It’s always tough being the new guy on a team of returning players, but for CFR Chemical Bisons defenceman Cayde Augustine, it’s the other way around as he is the only returnee from last season’s squad.
When it was announced following the 2016-17 Alberta Midget AAA Hockey League (AMHL) season the draw zone for the Bisons would be split into two, it was expected the roster would have a very different look, but for Augustine it is entirely different as he is on a completely new team in his second season with the Bisons.
“Being the lone returnee, I wasn’t nervous I wasn’t going to make the team, I was more anxious to see who was going to make the team and get the season started to see what it was going to be like,” Augustine said. “This is a character year for me coming off of last year.
“It helps with my resiliency and ability to bounce back and be better everyday on the ice.”
Although he was the lone returnee at camp when Bisons tryouts began in September, Augustine said he wasn’t taking his spot on the team for granted and knew he had to work just as hard as the other players looking to make the Bisons.
As a 16-year-old, Augustine comes into the new season with important AMHL experience after playing his first year of midget eligibility at the highest level he could, but also knows he still has growing up to do on the ice.
In the summer of 2016, Augustine took part in the Kelowna Rockets rookie camp and was listed with the team before being returned to midget hockey. This summer Augustine returned to Kelowna and took part in pre-season camp, scoring a pre-season goal and earning himself a contract with the team before being sent to midget hockey for another season of growth.
“This was a huge moment for myself. It was such an amazing feeling,” Augustine said. “Getting signed by Kelowna was probably the most proud moment of my life.”
During his first season in the AMHL, Augustine came just short of capturing the AMHL Championship and making a push to the Telus Cup, losing in the finals to the Leduc Chrysler Oil Kings.
Now in his second year as a member of the Bisons, the rearguard is looked to as a leader team, but said he is enjoying his time playing with guys he grew up with in the Airdrie minor hockey system.
“I played with these guys through novice, atom, peewee and first year bantam, we grew up and went to school together,” Augustine said. “We’ve been tight throughout the whole process and have always been close.
“Having that relationship with the guys on the team makes the season fun and go by fast, but it’s sad to say that because I don’t want it to go by too fast.”
The dynamic may have changed for the Bisons between Augustine’s two years, with a new home, new coaches and new identity, but the defenceman is still enjoying the game he loves and helping build a new identity within the program he has done most of his growing as a player in.