Blue Eagles to gather at East Pictou closure


SUTHERLANDS RIVER – Many of the great athletes who wore the East Pictou Blue Eagles’ blue and gold colours will be saluted on Saturday as part of the celebration of East Pictou Rural High School and Middle School.

The school is closing as middle school students move into the Frank H. MacDonald school located next door.

Keith Melanson, who coached a multitude of sports at East Pictou but was most renowned for his men’s volleyball teams, has compiled an array of highlights during his time there.

The list included Melanson, Neil MacKinnon and Rod Walsh, as well as eight members from East Pictou on Nova Scotia’s 1975 Canada Winter Games men’s volleyball team who were inducted for their volleyball exploits into the Pictou County Sports Heritage Hall of Fame.

Walsh was a member of the Canadian national men’s volleyball team for eight years and played professional volleyball in France.

MacKinnon was on Canada’s national junior team, while John Bannerman was on Canada’s over-55 team and Jamie Sangster was on Canada’s national armed forces volleyball team.

Also included is Lowell MacDonald, who was a member of the 1958-59 men’s hockey team that won the Nova Scotia Headmasters hockey championship. MacDonald went on to play in the NHL and win the Bill Masterton Trophy.

Melanson also referred to Doug Campbell in track and field and cross-country and members of East Pictou’s men’s rugby teams who contributed to the formation of the Pictou County Senior Rugby Club.

“I coached 14 of them and I saw just about all of them,” Melanson said. “Lowell really put East Pictou on the map. I thought all of them raised its profile. We became a very respectable school.”

Shown are members of the East Pictou Blue Eagles who won the 1993-94 Nova Scotia School Athletic Federation AA boys’ volleyball championship. Front row, from left: Brian Horne, Jamie Sangster, Calvin Wolfe, Chris Bennett and coach Keith Melanson. Back row: Jason Munroe, J.C. Thompson, Sandy MacIntosh, Jason MacDonald, Robbie MacGregor, Shane Brooks and David Fraser. (Submitted photo)