Jonathon Brodie – Recorder & Times
Fred Allaire knew long before most people that he was likely going to be the captain of this year’s Brockville Braves team.
Back in July during a Braves camp, coach Jesse Winchester told Allaire he was going to have more of a leadership role in his sophomore season with Brockville and asked if he was ready to take on the challenge of being captain.
“I think I was ready for it because I learned a lot from our leadership group last year and I was just excited,” said Allaire. “You have a guy like Andrew Jarvis last year who was a great leader and had been the leader for a couple of years, so it was big shoes to fill. I’m still learning. I’m learning everyday on the job, but I enjoy it.”
Winchester had publicly stated that he picked Allaire to lead the team because, “He’s the hardest working guy in the league.”
Being the hardest working person on the Braves roster alone is saying something. Brockville, and particularly the veterans on the roster, have quickly become known for their scrappy style and tremendous work ethic whether you point to Eric Faith (who’s an alternate captain), Theo Citrullo (who doesn’t have a letter on his jersey) or anyone else in the lineup. Quite frankly, to be called the leader of that is a tremendous responsibility and compliment.
“I try t bring my A-game everyday, not only in games, but especially in practice,” said Allaire. “If you set an example, especially this year as we have a younger team, it’s really important to show them how older guys go through their junior career and how they can grow to be better players.”
Allaire is, by all means, leading the Braves rookies.
The speed, energy, and physicality that Alliare played with last season hasn’t changed a bit. He just gets to show more of it off now that he gets more ice time. Last year he had 21 points in 62 games. This season he’s already earned five goals and two assists in nine games.
While most of Brockville veteran forwards play on lines with each other, Allaire has spent most of the season lined up alongside rookies. He might have even already played on a line at least once with every rookie that has seen regular time this season. While one of Brockville’s power play units is stacked with veterans, their second unit has been piled with rookies and Allaire.
“I like to be a role model for them,” Allaire said. “I think our rookies have really stepped up and they’re showing they can be there and not because we don’t have anyone to put them with.”
Any of the rookies could learn from what Allaire has already accomplished.
Last year he was a 19-year-old rookie who was essentially a depth player, but ended up making a name for himself, along with linemate Joshua Spratt, for being aggressive and causing turnovers in the opponent’s zone to create scoring chances for the Braves. He was on a third or fourth line, but kept seeing increased minutes as the season went on.
His line was initially a group that was put on the ice to give the top-six forwards a rest. Then they transitioned to being a spark plug for the team when they could use some momentum and, ultimately, became a bona fide line that could contribute and made the Braves a better team.
If this year’s rookies are looking for how to move up the ladder, Allaire has been working on the blueprint since he arrived in Brockville.
The Braves take on the Kemptville 73s on Friday at the Memorial Centre. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.
Original Story at Recorder.ca