No time off for Halliday
Blake Halliday doesn’t win many points for style.
The 19-year-old defender isn’t the biggest or most naturally gifted player, but somehow the St. Catharines native manages to get the job done for the Spartan junior B’s.
“You see him in person and you think he’s the timekeeper or something. You see him running and he’s last,” Spartans coach/general manager Chris Spiers said. “He’s a throwback. He’s not the biggest or in great shape, but he’s held together by something. I don’t know what it is. He keeps going. He doesn’t miss games.”
Halliday, who is in his fourth season with the Spartans, is well aware he’s a blue collar-type player.
“I’ve never been really an overly athletic kid,” the Sir Winston Churchill graduate said. “I wouldn’t say it’s been hard, but I definitely struggle to get in shape. This year, I’m struggling.”
What Halliday lacks in natural gifts, he more than makes up for with a determined work ethic.
“I just go out there and battle. Throw the body on the line and do what I can to get the ball and try and keep a positive attitude on the bench,” he said.
Spiers appreciates Halliday’s willingness to do whatever it takes.
“If you see him in practice, he’d be the first kid your would cut. He’s just that type. But see him in a game and he’s a kid you want in there,” Spiers said. “He’s go, go, go. He gives it his all.
“He doesn’t do all the glory things but he does the things the kids and staff notice.”
Halliday’s job as a steady, stay-at-home defender is vital, according to Spiers.
“It’s huge. You have to have those guys who do different roles,” he said. “He’s solid. He’s not great at everything, he’s good at everything, and he does his job.”
Halliday is wearing an assistant captain’s A for the first time this season.
“It’s definitely a bigger role,” he said. “I’m not used to that kind of responsibility. It’s something I was looking forward to, to step into a bigger role.”
Halliday grew up around the game and knew he wanted to play at the highest level possible.
“I love it. I grew up watching lacrosse and sitting there watching the junior A’s practice. I knew that had to be me.”
The Spartans are coming off a pair of tough losses over the weekend which dropped their record to 2-4.
“We’re missing a lot of our firepower so you play in your own end a lot,” Spiers said. “We played really well in Elora but we didn’t play well in Windsor.
“The talent is there but it’s just getting them to play a system and play together and getting them to gel.”
The Spartans are at Point Edward Saturday before returning home to the Thorold Arena Thursday, May 16 versus Hamilton.
“We need to turn it around right now and start getting some wins,” Spiers said. “Chip away one at a time.”
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