BLIND RIVER -- While the goal of every Northern
Ontario Junior Hockey League club is to win a championship, each team
also strives to advance their players to the next level.
The Blind River Beavers have done just that with one of their own as
the organization has announced they have transferred the playing rights
of defenceman Jonathon Lavigne to the Gatineau Olympiques of the Quebec
Major Junior Hockey League.
The towering six-foot-three-inch, 220-pound stay-at-home blueliner
had three assists in 24 games for the Beavers so far this season while
also picking up 24 minutes in penalties.
The 17-year-old Lavigne played his minor hockey in Valley East and is
a product of the Nickel City Hockey Association program having skated
with the Gilmour Academy Lancers Prep School program in Ohio last
“When Jon attended our spring camp in Sudbury he expressed his
interest in playing major junior hockey and that he was attending the
Oshawa Generals main camp in August,” stated Beavers general manager
“We were both surprised and thrilled when he returned to our club in
September. Now it’s a bittersweet feeling that he is moving up because
we know how skilled he is and was a huge part of our team season,” added
“Jon possesses a great mixture of size; skill and determination that
will help him excel at the next level. Off the ice he's a great kid,
dedicated student and very popular with his teammates and fans.”
Beavers’ head coach Doug McEwen was pleased to have coached a player like Lavigne.
“Jon is a very intense, hardworking young defenceman. His size and
strength is great asset and will make any team very happy to have him
playing for them. It was a pleasure to be able to help him along in his
playing career,” offered the Blind River bench boss.
Lavigne’s new club is pleased to be getting the rearguard.
“What I saw in Jonathan was his quality decisions in key moments,
having the patience to wait the extra second and make a good play
instead of having a knee jerk reaction to a situation and losing an
opportunity,” claimed Gatineau director of player personnel Pierre
Boisvert. “He is showing that he is in control of his game and we’re
very surprised in his ability.”
NOJHL Commissioner Robert Mazzuca also offered his thoughts on Lavigne’s jump to Gatineau and the QMJHL.
“Jonathan Lavingne exemplifies what the NOJHL is all about …
development, exposure and opportunity. The NOJHL takes this opportunity
to wish Jonathan continued success in his hockey endeavors in the
QMJHL,” says Mazzuca.
“Blind River continues the their long tradition of developing players
and moving them on to NCAA, CIS and CHL teams and with Jonathan now
going to the Q to further his hockey career, this is just another
example of what Jr. A hockey is providing in Northern Ontario.”
Lavigne follows two other former Beavers players who have moved on to
the major junior ranks in Brett Findlay (Soo Greyhound/Peterborough
Petes – OHL) and Andrew Tessier (Kingston Frontenacs-OHL/Drummondville
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
Q&A with AHL president/CEO David Andrews
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