Story by Jeff Gard/Total Sports Quinte
Leading an expansion team certainly has its share of challenges, but Carter Musclow was honoured to be named the first captain of the new junior C Frankford Huskies.
The 18-year-old embraces the role with the Huskies during their first Provincial Junior Hockey League season and said the club’s home opener back in October was certainly a highlight.
“It was pretty cool opening night we had some of the old captains out and it was cool seeing them and talking to them,” Musclow remarked. “Definitely a huge honour.”
Musclow has a couple friends whose fathers played for Huskies teams in the past. There were previous junior and senior teams in Frankford. Otherwise, Musclow’s familiarity with the history of the franchise was limited.
“I’ve been in the arena and seen the pictures up on the walls, but that’s about it,” he said.
This season is a chance for Musclow and his teammates to usher in a new era for the Huskies.
Musclow grew up in nearby Stirling where he played minor hockey, with the exception of one season at the AA level with the Belleville Jr. Bulls. He realized Stirling was where he wanted to play for his remaining minor hockey years, ending the 2019-2020 season.
“Our midget year we went to the OMHA finals so that was a nice way to cap off my Stirling career,” Musclow said. “It’s small town, you know everyone there and I made a lot of good, close friends playing there. This sport is always amazing. When we went to playoffs, I’ve never seen such a full arena. We went all the way up to Collingwood and had fans there. It was pretty crazy and just hockey.”
Musclow also played football and was a quarterback for his Bayside Secondary School teams.
“I liked how it was really a team sport. Every player has to do their job for everything to work as a unit,” he said. “Being quarterback, I like the leadership role you have. I just really liked the physical part of it, too. That definitely helped carry over to hockey, the hitting and stuff which I never really expected when I started playing football, but it definitely helped.”
Hockey, of course, also provides the team aspect Musclow relishes.
“Everyone has to work together,” he said. “In Stirling, for player of the game we would get a lug nut and a wheel can’t stay on unless all lug nuts are doing their job.”
Musclow considers himself to be a quiet leader who leads by example.
“You don’t have to be super vocal, but some guys are more vocal and good leaders in that way,” he said. “I’m more of a lead by example, work hard and I like to help players get better, too. In practice I’ll take time to help improve them and I think that helps the team a lot.”
Frankford (1-19-2-0) last played on Dec. 13 and with restrictions from the Ontario government to be lifted Monday, Musclow can’t wait to officially get back on the ice with his teammates. The Huskies return to action Thursday night in Picton against the Pirates at 7:30 p.m. and host the Napanee Raiders on Saturday in Frankford at 7:50 p.m.
“I’ve been off for an extra month because I broke my thumb so I’ve just been itching to get playing and I know all the guys have,” Musclow said. “We’ve been out playing pond hockey and everyone’s really pumped to come back. I think we’ll be able to surprise some people when we come back because everyone has gelled really well and works together. We’ve changed our lines a little bit and found some chemistry and it will be good.”
The Huskies had a tough start to the season, losing their first 16 games, including two in overtime. They were outscored 34-4 in their first five contests.
On Nov. 26, the Huskies earned a 4-1 victory over the Campbellford Rebels.
“We had a couple overtime (losses) and everyone was so pumped to be that close and we had a lot of close losses before,” Musclow said. “Everything just lined up for that win. We outplayed Campbellford and Pat (Shearer) coached us real well. He had been working on some new systems and everyone was playing them. We didn’t let up either, we had to keep going. I think some of our other games we would get ahead and then would get comfortable and let up and that would cost us. Everyone kept their foot down and kept working.”
Musclow credits Shearer for the team’s development from the start of the season to now as the improvements on the ice have been evident.
“’It’s been a huge difference,” he said. “We have a young team so over the next couple years we’ll just keep getting better and better. A lot of the other teams have a bunch of older guys and they’re trying to push for a championship this year whereas we’re a younger team and building together.”
Musclow is grateful for the support from the Frankford community.
“I remember playing against Picton and we were down 4-1 and came back and took it to overtime and that was the loudest I’ve ever heard that arena. Everyone was pretty pumped about it,” Musclow said.
“It’s I would say one of the loudest arenas in the league. It’s a small arena, but it’s always pretty full. We have a good turnout and lots of fans. You see the people coming wearing hats and jerseys. They’re always there every game no matter what.”