(FREDERICTON, NB) The UNB Varsity Reds have drawn on talent from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for decades, so it makes sense that the Varsity Reds would partner with two of the League’s teams to present a pre-season game.
The Varsity Reds will present QMJHL pre-season action featuring the Moncton Wildcats and Saint John Sea Dogs on Thursday, September 14th, at 7:00pm, at the Aitken University Centre.
“The Varsity Reds have strong ties to both of these teams,” says Varsity Reds Marketing and Special Events Manager Nick Zildjan. “In fact, eight current members of the UNB men’s hockey team are proud Wildcats’ or Sea Dogs’ alum. Those ties run deep here.”
Varsity Reds forwards Chris Caissy and Mark Simpson, along with goaltender Alex Dubeau, are former Wildcats. Forwards Mike Thomas, Oliver Cooper and Stephen Anderson, along with defenceman Matt Murphy and incoming recruit Olivier LeBlanc are former Sea Dogs. Both Thomas and LeBlanc were team captains in Saint John.
“The Sea Dogs and Wildcats, like every other major junior team, groom players for the next level,” says Zildjan. “For some, that’s pro hockey. For others, it’s the university game. We’ll be seeing players who might just be future Varsity Reds.”
"We are so pleased to bring this rivalry to our great fans in the Fredericton region," said Sea Dogs President and General Manager Trevor Georgie. "We have been fortunate to have players from this area become captains and key contributors to our success over our history, and there is a strong Sea Dogs flavour to the Varsity Reds' roster as well.”
The game will mark the return of Josh Hepditch to the Aitken Centre.
Hepditch, recently named an assistant coach in Moncton, won three national championships while playing with the Varsity Reds from 2006 until 2011. He also spent four seasons as a player with the Wildcats.
The timing of this pre-season game couldn’t be better for Fredericton-area hockey fans. It’s one of the final pre-season games for both teams, which means they’ll be icing line-ups that will closely resemble those they’ll ice once the regular season begins.
“The teams will be almost complete,” says Roger Shannon, the Wildcats’ Director of Hockey Operations. “It’ll be as close to a regular season game as you can get during the final preparations of the exhibition season.”
Georgie echoes Shannon’s sentiment
"Fans will see a roster that closely resembles our regular season lineup, and that's exciting for us.”
Shannon is pleased to be bringing the Wildcats back to UNB and the Aitken Centre.
“We’re happy to bring another game to Fredericton. This marks the fifth time for me, including our playoff game, back in 2014, which was a complete success and sell-out.”
While each team has played games at the Aitken Centre previously, this will be the first time they’ve faced off against each other in New Brunswick’s capital city.
Tickets for the game go on sale at 10:00am Friday, August 18th, on-line at: www.vreds.ca
In person sales begin Monday, August 21st, at the Aitken Centre box office, at 11:00am.
Tickets will cost $12 for adults and $10 for seniors, students and youth.
The Varsity Reds are offering free tickets to this game as well.
When they combine the purchase of a Varsity Reds Season Pass and a 2018 Cavendish Farms University Cup Tournament Pass, before September 8th, fans will get a free ticket to the game between the Sea Dogs and Wildcats.
That offer is available while supplies last.