NEW GLASGOW – Brent Turnbull is making the most of his opportunity to train with local pro hockey players.
Turnbull has been working out with pro players Colin White and Jon Sim under the direction of Pictou County YMCA general manager Dave MacIntyre.
The players train in the gym and sometimes do drills in a nearby parking lot.
Turnbull is entering the prime of his major junior hockey career, having been dealt to the new Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise in Sherbrooke, Que. from the Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
“It’s really great,” he says. “They really push me to the limit. I know I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m excited to get started in Sherbrooke. I have a really good feeling about it.”
MacIntyre has been impressed with Turnbull’s work ethic this summer.
“Brent’s a good kid,” he said. For an 18-year-old, his strength, co-ordination, speed and agility have come a long way. His work ethic has improved from seeing how older guys work hard to play at the pro level.”
Training now pays off later, says MacIntyre, who anticipates Turnbull having a breakout season, now that he has a chance to play more.
“Ninety per cent of it is the game and 10 per cent is training,” MacIntyre said. “If you’re in shape, you’re that far ahead of the game. I’m sure he’ll have a great year. It’s a real opportunity for him to show what he can do.”
Turnbull leaves for Sherbrooke Sunday, the day after participating in the Play the Pros hockey game that starts at 7 p.m. Saturday at the John Brother MacDonald Stadium in New Glasgow.
Besides playing with local pros, Turnbull says he’s glad to meet the visiting pros, such as Brad Marchand, the Nova Scotian who visited last year after earning a Stanley Cup ring with the Boston Bruins.
“I like playing with Colin, Don and Dave but I get to meet other players like Brad, so I learn a lot, Turnbull said.
Marchand is expected to play this year, as well as Andrew Bodnarchuk of the 2012 Stanley Cup champion Los Angeles Kings and former Tampa Bay Lightning player Gordie Dwyer.
Goalies will be Joey MacDonald of the Detroit Red Wings and Carmen MacDonald of the ECAC women’s hockey champion St. Lawrence Saints.