Last year for the Junior de Montreal, their second year in Montreal, was seen as a rebuilding year. Veteran players like Angelo Esposito, Luke Adams, Matt Fillier, Nick Layton, and Jake Allen either were traded or drafted by NHL teams. This left players like Louis-Marc Aubry, Guillaume Asselin, goaltender Jean Francois Bérubé, and Chris Thorne as the leaders of the team. In their stead a group of talented, but inexperienced group took the ice. Forwards like Eliezer Sherbatov, Trevor Parkes, Loic Poudrier, and defencemen like Xavier Ouellet and Jonathan Narbonne would bring their talent and speed to the mix.
Despite all this youth the team was a competitive one that made the playoffs. Though they lost in the 1st round I think the season had to be seen as a successful one. The team competed with even the top ranked teams in the QMJHL on most nights and fans came in large numbers to watch the games. Junior hockey in Montreal has been successful so far.
This season the expectations on the team, management and coaching staff are higher. There have even been whisperings about this being a team that could compete for the Memorial Cup. Imagine that! Though some players like Guillaume Asselin (traded to Chicoutimi), Loic Poudrier (traded to Shawinigan) and Hugo Desharnais-Roux (released) will not be with the team this year the additions they have made are impressive.
The team involved themselves in plenty of trading on draft day this past summer. They were able to acquire the rights to players like defenceman Charles Landry (from Drummondville), forward Philippe Lefebvre (from Drummondville), center Denis Kindl (from Gatineau), defenceman Charles-Olivier Roussel (from Shawinigan), defenceman Francis Meilleur (from Cape Breton), and Montreal Canadiens' 1st round draft choice in 2010 Louis Leblanc (from Chicoutimi). These are all quality players several of whom have already been drafted by NHL teams.
The biggest addition to the team will be Pointe Claire native Louis Leblanc. There has been plenty of buzz around this guy. He played for Harvard University (obviously no dummy either!) last season notching 23 points in 31 games. Leblanc was invited to the Canadian National Junior Team Development Camp this year and was one of the most impressive players on the ice. A bright future for this guy seems inevitable.
The mind behind constructing the team and coaching them is Pascal Vincent. He is so excited about what he has helped build here and the fact that he will get the opportunity to coach 6 NHL affiliated players that he signed a contract extension this summer. He is now signed on to be with the team through the 2012-13 season.
The team is so far 2-0 in preseason games. And this has been accomplished without the "A" lineup. A plus in the scheduling (I think) is that the team will begin their season with two games at home. The season opener will be on Friday, September 10th at the Verdun Auditorium against the Shawinigan Cataractes. Make sure you get your tickets early and often as the Junior de Montreal will be offering its fans quality hockey at a very affordable price.
-Ticket Purchase: www.admission.com or (514) 790-1245 or the box office at Verdun Auditorium
-Ticket Prices: Single Tickets: General Admission: $15.00
Season Tickets: Classic: $499.00