By Mike Pearson, News staff
On a team full of superstars, Max Lindsay figures he’s an underdog when it comes to capturing the attention of NHL scouts.
As a fourth line left winger for the Halifax Mooseheads, one of the best teams in Canadian junior hockey, the Ancaster native works hard to earn his ice time.
“It’s tough being a rookie right now,” said Lindsay, when reached by phone in Halifax.
But after making the Mooseheads roster, Lindsay knows hard work will keep him on the ice this season. And he has no problem with that at all.
While Lindsay is an aggressive forechecker and a solid defensive forward, he recently showed he can score as well. His recorded his first CHL goal on Nov. 21 in a 6-2 win over Baie-Comeau.
“It was nice to get that monkey off my back,” he said.
Lindsay, who turns 18 on Dec. 6, spent his formative hockey years in Ancaster, playing minor hockey from the age of eight until his first year of high school. Coach Jim Ecker was one of his biggest mentors at the Pee Wee and Bantam levels.
After entering the Junior AAA and Junior B ranks with the Stoney Creek Warriors, Lindsay considering playing in the NCAA or the Ontario Hockey League. He got a tryout with the OHL’s Oshawa Generals, but a second, more promising opportunity was just on the horizon.
Halifax general manager Cam Russell saw Lindsay play in an NCAA tournament. Liking what he saw, he offered Lindsay a spot on the team. Lindsay had to wait for the Generals to release him before eventually signing with Halifax last summer.
Halifax plays in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, one of three leagues that compete for the top prize in Canadian junior hockey – the Memorial Cup.
When Lindsay and his teammates step onto the ice at each home game, more than 7,000 fans show their appreciation.
“It’s kind of weird to get used to that, coming from a small town like Ancaster,” Lindsay said. “We’re the big team around here.”
Led by high scoring forwards Nathan MacKinnon, Jonathan Drouin, Martin Frk and Stefan Fournier, the Mooseheads are tearing up the QMJHL with 21 wins in their first 25 games.
“Our third line could probably be the first line on any other team,” said Lindsay.
While hockey is his main focus, Lindsay also attends classes at St. Mary’s University, in between games, on-ice training and workouts.
Listed at six-foot-two, 198 pounds, Lindsay figures he’s closer to 190 pounds today after working to get into the best shape of his life.
Lindsay is eligible for the National Hockey League draft this season, a fact he carries in the back of his mind. Regardless of his NHL aspirations, Lindsay will have the opportunity to attend university on a full-time basis, once his junior days are over.
“I’m trying not to worry about (the draft),” said Lindsay. “If I keep working hard, good things will happen.”
Lindsay admits his team’s success thus far is surprising, even to him.
“I didn’t think we would be this good,” he said. “It’s definitely been a good surprise.”
Lindsay’s parents, Monika and Ken are his biggest supporters, along with his twin 14-year-old brothers Brad and Jeff.
Monika figures the QMJHL and part-time classes at St. Mary’s offer her son the perfect mix of hockey and education. She describes his decision to forego the NCAA as a blessing in disguise.
“He’s always had a goal that he wanted to play hockey,” said Monika.