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LIVING THE DREAM: Speed, hockey IQ, helps Falmouth teen get drafted into the QMJHL

Bailey Peach, 16, has been playing hockey since he was four years old and had earned numerous accolades along the way.
Bailey Peach, 16, has been playing hockey since he was four years old and had earned numerous accolades along the way.

FALMOUTH, N.S. — He may have just turned 16 years old, but Bailey Peach is already proving that on the ice, he can hold his own against grown men.

The Falmouth teenager has been playing hockey since he was four, and was recently drafted by the Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

When the QMJHL draft was held June 3 in St John, New Brunswick, Bailey was the first Maritime-born player selected and went 11th overall in the draft's first round to Sherbrooke.

“I was sort of nervous going into the draft that day,” said Bailey.

“When I got selected, it was just a really good, humbling feeling.”

Bailey, who grew up in Falmouth, attends Newbridge Academy — a school known for its hockey program. He has been passionate about hockey for as long as he can remember.

“I got really interested in hockey because all my friends played it; my parents really drove me to play hockey and that's the sport that I wanted to play,” said Bailey. “I really love the game.”

Mike and Andrea Peach are proud of their son, Bailey, who was recently drafted to the QMJHL.

His parents, Andrea and Mike Peach, are proud of what their son has been able to accomplish to date. They're optimistic he'll continue to impress coaches and scouts as his skill set continues to develop.

“He has a really high IQ and a good vision for the game,” said Mike Peach, who once played for the Windsor Royals.

“He's a fast, explosive skater. He has a really quick release shot. So those are some of the attributes that he brings to the game that's going to be able to take him to the next level and succeed at the next level."

This summer, Bailey will be attending the Hockey Canada U17 development camp in Calgary in hopes of making a Team Canada squad. A total of 111 goalies, forwards and defencemen were selected to attend.

“I'm really excited to put a Canada jersey on at that camp but it's going to be really hard to make that team,” said Bailey. “There's a lot of good hockey players in Canada.”

The successful players will compete with Team Canada at the World U17 Challenge.

Following that camp, Bailey will be off to Quebec in August to show the Sherbrooke Phoenix what he's made of.

Bailey Peach shows off his collection of mementos. Pictured are, from bottom, first Major Bantam goal (with the Newbridge Academy Senators Major Bantam team), first Major Midget hat trick (with the Cole Harbour Pro Hockey Life WolfPack Major Midget team), first Major Midget goal (with the WolfPack), and the first Junior B hockey goal (with the Valley Maple Leafs).

 

Bailey Peach shows off his collection of mementos. Pictured are, from bottom, first Major Bantam goal (with the Newbridge Academy Senators Major Bantam team), first Major Midget hat trick (with the Cole Harbour Pro Hockey Life WolfPack Major Midget team), first Major Midget goal (with the WolfPack), and the first Junior B hockey goal (with the Valley Maple Leafs).

Accolades abound

In November 2016, Bailey participated in the QMJHL prospects game, where he scored two goals and had two assists. His showing pleased several scouts from the QMJHL, U.S. prep schools and National Collegiate Athletic Association schools.

Last season, Bailey played with the Cole Harbour WolfPack of the Nova Scotia Major Midget Hockey League. As a rookie, he played 36 games, scored 27 goals and assisted on 20 others for a total of 47 points. He was ranked ninth in the league and second in points by rookies.

He led the rookies in playoff points, playing seven games and earning 14 points.

At their awards banquet, Bailey was named to the Rookie All-Star Line and received the Cole Harbour WolfPack's Player’s Player Award.

Affiliated player Bailey Peach, No. 9, of Falmouth, is congratulated by his teammates Sean Anderson and Brody McCarron on scoring the Leafs' second goal of the evening March 17, 2017.

Bailey also played one regular season game and seven playoff games with the Valley Maple Leafs, a Junior B team based in Windsor. The then-15-year-old was playing with – and against – 18- to 21-year-olds. Of the eight games he played, he scored four times and assisted on seven other goals.

Josh Dill, the Valley Maple Leafs' head coach for the 2016-2017 season, was impressed with Bailey's performance.

“There's some guys in our league that are 21 years old and he stepped in and he handled himself really well,” said Dill.

“He's a skilled player; very good hands. I think he'll be pretty successful in the Quebec league if he just keeps working hard.”

As Bailey prepares to compete at the Q level, playing for the Leafs gave him insight into what it would be like.

Affiliated player Bailey Peach, No. 9, of Falmouth, scored several times for the Valley Maple Leafs during their playoff run in 2017.

“They treated me really good – they treated me like every other player on that team. It was just a really good experience to get out there and play against the older guys,” said Bailey. “I really thank their coaching staff for letting me play. It was a great feeling playing for my hometown.”

If Bailey makes the final cut for the Sherbrooke Phoenix, he'll play the majority of games in Quebec, but will travel to Halifax in November to play one game as part of the regular season.

“Growing up and watching the Mooseheads, if I get to play in that rink, it'll be really exciting,” said Bailey. “I'm just taking it all in.”

Should Bailey make the final cut, he will continue his studies with Newbridge Academy via online courses.

His parents said they are excited for Bailey as he embarks on his hockey journey.

“He's an only child, so it's going to be a difficult adjustment for Andrea and I when he leaves home, but he's being looked after by his new billet family,” said Mike. “It will be a challenge for us but we're going to make lots of visits to Sherbrooke and support him, as we always do, and help him out with whatever he decides to do. We'll make the most of it.”

 

Bailey Peach has set up a training centre in the family garage to help him improve his puck handling.

 

Fast facts:

Height: Five-foot-11

Weight: 165 pounds

Favourite NHL team: Ottawa Senators

NHL idol: Dylan Larkin, of the Detroit Red Wings

Bailey Peach spends a lot of his spare time practicing his shot.

 

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