scheduled for this Saturday, September 23, at 7 p.m., where they will face off against the Membertou Junior Miners at the LCLC. The Lumberjacks have already left their mark in their new surroundings, participating in a preseason game at the LCLC and making a memorable appearance in the South Shore Exhibition parade.

Head Coach Ryan Falkenham shared his enthusiasm about the team’s return to Bridgewater, commenting, “We saw an impressive turnout for our exhibition game, and it’s clear that people are thrilled to have a team here in Bridgewater. Junior B is gaining momentum, offering a balanced opportunity for players to manage their academics while competing in a high-quality league. We’re optimistic about the exciting season ahead.”

The Lumberjacks were originally slated to kick off their regular season with three games in Cape Breton, but the schedule was contingent on the impact of Hurricane Lee.

Returning to the team are several pivotal players who were part of the Liverpool Privateers team that hosted the Atlantic Canadian junior B championship last April. Captain Daniel Kline and top scorer Alec Howie are among the familiar faces. Falkenham also noted the return of forwards Joe Osborne and Dan LeBlanc.

On the defensive side, Falkenham mentioned, “We have four defensemen returning, which is a valuable asset. I’m confident that our defense core will provide a strong foundation for the team this year.” These returning defensemen include Nolan Greenlaw, Owen Osborne, John Shubaly, and hometown talent Aaron Lane.

Lane, who took a break from hockey before making a comeback with the Privateers last season, is poised to be a standout player in the league. Falkenham shared, “I believe he’ll be one of the top offensive defensemen in the league. He’s a Bridgewater native, so having that local connection on the roster is a great asset.”

The team is also injecting fresh talent into their roster, notably from the Park View Panthers, a prominent Division 1 high school program in the province. The Lumberjacks have selected Brennan Coleman and Cohen Westlake, both of whom were the top scorers in the Valley High School Hockey League last season and former teammates on the U18 major South Shore Mustangs.

Falkenham expressed his eagerness about these promising young talents, stating, “We’re genuinely excited about some of the younger players who’ve joined the team. In addition, we’ve been impressed by forward Mitchell MacIntosh and defenseman Liam Sylvester, both former captains of the Park View Panthers.”

As Falkenham, who previously served as an assistant coach, embarks on his first full season as head coach, he acknowledges the impact of influential coaches he has worked with in the past. He is committed to sharing his knowledge and experiences to lead the Lumberjacks to success in the junior B league.

Currently, the Lumberjacks are practicing in Halifax, where most of their players either work or attend university. The team is geared up for what promises to be an exhilarating season, as they continue to build on their storied hockey legacy in Bridgewater. With a blend of experienced veterans and promising young talents, fans can anticipate a thrilling season ahead as the Lumberjacks strive to make their presence felt in the NSJHL once more.