By Dale Woodard
Alta Newspaper Group
Even the view from the bench proved to be a valuable learning experience for Brayden Peters.
What’s better, the goaltender who hails from Taber has brought that experience back to his day job with the Lethbridge midget AAA Hurricanes of the Alberta Midget Hockey League. A little over two weeks ago, Peters was called up by the Calgary Hitmen of the Western Hockey League when the major junior squad had some goaltender injuries.
Suddenly, the 16-year-old goaltender who has shared the midget AAA Hurricanes goaltending duties with Cole Tisdale found himself heading two hours down the highway, ready for a glimpse at top-tier junior hockey.
His ice time was relegated to practice and pre-game warm-ups, but even from the vantage point of manning the gate on the bench was invaluable.
“It was great getting to go up there and experience a new league and see the pace of play and how much better it gets and how much I need to improve making that step,” said Peters, who was selected by the Hitmen in the fifth round and 95th overall in the 2017 WHL bantam draft. “Just the experience in the pace of play. Even just in warm-ups, the pace of play and the shots is so much faster. Coming back here, it helps me slow things down and make it easier on myself.”
The opportunity presented to his goaltender was a deserved one, said Hurricanes head coach Doug Paisley earlier this month, shortly after Peters got the call-up.
“He has just battled for everything he’s gotten. He works his butt off and plays the right way. He’s improved every day and he works really hard in practice. He has a phenomenal attitude and he’s a keener. He wants to get better, he’s a good student and a good person.”
“You love seeing those character guys get the opportunity,” said Paisley.
Peters sits second in the AMHL in goals against-average at 1.78 and is in a four-way tie for shutouts with two.
His save percentage of .931 is also second-best in the league.
On Dec. 16, Peters backstopped the Hurricanes to a 3-2 win over the Red Deer Optimist Chiefs to improve his record to 9-2-0 and move his team back into first place overall in the AMHL at 18-3-0.
“It’s been going great so far, it’s a great group of guys and a great coaching staff,” said Peters. “We’ve had some tests so far, but we have to keep it going into the Macs (midget tournament in Calgary starting Dec. 26) and further and hopefully make our ultimate goal.”