St-Lazare Revolution head coach Eric Labrosse (right) and general manager Dustin Traylen display the hockey jersey of the new team last Thursday. Pierre Obendrauf / Montreal Gazette
Junior hockey made its debut in St-Lazare on the weekend as the hometown Revolution kicked off the 2017-2018 Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League season.
The Revolution dropped their opening two games, including a 7-4 setback to the St-Jérome Panthères in Saturday’s home opener in front of more than 500 fans at the St-Lazare Sports Complex.
But even the mayor of St-Lazare has apparently caught the buzz around the first-year team, which relocated from Vaudreuil-Dorion.
“It’s amazing,” said St-Lazare Mayor Robert Grimaudo. “This team kind of fell in our lap.
“St-Lazare is an extremely young community, the second youngest in Quebec” said the mayor. “Thirty percent of the population here is under 25, so there’s going to the huge amount of young kids watching junior hockey now.”
The Revolution unveiled its team sweaters and coaching staff at a press conference last week. In keeping with St-Lazare’s other minor sports clubs, the team colours feature burgundy, with white and gold trim.
Head coach Eric Labrosse said the goal this season is to make the playoffs, but he also expects the team to be competitive in its inaugural campaign.
Labrosse’s assistant coaches include former NHLers P.J. Stock and Mike Gaul, both local residents.
The impressive group was brought together by general manager/coach and team co-owner Dustin Traylen, who also runs the Brockville Braves junior A team in Ontario.
“Our goals are clear, our direction is clear in St-Lazare,” Traylen said. “The program that we have is an academic-driven program which is pretty unique to the junior AAA level. It’s something I’m really proud to bring to Quebec.
“We have great group of kids and we have a strong, strong coaching staff. I would challenge anyone to find a better staff with two ex-NHLers
“Head coach Eric Labrosse coached at Concordia last year. And myself, I’m a pretty experienced guy at the CCHL level and university ranks. So I’m very pleased and excited.”
Gaul, 44, said he jumped at the opportunity to coach a local junior team.
“I love the community feel,” he said. “There are so many great young kids in the community that are playing minor hockey, in minor sports in general, that don’t have that magnet team to cheer for. They’re going in to watch the (Lac-St. Louis) Lions play or to Châteauguay to watch games.”
Nick Snow, a local Trois-Lacs product, was named the first captain of the Revolution.
Snow played last season with the Vaudreuil-Dorion Mustangs, but is happy to be part of a new franchise.
“They gave me the opportunity to further my career, whether it’s NCAA or Canadian university, I can only thank them for that,” he said.
The Revolution’s next home game is Saturday (4 p.m.) against the Gatineau Flames at the St-Lazare Sports Complex.
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