Tim Rose is shown in action with the Woodstock Slammers during the 2012 MHL season. — Derek Croney photo
WOODSTOCK, N.B. — It’s become somewhat of a recent tradition for one Maritime Junior A Hockey League (MHL) team to give another a Rose.
Specifically, defenceman Tim Rose.
The 20-year-old Stephenville native has been traded three times over his four-year stint in the league, most recently on Dec. 2, when the struggling Campbellton Tigers shipped him to the Woodstock Slammers — the team he entered the league with back in 2010-11.
The Slammers dealt him to the Pictou County Weeks Crushers halfway through his third campaign, then the Crushers flipped him to the Tigers this past summer.
“Right away, I was in complete shock,” Rose said of the latest transaction. “But I was given the opportunity to come back to Woodstock and I certainly had to take what was given to me.”
Sitting in the cellar of the Roger Meek Division at 9-21-1-1, the Tigers appear on the verge of missing the playoffs, which would have been an unfortunate occurrence for Rose, who is in his final season of eligibility in the league. The Slammers, meanwhile, are in third place at 14-14-2-1 and only a monumental collapse will keep them out of the post-season.
“I’m still mind-boggled by it,” Rose said. “I couldn’t be happier to be back.”
Woodstock, he said, is like a second home to him, though the team has undergone quite a few changes since he last played there, including an entirely new coaching staff and a much different roster.
Only team captain Brett MacLean remains from the team that Rose helped power to the MHL’s Kent Cup championship and the Fred Page Cup Eastern Canadian championship, before they finally fell in the final game of the Royal Bank Cup Canadian Junior A championship.
“It just felt right from the time that I drove back into town,” Rose said.
A self-described “third-pairing” defenceman, Rose is adept at all the things that help keep pucks out of the back of nets. Despite their success this season, the Slammers have allowed the third-most goals against in the league.
It’s no coincidence they targeted Rose in a trade.
“They know how I play and understand my game,” he said. “We’ve got a lot of talent, we can certainly dish it out, it’s just trying to put together a bit of a backend now to kind of match with it.”
Not a scorer by any definition — he amassed four points (1G-3A) in 23 games this season with the Tigers — his offence has trended upwards since rejoining the Slammers. He’s contributed two assists in five games with his new-again club, including one on Dec. 18 against the Tigers. In their last game before Christmas break, a 5-2 win over the Valley Jr. A Wildcats, Rose was assessed a two-minute minor and 10-minute misconduct for a blow to the head of an opposing player.
Not only brought in to prevent goals, Rose’s leadership abilities were valued by the Slammers’ brass.
“I certainly try my best to embrace it and carry over what I’ve learned from my leaders in the past,” he said.
Like the Tigers, the Slammers are still on the inexperienced side, but have carried it well. Rose feels the team possesses depth and, with another addition or two, he believes “anything is possible” for the group.
“To find depth like we had two years ago, it’s not something you come by every day,” he said. “But the coaches here agree this team has underachieved so far ... I’m very excited to enter the playoffs and I don’t think anything is out of the question.
“It’s a fantastic atmosphere around the rink,” he added. “Everybody loves going there.”
Of course, if Woodstock is his second home, his first is still Stephenville.
He’s back on the island for Christmas and will use the break to spend quality time with friends and family, recharging his batteries for a big second half — his final few months as a MHL player.
“I want to make sure I’m as fresh as possible coming back in the new year,” he said. “It’s been a great start, hopefully we can ride that momentum and see what we can make out of it.”