Bennett commits to Nepean
Coleman Bennett has come a long way in a relatively short period of time.
The 18-year-old London native worked his way up from a rookie defenceman with the Ridley Tigers to one of their most dependable players who made an impact at both ends of the ice.
“It was a delight watching the transformation of Coleman and how he grew and matured both on and off the ice,” Ridley coach Mike McCourt said. “Coleman evolved into a player who we could match up against other teams’ top players and he was always very difficult to play against. He learned to compete extremely hard and was a big piece of our two (Midwest Prep Hockey League) championships.”
McCourt said Bennett’s work ethic was second to none.
“Coleman worked extremely hard to get this opportunity and can be a tremendous asset when playing this way. Coleman’s growth and maturity off the ice will serve him well as he makes the transition to junior hockey.”
Bennett will get his opportunity at the junior level after committing to the Nepean Raiders of the Central Canada Hockey League for the 2020/21 season.
“I’m really excited about the opportunity and the chance to play in the CCHL and show them what I can do,” Bennett said.
Bennett had contact with a handful of teams in the CCHL but a few phone calls from the Raiders convinced him Nepean was the right organization to continue his career.
“Coach McCourt was always big on Nepean and said it would be a great place for me,” Bennett said. “I was looking at some other options. I got a call from their GM and after a couple of more calls I saw what a great opportunity it was and what a great organization they have and was excited to commit to them.”
Bennett feels he can make an immediate impact with the Raiders.
“I’m hoping to step in and make a difference right away but I know the jump is going to be different for me. I know it’s going to be a more physical game and that’s something I hope to get into right away, making a big impact on the physical side of things and hopefully making an impact on the offensive and defensive side also.”
Bennett also got into some action with the Fort Erie Meteors last season which gave him a chance to experience playing against older competition.
“That helped me get that confidence playing against older players. I know it’s going to be a much more skilled and much faster pace and that’s something I’m going to have to work toward,” he said.
Bennett was quick to give credit to McCourt for helping him progress.
“When I went there, I wasn’t the way I am today. Coach really pushed me to become a better player, especially on the offensive side,” he said. He taught me when to jump in and when to stay back.”
He also felt the overall experience at Ridley was crucial to his development.
“When I was looking at what to do after my minor midget year junior B in my hometown was an option but I didn’t think I was ready to take that jump right away. I also wanted a good academic education and Ridley was the best of both worlds for me. The schooling was phenomenal and the hockey was great. It really balanced it out. Everything was amazing there.”
Bennett has hopes of playing at the university level in Canada or at the NCAA level.
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