I was sorry to hear about the demise of the Lac St. Louis Revolution, the West Island entry in the la Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Québec (LHJAAAQ). Well there is good news as well. Dustin Traylen sold the franchise to businessman Patrick McDonald and the team was instantly reborn as the West Island Shamrocks. They will play out of the Sportplexe Pierrefonds, like the Revolution, and have veteran hockey minds Kevin Figsby as team president and James Desmarais as director of hockey operations. The latter served in that role and as head coach this past season.
Yes, I happen to be a fan of the Junior AAA circuit. For the past five years, in fact, I carved out a partnership between the English Montreal School Board and the Montreal North Arctic. Owners Joe Perretta and Lina Di Giovanni brought players out to the local schools, arranged massive ticket giveways and special pre-game ceremonies. But recently Perretta shut down operations, dispersing his roster. but keeping territorial rights. He plans to be back in a few years. So now perhaps I will turn my attention to the Shamrocks.
“We are hoping to build a following for junior hockey on the West Island,” said Figsby, who coached the Concordia Stingers and latterly worked for Hockey Canada. “With former players like James and our new head coach Mike Stinziani, we have a staff who have been associated with the game. The League is moving forward with new initiatives along with the Canadian Junior Hockey League and I’m hoping to be able to contribute and encourage kids to stay in Quebec.”
The Shamrocks have a mini-camp on June 28 and 29 and a press conference set for this week.
As for Traylen, he took this partially well-deserved shot at the league. “It is a disaster with no direction,” he said. “They don’t follow Hockey Canada rules, most of the players lack motivation to play and have discipline issues off the ice. We gave it a go for two seasons. In the end my model of sending kids to the NCAA is not something that the LHJAAAQ will ever actually care for. ”
WEST ISLANDER ON SHORT LIST: The CW’s Arrow star actress Emily Bett Rickards has selected a shortlist of 11 incredible actors out of more than 500 global applicants to be considered for prestigious full-ride acting scholarships to the Vancouver Film School in Canada. Rickards selected finalists from around the world based on creative potential and consideration for any hardships or obstacles they’ve overcome in pursuing their creative dream. Chloe Meloche from Saint-Lazare was one of them. All 11 shortlisted finalists will receive a partial scholarship with two full-tuition winners being selected in early June to receive a full-scholarship to enroll in the VFS Acting for Film & Television program and also the Acting Essentials programs this year, valued at up to $50,000 US each.
TOYS R FRANK: Last Wednesday Frank Juhasz, one of the protagonists behind the revival of ToysRUs in Canada, was in town. Last year, the brand was in the news in the U.S. with a very controversial bankruptcy. But in Canada, the brand is not only alive – but feeling extremely optimistic about the future. Owned by Fairfax Financial Holdings – a Canadian company – Toys”R”Us Canada has announced a new play ambassador (Meganne Dagenais from Montreal), exciting partnerships, repatriated its IT platforms to Canada (from U.S.) and made major investments in technology and innovation. The future of the brand’s 16 stores in Quebec, including Pointe Claire, (82 in the country) and more than 565 employees in Quebec (3,613 across the country), is looking good said Juhasz.