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J.L.Grightmire Arena is like home away from home

By Craig Campbell, News Staff

Brantford is the last Ontario team to win the Allan Cup. They won it at home as the 2008 hosts, topping powerhouse Bentley Generals 3–1.

But on the road to the title, the Blast and arch-rival Dundas Real McCoys met in a semi-final. It took an overtime period for Brantford to win 3–2.

“The two best teams in that Allan Cup were on the ice that night,” said Brantford Blast general manager Peter Ham. “It would be great to recreate that, but in the Allan Cup final this year.”

With Brantford and Dundas in opposing divisions, the long rivalry between the two teams could come to a historic head at the 2014 Allan Cup. And for the Blast, playing at J.L. Grightmire Arena feels at least as good as playing at home — just 36-kilometres away.

“We know the building. Brantford plays well in Dundas for some reason. We seem to excel down there,” Ham said. “When we score in Dundas, the roar is as big as when Dundas scores.”

He said being able to “sleep in our own beds” is an advantage for Brantford, and Dundas too. Not having to deal with travel takes off some additional pressure.

The Blast are led by goalie Brett Leggat, scoring leader Joel Prpic, captain Chad Spurr and tough-guy Brian Hamm. Prpic played 18 games in the NHL with Boston and Colorado between 1998 and 2001, while notching plenty of points and penalty minutes with Providence, Hershey and Cleveland in the AHL, before taking his combination of skill and toughness to Japan and Austria. Prpic scored 48 points in 80 games for the Cleveland Barons in the 2001–2002 season, while picking up 174 penalty minutes. He scored 17, 14 and 16 goals, respectively, in three full AHL seasons

Spurr is a former Hamilton Kilty B. He played four strong years in the OHL with the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and five years in minor pro leagues ECHL and CHL.

Leggat, an Ancaster native, is a veteran of Ontario Senior AAA hockey. He has played the last four seasons with Brantford and had stints in both Dundas and Tillsonburg.

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