Sometimes, in running a school club, we need big brother’s help.
For the Lions, during the first two years of their history, this was not very much the case. However, for the past few days, we have seen a change in attitude on the part of the Laval Rocket organization.
Indeed, the Lions of Trois-Rivières received the help of their big brother who signed two players on two-part AHL/ECHL contracts, thus allowing them to start filling the line-up of the Trois-Rivières team.
One less question mark in net
First of all, a first goalkeeper was signed with this kind of contract. This is the former goalkeeper of the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the QMJHL and the Wichita Thunder in the ECHL, Zachary Émond.
The 23-year-old goaltender, Memorial Cup champion in 2019, will be on his 3rd team in the ECHL having first played for the Orlando Solar Bears and the Wichita Thunder. He also made 12 starts in 2021-22 with the San Jose Barracuda in the ECHL. Last year, the St-Cyprien native posted a 2.22 goals-against average and a 0.936 save percentage.
A good signing of a young goalkeeper who returns to keep goals in his native province and who will establish a very good base in front of the Trois-Rivières team.
A replacement for Galipeau
The second signing of the two-way contract type with the Laval Rocket, we have the signing of a right-handed offensive defenseman, Noah Laaouan.
The 22-year-old defender will be in his second pro season. After a productive junior stint with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles and the Charlottetown Islanders, Laaouan played his first season with the Atlanta Gladiators in the ECHL where he had a total of 8 goals and 15 assists in 57 met. He also had his chance with the Tucson Roadrunners in the AHL, with whom he played two games.
Without a shadow of a doubt, it will be the replacement for Olivier Galipeau who carved out a position with the Laval Rocket at the end of the 2022-2023 season.
Other big returns with the Lions
The management team went into overdrive as they informed us in recent days the signings of returning two veterans from last year. They are the big guy Nicolas Larivière and the record holder for the most goals in a season with the Lions, Anthony Beauregard.
With these signings, the excitement is back among fans who see the team looking to improve while keeping some crowd favorites for another season, a point that had been criticized over the previous management.
In addition to the signings, the team has issued qualifying offers to the following players: forwards Zach Kaiser, Nicolas Guay, Cole Gallant and defensemen Bradley Johnson, Sam Dunn, Connor Welsh, Shane Kuzmeski, Alex Breton.
A little more potential help from Laval
To add to these two-way contract signings, the Laval Rocket also signed players to one-way contracts: defender Tobie Bisson, forwards Jared Davidson and Jakob Novak and goaltender Strauss Mann. With these signings and the staff already in place at the Rocket, we can think that some of these players will report to the Trois-Rivières Lions to start the next season.
Will it be Straus Mann or Joe Vrbetic who will complete the goaltending tandem that will start the season in Trois-Rivières? That’s a question that will be answered in training camp.