On Friday, September 21st, the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles pay a visit to Charlottetown as the two teams open their respective seasons against one another. One player familiar with both teams is Screaming Eagles forward Mitchell Balmas.
For Balmas, this will be a dual-homecoming of sorts; the Sydney, Nova Scotia native will play his first regular season game with his hometown team against the team that originally drafted him; the Islanders selected Balmas in the first round, seventh overall, of the 2014 QMJHL Entry Draft.
For Balmas, many memories stand out from his time in Charlottetown, however there’s one that stands above the rest.
“My favourite memory would be draft day, for sure.” Said the 20-year-old forward. “Being able to hear my name called was a great day for me and my family.”
“Also, spending time with my great teammates and billet families really stand out.”
The Islanders traded Balmas during the 2016-2017 season to Gatineau as part of the package to acquire forward Alex Dostie. Balmas recorded 36 goals and 23 assists for 59 points in 65 games over parts of two seasons in Gatineau.
Midway through last season, the forward was traded once again, this time to the eventual Memorial Cup champions Acadie-Bathurst Titan. A lot was made about how special that team was, something Balmas can confirm.
“We had a great team culture in Bathurst.” Said Balmas. “We were very close as both friends and teammates, which helped us succeed the way we wanted to.”
“It was an incredible ride. It was a lot of fun to be a part of and something I will remember for the rest of my life.”
Balmas finished last season with 42 goals, good for a tie for sixth in the league. He hopes to replicate both his individual and team success with his hometown team in his final junior season.
“I grew up being an Eagles fan and going to every game I could go to.” Explained Balmas. “It was a dream of mine to play for the Eagles and this year I’ll be able to live that dream.”
Catch the Islanders take on Balmas and the Eagles tonight! Tickets are available at the Eastlink Centre box office, online at https://boxoffice.eastlinkcentrepei.com, or by calling 902-629-6625. Come cheer on your Islanders in their first games of the season!