Saturday, December 29, 2012

Blind River defenceman Lavigne to join Gatineau of QMJHL

Press Release

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 season.

“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 Rusty Joncas.

“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 Joncas.

“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 Voltigeurs-QMJHL).

(Nathan can be reached at

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