Decision made, Leafs Colton McCarthy off to Moose Jaw

first_imgMaida didn’t want to speculate on how the Leafs would replace McCarthy’s scoring.“To me losing Colton just gives someone else on the team the opportunity to step up and fill that spot,” Maida explained.McCarthy attended the Warriors camp.Moose Jaw management wanted McCarthy to stay, but the skillful sniper felt it was better to develop his game at the junior B level.Then in early November the Warriors put in a call to McCarthy to play for the WHL club during a three-game road trip to Medicine Hat, Calgary and Cranbrook to play the Kootenay Ice.Those three games have McCarthy confident the transition wouldn’t be that bumpy.“It was a great experience to play those games,” said McCarthy, with 20 goals and 10 assists in 25 games.“While I think it may take a couple of games to get comfortable, once I’m there I know I’ll be fine.”Leaf fans get one more chance to see their star in action Saturday when the Leafs host the Kimberley Dynamiters.One more opportunity to see the rookie weave his magic on the ice at the NDCC Arena before leaving for the bright lights of Tier I Junior A.“It was a hard decision,” McCarthy confessed.“I had to think about it a lot before I finally decided this was the right time to go to Moose Jaw.”It’s tough to leave Nelson but hopefully the guys get to the Cyclone (Taylor Cup, Junior B Hockey Championship) and do really well there.”And hopefully their teammate shows what Leaf hockey is all about in the Dub. Fans watching Colton McCarthy weave his way through the Grand Forks defence before setting up teammate Colton Schell for Nelson’s first goal during Wednesday’s 4-1 win at the NDCC Arena may want to file that image into their memory banks.Because there may not be very many more spectacular plays coming from the 16-year-old Salmon Arm rookie in a Green and White jersey after McCarthy accepted an offer to join the Moose Jaw Warriors of the Western Hockey League.McCarthy leaves Sunday for the prairies to begin his Tier I Junior Hockey career.“The Moose Jaw GM (Alan Millar) phoned me up Friday while I was in school and told me they’d like to call me up for the rest of the year,” McCarthy said before Thursday’s Leaf practice at the NDCC Arena.“While I’m very excited with the offer I’m sad that I’ll have to leave the boys here in Nelson. . . . I love it here.”McCarthy has been everything Leaf head coach Frank Maida could hope for in a rookie.His gifted hands have made him a threat to score whenever he’s been on the ice.The 6-foot, 170-pound center scored twice in his first game as a junior, and tallied in five of the first six games.McCarthy is second in goals scored in entire KIJHL — two behind Spencer Samuel of Revelstoke — and has scored in 14 of Nelson’s 29 games.“My first concern is this the right move for Colton, but that’s our goal as an organization, to develop players for the next level,” said Leaf coach Frank Maida, who last season saw sniper Patrick Martens leave the hockey team for the BCHL midway through the season.“We’ve always move players up to Junior A, but I don’t think we’ve seen one go to the WHL.”last_img

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