McGill hockey star wins Guy Lafleur Trophy
MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens and Molson's-Coors brewery announced Wednesday that Francis Verreault-Paul, a forward with the McGill University Redmen, has won the Guy Lafleur trophy as the Quebec university player who best combines hockey with academic success and citizenship.
Also honoured from Quebec's two other major levels of hockey was Nicolas Therrien of the Chicoutimi Saguenéens (QMJHL) and Guillaume Therrien of Collège Français de Longueuil (QJAHL). Both of them have committed to playing for the McGill Redmen next season.
Verreault-Paul, a 24-year-old, hails from Mashteuiatsh, Que., an Innu community located about six kilometres north of Roberval, in the Saguenay - Lac St. Jean region of Quebec.
He becomes the 14th McGill player in 27 years to win the award - which is accompanied by a $6,000 bursary over three years - since it was inaugurated in 1985. Among the former Redmen who previously won the honour is current Tampa Bay Lightning head coach Guy Boucher and Montreal Canadiens left-winger Mathieu Darche.
"It's the greatest honour that I ever had," said an emotional Verreault-Paul who didn't speak any English when he first enrolled at McGill in 2008. "It's been tough to study in a different language but I am happy with my decision. It means a lot to me to receive this honour which has gone to some great players. A guy like Mathieu Darche who also won this award, has been kind of like a role model to me for my future in hockey."
Only the second aboriginal to play hockey for McGill, Verreault-Paul was recruited out of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, where he played five seasons with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens (2003-2008), serving as team captain in his final campaign
On the ice, the 5-foot-10, 178-pound right-winger scored 38 goals and 60 points in 35 games overall with McGill last year, the third highest single-season goal total in McGill history. In regular season play, he posted a 28-14-42 record in 19 contests and despite missing nine games due to injury, he still led the nation in goals for the second straight season.
In the classroom, he achieved 24 credits over the school year and switched academic programs from education (kinesiology) to science (psychology), improving his grade-point average significantly, earning a GPA of 3.13 (the equivalent of 78.3%) in the winter semester.
"Francis brings a high tempo pace to every practice and game and has become a leader for the Redmen, both on and off the ice," says Kelly Nobes, head coach of the Redmen. "He is highly respected by his teammates and the coaching staff alike. Despite his small stature, he is feisty and has a competitive nature that is one of his greatest assets. An extremely dynamic offensive player, Francis is an explosive skater, possesses quick hands around the net and has proven to be a prolific goal-scorer at the CIS level. Not only is he great offensively but he is also a good two-way player and played a key role in helping McGill win the league championship."
Therrien, a 21-year old defenceman who captained the Saguenéens in 2010-11, studied economy and management at Cégep de Chicoutimi, where he achieved an academic average of 89 per cent. He earned the QMJHL's Marcel Robert Award as the scholastic player of the year. A steady 5-foot-10, 185-pound blueliner, he contributed offensively as well with 44 points, including 12 goals, in 68 regular season games. Off the ice, he attended several community events in support of worthy causes, including the fight against cancer. He also helped raise funds for the Grande Guignolée and was a regular participant at several local blood drives and visited the children at the pediatrics department of the Chicoutimi general hospital.
Langelier-Parent is a 21-year old centre whose brother Maxime currently stars with the Redmen. An offensive sparkplug, the native of Lery, Que., scored 25 goals and 63 points in 42 games last season. He added another 26 points, including 7 goals, in 16 playoff games. Enrolled at Collège Édouard-Montpetit, he graduated in nature science with an academic average of 84 per cent. He is currently a part-time student at McGill, majoring in civil engineering program, where he earned an A- average in his first semester. He was the Scholastic Personality of the Year in 2007, while playing with the Midget AAA Patriotes. Since 2008, he has volunteered in a home for the elderly and has raised non-perishable food items for the Grande Guignolée.
PREVIOUS UNIVERSITY RECIPIENTS OF THE GUY LAFLEUR TROPHY:
1985 Paul Gagné, UQAC
1986 Mark Reade, McGill
1987 Alain Bisson, UQTR
1988 Tim Iannone, McGill
1989 Richard Laplante, Concordia
1990 Benoit Gosselin, UQTR
1991 Robert Desjardins, Concordia
1992 Patrick Jeanson, McGill
1993 Guy Boucher, McGill
1994 Patrick Genest, UQTR
1995 (tie) Todd Marcellus, McGill & Alain Coté, UQTR
1996 Pierre Gendron, McGill
1997 Louis-Simon Ferland, McGill
1998 Vincent Labossière, Concordia
1999 Mathieu Darche, McGill
2000 Luc Bélanger, UQTR
2001 Paul Theriault, McGill
2002 Philippe Ozga, Concordia
2003 (tie) Bruno Lemire, McGill & Pat Theriault, Concordia
2004 Fredéric Faucher, Concordia
2005 Mathieu Poitras, McGill
2006 Karl Gagné, Concordia
2007 Jean-Michel Filiatrault, McGill
2008 Nicolas Désilets, UQTR
2009 Marc-André Dorion, McGill
2010 Francis Charland, UQTR
2011 Francis Verreault-Paul, McGill
McGill Athletics & Recreation