Jeff Leblanc, Alpine’s first player

Jeff Leblanc, Alpine's first player

David-Alexander Beauregard, Pierre Deganis and Sebastian Roger may have marked people’s imaginations with their aggressive feats, given the fact that Jeff LeBlanc is the first hockey player associated with Moncton Alpine history at QMJHL.

It is Tuesday, May 2, 1995 and the National League has completed its regular season, a schedule shortened to 48 games due to a fall in the previous game.

However, on this day, we especially remember pain Montreal Canadiens fans who kept their favorites out of the playoffs for the first time in 25 years.

Not to mention that Quebec Nordic, despite a glorious season – second behind the Detroit Red Wings – is making headlines about an increasingly frequent rumor that is sending teams to Denver, Colorado.

And all of this takes place between the Titan and the Olympics of Hull, the French College of Laval, in the final of the President’s Cup, led by Michel Theren and Robert Mongren respectively.

The day before, in the fog of the very moist center Robert-Guartin, the Titan won 3 to reduce the 2–1 margin in a series between 6 and 3, which the Olympics nevertheless won in five matches. Note that Gordy Dyer, along with others, Jodie Theodore, Peter Worrell and Sebastian Bordelue, enjoyed the championship.

In short, it is on the evening of Tuesday, May 2 that the QMJHL presents its auction dedicated to maritime and United States players. The “real”, dwarf draft, came a month later.

Moncton Alpine, who was granted a concession shortly before Christmas, has the first pick and is developed by Jeff LeBlanc, a 6-foot-1, 175-pound defenseman developed by the municipality’s middle AAA team. Setting their sights on. The flyers.

Aged 15 spring, LeBlanc also wears the label of the future player of the National League, so that it is unanimous among the major juniors’ recruiters across the country.

It should be noted that in 1995, while Nova Scotia hockey players are now part of the QMJHL region since the Halifax Moshheads visited the venue last year, players from the other three Atlantic provinces still have the option to select the league where they are Want to sport.

It is thanks to this regulation, which will come to an end in the following months, that Luke Believe, son of Pierre (Pete) Believe, former head coach of the Universe Bleu of the Université de Moncton, opposes the OHL. He will make his first selection with the North Bay Centennials. Ditto for another New Brunswick, Tyson Flynn, was also drafted in the first round by the Sudbury Wolves.

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Less than Beliveau and Flynn, LeBlanc is even more popular because a dozen OHL teams are seriously eyeing it. Apparently, general manager and Alpine head coach Lucian DeBliss is also very active. There is no question of letting such a high ranked local player go. After careful consideration with the family, LeBlanc eventually gave in to Alpine’s invitation.

LeBlanc said, “Looking back, OLL could have been a better option for me, the kind of player I was”. I was a defensive player who excelled mostly on penalty kills. I ultimately chose QMJHL because I felt it would be better for my development to stay at home. “

“And then, the fact that my father was a huge fan of Lewis Canadiens and Lucian DeBliss is just a former CH has helped a bit”, he ends up running away with a small laugh.

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Although he expected the win to be too low for this first season, LeBlanc never considered the adventure alive, which would mark the following months.

After the team avoided bankruptcy in mid-November, President John Graham resigned and sold his stake in the team to local investors. We also learn that the team is already in the red for $ 400,000.

“We managed the team as if they were Montreal Canadiens, but we were just a junior roster,” Canadian President Clark Buskard told The Canada Press.

“I’m a little embarrassed,” also admitted QMJHL president Gilles Courteau to The Canadian Press. We were sure that Moncton would be a good hockey town and I continue to believe so. “

LeBlanc remembers this troubled period well.

“There shouldn’t be many teams that have had a season like ours,” he said. At one point the team had run out of money and Lucian had filled his credit card. It was true that he was paying for his pocket, sticks, hot tape, food, hotel, everything. We had to stick to sticks from other teams to play our game. it was embarrassing. We were about to fulfill our dream of playing in major juniors. The Giants have had enough and called a meeting. “

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“We were in Booport then and people did not want to go to Chitauti for the next game if the league could not find a solution. I remember that Martin Latulippe had called Gilles Courtue to tell us that we were not going to play the game in Chittoumee. I hardly dare to know what would have happened if social media had returned in the day. The history of sticks today is ridiculous. But it was lower at that time, ”says LeBlanc.

The team would eventually be overseen by QMJHL and eventually sold to Robert Irving, who, very quickly, would make it one of the strongest organizations in the country.

“Even though it was a very difficult season, I learned a lot despite everything. Want, not want, it builds character when you experience things like this. Among other things, I learned a lot of things when you run a hockey club. Lusine DeBliss and Roland Colette were amazing for the players. Lucian is also one of my favorite coaches. He always treated me well and with respect, ”said Jeff LeBlanc, who then retired as coach in the Maritimes Junior League (MHL).

He led the first Dieppe commandos, then the Amherst Ramblers. For the past two years, Leblanc has focused solely on his role as general manager with the Ramblers.

In short…

Jeff Leblanc is one of five players to play in the first home games in Alpine and Wildcats history. The other four are Weston Father, Sebastian Roger, Stephen Quark and Jonathan Courtsol. Despite being dissatisfied with its use, Acedian requested a transaction from Bill Riley, which made DeBolis successful for the dual role of the team’s general manager and head coach. It would eventually be sent to the Drummondville Waltziers in return for a first-round option in the draft (Jonathan Gauthier), and a fifth-round pick that the Wildcats would later pass on to Bei-Komu Drucker. “As I was a local player, there was another pressure that came with my selection for the first year. I was only 15 at the time and I was not mentally prepared for it. This pressure is also one of the reasons that prompted me to ask for an exchange. People believed I was going to be Bobby Orr, while I was a strong defender with a defensive character “, recalls LeBlanc …

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Included in the playoffs, Jeff LeBlanc played a total of 243 games during his four seasons in the QMJHL with Alpine, Drummond Voltigeurs and Quebec Rempart. He tallied 30 assists for nine goals and 39 points, taking a total of 1,146 penalty minutes. “I still had a great junior career and it allowed me to attend NHL training camp with the New York Islanders in 1998. I got to hang out with many good players like Zigmund Palfi, Zadeno Chara, Trevor Linden and Eric Cruiser. Mike Milbury was the coach. It’s been a great experience, “he says…

In his favorite anecdote with Alpine, Jeff Leblanc recalled a preparation game played at Beauport against the Harfangs. “We were in the middle of training camp and I battled twice against Jimmy Provencher, a 20-year-old striker from Harfangs. There was not really a winner in two fights. For the second time, Captain Martin Latulipay got it from Provenature. Headed down the penalty bench to say: “Hey, do you realize that you clashed twice with the youngest player in the league?” I really appreciated Martin. I was 15 years old, he told me. Gave confidence. It was really leadership, “LeBlanc remembers …

Another beautiful memory of LeBlanc with Alpine is a game played on February 2, 1996, at the J-Louis-Levesque Arena against the Gambi Predators, the final Memorial Cup winner a few months later. Granny had formed a club full of people such as Francis Buillon and Georges Larke. The Colosseum was not available that night and we had to play our game on the ice of the Eagles Blues. This was special because even though the Colosseum had a large number of spectators, it seems that it was more full than usual. The atmosphere was different and much better. It was one of our best games that night. We lost by a goal (6 to 5). There was still something to do that went against such a good team. After all, we were just a group of crooks with rejections from other teams. We had good players, but they were not enough, “he said with a laugh …

Editor’s Note: The series of texts on the Moncton Alps continues tomorrow with an interview with David-Alexander Beauregard.

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