Eskasoni Eagles are promoted in the NS Junior Hockey League

A Cap Breton team is celebrating a historic year for its players.

The Eskasoni Eagles finished the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League regular season with four players topping the league’s scoring charts. All four are also Mi’kmaq.

“This is very historic for us,” said team president and Eskasoni boss Leroy Denny.

Eagles players named as top scorers are Sonny Kabatay, Marcellus Francis, Dante Basque and Jacob Denny.

Kabatay — the Eagles’ team captain — also ranked third among the league’s all-time leading scorers during the regular season. Kabatay had 42 goals and 50 assists for a total of 92 points in 30 games.

write history

Kabatay was just four points short of breaking the league’s highest record of 96 points in a single season.

“We are very proud of Sonny and everything he has done,” said Eagles general manager Alyssia Jeddore.

“The coaching staff have really talked about him and all that he brings to our dressing room. He brings a sense of leadership that has helped our team tremendously throughout the season.”

Jeddore said the Eagles are the first Indigenous franchise within the NSJHL. The team is based in Eskasoni, NS and almost half of its players are Indigenous.

Jeddore said a team at Eskasoni helped develop local talent and foster a sense of community.

Best season so far

“One of the main reasons we felt it was important to join the league was to create opportunities for local players and Indigenous youth,” Jeddore said.

“I feel like we’ve gotten stronger and better over the years. This has been our best season yet and our team has really grown.”

NSJHL President Heather Campbell said the Eagles have made steady progress over the past five years.

“They get really good viewers and fans travel with them to watch games,” Campbell said. “The community really supports them.”

Campbell said that having some of the league’s top scorers is a matter of dedication to the sport.

“They’ve been working hard off the ice, too,” Campbell said. “It was a whole leadership team thing, but the kids have put in a lot of hard work this year.”

The Eagles are hoping to continue their momentous year in the playoff action that has already begun.

The Eskasoni team takes on the Pictou County Scotians in a best-of-seven series. The two teams meet for Game 2 on Sunday night at the Trenton Minor Sports Community Centre. The game starts at 6 p.m

The winner of the Eagles and Scotians series will advance to the division championship.


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