LIVING THE DREAM: Valley Wildcats' Deacon back where he belongs

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John Decoste
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John Deacon was comfortable with the course his hockey career was taking with the Amherst Ramblers, but he’s taking a change of direction towards home in stride.  

The Port Williams resident came up through the Acadia Minor Hockey system, playing on Acadia AAA teams as far as the Midget level. After two seasons with the midgets, the Amherst Ramblers selected the centre in the fifth round of the 2012 Maritime Junior League draft.

Deacon tried out for the Ramblers, but fell short of making the team and returned to the Wildcats and helped Valley win the provincial and Atlantic Midget AAA championships and compete for the TELUS Cup last season.

This past fall, Deacon returned to the Amherst training camp and earned a spot on the squad. He enrolled at Mount Allison University and was looking forward to spending the rest of his junior career in Amherst.

 

A life changer

His life changed Jan. 6, when Deacon was traded to the Valley Wildcats in a four-player, trade-deadline deal that sent veteran Justin Thomas, the Wildcats’ leading scorer at the time, to Amherst.

“When I heard Kentville had gotten a (Junior A) team, I had some thoughts that it might be nice to play at home,” Deacon said, “but I was enjoying myself in Amherst. I had good coaches and good teammates, and I’d made some good friends.”

Deacon said the trade surprised him.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all, even though there are trade rumours all the time.”

With the Wildcats, Deacon has ended up on a line with two other newcomers, Jeremy Butterworth and Jean-Marc Evans-Renaud. The trio has become the team’s top line.

“I feel we clicked from the first game we played together as a line,” he said. “We work really well together.”

The line combined for four goals and 13 points in the first five games they played together.  

Back in Kings County

Deacon said he is “really enjoying” playing in Kentville.

“It’s great to be able to play at home, in front of my friends and family, in a rink I’ve played in my whole life, and to play for Coach Greenough, who was my midget coach for two years.”

With a young team, “a lot of good chemistry, and good atmosphere,” both on the ice and in the dressing room, Deacon said he is happy with the way the season is going.

After he found out he had been traded, he was able to transfer to Acadia, where he has resumed his studies toward a business degree.

Hopes for the future

As for where he would like to see his hockey career go from here, Deacon said, “obviously I’d like to finish my junior career, then maybe try university hockey, either here or in the U.S. I just want to play hockey for as long as I can.”

He hasn’t ruled out playing with the Axemen, either.

“I’d love to play at Acadia someday. That would be a dream come true,” Deacon said. “I grew up watching them, attended all their hockey camps, and I’ve developed some great relationships.”

As for the Wildcats the rest of this season, Deacon says, he hopes to see them go deep in the playoffs.

“I’d like to see us go as far as we can. We’ve clinched a playoff berth, and will get to play a mini-series against the fourth-place team. I’m hoping for a good playoff run, and to see how far we can go.”

 

By the numbers…

Who John Deacon

Plays for  Valley Wildcats  #61

Position Centre

Age 18

Height Six feet

Weight 165 pounds

Season stats 15 points in 38 games

(seven goals, eight assists)

Organizations: Wildcats, Maritime Junior League, TELUS Mount Allison University

Geographic location: Amherst, Port Williams, Kentville Acadia Kings U.S.

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