Even while watching two veteran players traded from the team in favour of two young forwards expected to provide offensive spark, Brady Griffin-Hefford is maintaining a positive outlook on his expansion team earning its first playoff berth.
Brady Griffin-Hefford, a former captain of the Western Kings, is in his sophomore season with the cellar-dwelling St. Stephen Aces of the Maritime Hockey League.
The Aces traded former Western Kings defenceman Lucas McKay of Deer Lake and veteran Curtis Hastings to the Miramichi Timberwolves for Doug D’Arnall and Keegan Gauthier in a recent trade.
The Aces find themselves eight points out of a playoff spot with just three games left before teams head home for the holidays for the Christmas break.
Griffin-Hefford was disappointed to see two of his teammates moved in a trade, but he figures the trade benefits both teams. He believes the two guys leaving the mix now have a good shot at competing for a league championship in their last year, but more importantly he believes the infusion of youth will help the team turn things around.
“We got a couple of young guys in the lineup who bring a lot of energy and positivity so it’s a new look for us,” Griffin-Hefford said Monday while relaxing at home because a winter storm meant the cancellation of classes for him.
The Aces trail the Campbellton Tigers by eight points in the battle for the fourth and final playoff berth up for grabs in the six-team EastLink North Division.
However, the Aces are fresh off a 3-1 win over the Tigers with the two newcomers in the lineup so Griffin-Hefford likes what he sees in the early going of the trade.
“We really showed that we are a team that can compete every night,” he said of the significance of the win over the Tigers.
The Aces will wrap up the first half of the campaign with three games this weekend and then Griffin-Hefford is catching a flight home to his family digs in Steady Brook on Sunday afternoon. He will be looking forward to seeing his family and friends, and enjoying the annual Boxing Day ball hockey tournament at his place.
He will be home for a short visit before heading back to New Brunswick in time for a New Year’s wedding in Fredericton.
Rest and relax is in store for the short break. Then it’s back to the drawing board with hopes of pushing the Aces into the playoff pool for the first time since the Aces became an expansion team four years ago.