St. Stephen Aces Jr. A Hockey Club

Aces look to draft picks to solidify lineup

It’s already been a busy summer for the St. Stephen Aces as the Maritime Hockey League club has added veteran help behind the bench.

This weekend, the team looks to strengthen the on-ice aspect of the game at the 23rd Annual Maritime Hockey League Draft in Miramichi.

“We have our eye on some great players and a short list of players we hope to get in an Aces uniform,” said Head Coach and General Manager Josh Hepditch. “To be successful in this league you need to draft well.”

Entering the draft, St. Stephen holds the fifth and sixth overall picks along with one pick in each of the second, fourth, fifth and sixth rounds plus a territorial pick after each of the second and third rounds.

“We have five picks in the first three rounds that we are really excited about,” Hepditch said. “Obviously two in the first round are exciting picks.”

Hepditch and his staff, including new additions Phil Richer and Justin Bowers, are ready to adapt quickly around the draft table.

“The draft is an exciting time but you really need to be prepared and be on your toes as things can change in a hurry,” he said.

The Aces made the playoffs for the first time in the team’s three-year history last season. After being swept by the Miramichi Timberwolves in the opening round, Hepditch said the team is looking for more.

“We have a great core of players returning next year but we do have a few holes to fill,” he said.

In addition to the draft, this weekend’s activities include the league board of governors meetings as well as meetings between general managers and league executive. There will be a golf tournament on Friday afternoon, the QMJHL supplementary draft on Saturday morning then the announcement of the MHL’s final award winners.

The draft itself begins at 1pm on Saturday.