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Coming full circle

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GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR, NL – A 1998 trip to Eagle Haven Lodge for the Royal Canadian Sea Cadet Corps 67 Windsor led to a great surprise almost 20 years later for Tony Paul.

Wearing a red Bauer helmet and matching Easton gloves, he gripped a wooden Sherwood 5030 stick. His equipment meticulously matched his red and black Weeks Major Midgets jersey with a ‘C’ planted on the left side of his chest.

The caption, “Funny.. Some things come full circle.”

On Wednesday morning, the 25-year-old MacLennan was officially announced as the head coach of the same midget team he captained nearly a decade ago.

“It’s a pretty good feeling,” MacLennan said. “I never once thought back then that I’d be in this position. You never think of coaching when you’re still playing the game.”

MacLennan spent six years with the Pictou County Weeks program, with two years at each the bantam, midget and junior A levels. A stay-at-home defenceman, MacLennan then spent four seasons with the University of New England in the NCAA’s third division.

Coming back to his home in New Glasgow after graduation, he launched MacLennan Elite Sports Performance – a training facility in line with his exercise science major at university.

He also began coaching, first as an assistant with the Scotsburn Bantam Crushers, then as a strength and conditioning coach with the junior Crushers. Last season, MacLennan became an assistant coach with the Midgets club and extended his strength and conditioning gig to include the St. Francis-Xavier men’s team.

The Weeks club finished second last in the Nova Scotia Major Midget League with a 13-20-0-1 record last season, missing the playoffs and ending its season early. The team lost eight players at season’s end, and will look to new bantam recruits to fill the spaces.

MacLennan said he isn’t in the business of making promises, but he has an early idea of how the team will shape up next year.

“We’re going to have a strong defensive presence, take care of our own end first and hit hard, but it’s not going to come easy,” he said. “But I guarantee one thing, we’ll never be outworked.”

Looking at the photo of a 17-year-old kid wielding a lumber twig and donning the ‘C’, MacLennan thinks back to his time as a young player coming up through the Pictou County Weeks system.

“My childhood was so consumed by hockey and it was such a great experience, surrounded by such good coaches and teammates,” he said. “Looking at that photo, I just want the chance to give kids the same resources I had.”

Wearing a red Bauer helmet and matching Easton gloves, he gripped a wooden Sherwood 5030 stick. His equipment meticulously matched his red and black Weeks Major Midgets jersey with a ‘C’ planted on the left side of his chest.

The caption, “Funny.. Some things come full circle.”

On Wednesday morning, the 25-year-old MacLennan was officially announced as the head coach of the same midget team he captained nearly a decade ago.

“It’s a pretty good feeling,” MacLennan said. “I never once thought back then that I’d be in this position. You never think of coaching when you’re still playing the game.”

MacLennan spent six years with the Pictou County Weeks program, with two years at each the bantam, midget and junior A levels. A stay-at-home defenceman, MacLennan then spent four seasons with the University of New England in the NCAA’s third division.

Coming back to his home in New Glasgow after graduation, he launched MacLennan Elite Sports Performance – a training facility in line with his exercise science major at university.

He also began coaching, first as an assistant with the Scotsburn Bantam Crushers, then as a strength and conditioning coach with the junior Crushers. Last season, MacLennan became an assistant coach with the Midgets club and extended his strength and conditioning gig to include the St. Francis-Xavier men’s team.

The Weeks club finished second last in the Nova Scotia Major Midget League with a 13-20-0-1 record last season, missing the playoffs and ending its season early. The team lost eight players at season’s end, and will look to new bantam recruits to fill the spaces.

MacLennan said he isn’t in the business of making promises, but he has an early idea of how the team will shape up next year.

“We’re going to have a strong defensive presence, take care of our own end first and hit hard, but it’s not going to come easy,” he said. “But I guarantee one thing, we’ll never be outworked.”

Looking at the photo of a 17-year-old kid wielding a lumber twig and donning the ‘C’, MacLennan thinks back to his time as a young player coming up through the Pictou County Weeks system.

“My childhood was so consumed by hockey and it was such a great experience, surrounded by such good coaches and teammates,” he said. “Looking at that photo, I just want the chance to give kids the same resources I had.”

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