Can Kevin Figsby be the missing link for the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League? He was recently named Interim Commissioner after serving as president and governor for the West Island Shamrocks since last summer.
I sat down with Figsby last Wednesday night at the Centre Récreatif Edouard Rivet as the Montreal East Rangers hosted the Shamrocks. Over the years I have been involved with the league, first through the now defunct Montreal North Arctic and now the Rangers via partnerships with the English Montreal School Board. It is a solid league which needs to gain more visibility among the sports community. If anyone can give it that much needed shot in the arm, my money is on Figsby.
Baie-D’Urfé resident Figsby was asked to step into the commissioner’s role when Jacques Laporte resigned. It is hoped he will be offered the permanent post soon and he is ready for the challenge. “I have been involved with hockey in Quebec for 40 years” he told me. “I believe I can improve the profile of this league. Eighty seven percent of these kids are in school. Many are getting scholarships to American colleges. I have been really impressed with the calibre of play. We have a lot of solid citizens as players who combine athletics, academics and community service.”
From 2000 to 2015, Figsby was the head coach of the Concordia University Stingers. From there he became a senior director with Hockey Canada, based out of Calgary. He loved the job, but the commuting was not easy on family life. It would be nice to see the mainstream local sports media, notably TSN 690, give this 12 team league (a 13th franchise in St. Georges de Beauce joins net year) some well-deserved coverage
SHAMROCKS SHINE: Last week I also got to meet Patrick MacDonald, the owner of the Shamrocks and a good friend of Figsby. He purchased the team, previously known as the Lac St. Louis Revolution, from Dustin Traylen. They play out of the 1,500 seat Pierrefonds Sportsplexe. He and Figsby had little time to build a team but with former Concordia Stinger Michael Stinziani as head coach the team has started to show some promise as the current season draws to a close. They defeated the Rangers 7-2 last week.
MacDonald told me that he and Figsby tried to bring a Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) team to the West Island a number of years back. They have taken baby steps at trying to get the West Island community to embrace this elite squad and it is hoped this will come together in the 2020-21 season. You can see them play at home this Saturday at 3:45 pm when they host Princeville then on March 1 (1:30 pm) against Gatineau, March 2 (8 pm) against Chambly and the final home contest of the season March 6 vs. Valleyfield.
“We run this franchise first class all the way,” Beaconsfield resident MacDonald said. “We are the only team in the league that travels to all of our away games by bus. This year has been a learning experience; how trades are done, the networking process. At the start of the year we were losing games 13-2 and 9-1, but lately we have turned things around. I am already excited for next season!”
HOME ALONE: Actress Ellie Kemper was spotted in Beaconsfield last week filming scenes for the reboot of the popular 1990 motion picture Home Alone. British actor Archie Yates from JoJo Rabbit fame plays the lead called Max instead of Kevin.