Purmal a top rookie in Canadien hockey league
Merrill’s Matt Purmal is climbing the ladder of amateur hockey and it’s easy to see the latest rung isn’t too high for him.
Purmal was one of two players from his Fort McMurray Oil Barons squad to be named to the All-Rookie team for the Alberta Junior Hockey League North Division, and he also recently received his team’s Top Defenseman award.
“It’s definitely a honor receiving this (All-Rookie) award because to me it’s singling me out saying that I really could be a possible candidate for a college scholarship to one of my favorite college schools, and not just any old school if the opportunity arises,” Purmal said.
According to a fortmcmurraytoday.com article: “Purmal has been a cornerstone for the Barons’ blueline all season, appearing in 58 regular season games for the MOB, the most on the team this season. Purmal has 15 points in 58 games, including four goals. He’s also noted for his ability to handle himself in a fight and his leadership abilities, serving as an alternate captain for the Barons since mid-January.”
It’s been a challenge for Matt, 18, to stand out at this level, playing in the hockey hotbed of Alberta, Canada.
“Well, this league is very fast and skilled and some of the kids have pretty big size too,” he said. “And the quality of play I would say is a old, gritty Canadian style of hockey, which everyone loves, mixed with fights and a lot of big hits. But there is also a ton of skill to match today’s style of hockey all over the world.”
The Oil Barons earned a spot in the playoffs against Whitecourt Wolverines.
“I think we will surprise a lot of people and do pretty good, where a lot of people say we won’t do well,” Purmal said before the series started.
The MOB did rally from a 2-1 deficit in the five-game series, but was eliminated on Monday night in an exciting 4-3 contest. The Barons led 2-1 after two periods, but were out-scored 3-1 in the third to give up the loss.
“My strengths have always included my height and my weight,” the 6-foot, three-inch, 195-pound defenseman said. “And I have to give a big thanks to Eric Filipiac at Parisi Speed School for training me over the summer and hopefully this summer.
“After playoffs I will come home and train in the summer, have a little break and then get right back at playing the game called hockey.”
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