A Salmon Arm player is on top of the Junior A hockey world, along with the rest of the Brooks Bandits squad. The Bandits, who play in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, won a national Junior A championship game against the Prince George Spruce Kings on May 19. Nathan Plessis of Salmon Arm was wearing the captain’s C on his jersey when the Bandits squad he has been a part of for three seasons won the championship.
It was a sellout crowd for the host team, who had put on a record breaking season, chalking up a 57-3 tally which saw them undefeated on home ice. With such an unbeaten streak at home in the regular season, it was fitting the Bandits national triumph came in front of the fans who had cheered them on all season. “It was pretty incredible. We had a sold-out building every night for all our games and then the championship game was just nuts,” Plessis said. “I couldn’t hear myself think at times. You’re trying to call for a pass and all you can hear is the crowd, but it was pretty awesome, a great atmosphere to play in.”
Plessis was one of four goal scorers for the Bandits, who edged out Prince George 4-3. Two years ago, the Bandits, with Plessis on the roster, made it all the way to the national championship game only to lose in overtime. “That was a tough pill to swallow.” Plessis said. The Bandits captain was one of three players on the squad that lost to the Coburg Cougars in 2017 and returned to hoist the trophy this year.
Plessis moved to Salmon Arm from Prince Rupert at age 9 and played minor hockey in town before playing two seasons with the Sicamous Eagles in the KIJHL. “For me, the Eagles was definitely good because I could stay at home and finish high school with all my friends in my hometown and live at home as well.” Plessis said. The 21 year old forward said he had an absolute blast playing minor hockey in Salmon Arm and as he got more serious about the sport, he had good coaches who helped him develop as a player.
After finishing his junior career on a high note, Plessis is off to Brown University on Rhode Island where he will play for their hockey team. He will be joining a program on the upswing; Plessis said Brown often finishes toward the bottom of the Eastern College Athletic Conference hockey standings, but they made it to the semi-finals this season.