Ville-Marie Pirates Aim for Repeat as Russell Cup Champions
They look to pick up where they left off following a busy off-seasonAugust 6th, 2019 at 9:49AM August 6th, 2019 4:11PM
Ville-Marie, Quebec- In GMHL history, only one team, the Bradford Rattlers, has managed to claim the Russell Cup more than once, and they are also the only team to win Russell Cup Championships back-to-back. The Ville-Marie Pirates are looking to change that this season, and have spent the off-season building another championship contending team.
Nearly a month after their 2019 Russell Cup Championship, the Pirates were already back to work to get ready for the 2019-2020 Season. The Pirates held their pre-camp on May 6th, where they scouted local players around the area a week before the GMHL Draft. The Pirates front office was very happy with their pre-camp, and were ready for the draft the following week, where they made twelve selections. Following the draft, the Pirates made multiple signings, bringing back former players from the championship team, as well as adding new players to the team.
Key Re-Signings: The Pirates were able to re-sign some players from the following season, including Justin Rivest (May 31), Étienne Duchesne (June 3), Cedrik Therrien (June 19) and Vincent Blanchette (June 27). They also re-signed three players who have been a part of the team since it’s inaugural season, and will be in their third season with the Pirates: Alex Peeters (June 6), Jean-Mathieu Ouellet (June 24), and Alex Montreuil (July 8). All of these players bring some experience to the table, and the Pirates staff hopes that they can be leaders on the team next year.
Key Additions: In addition to re-signing players from last season, the Pirates have brought in some new players as well. The Pirates were able to sign their second round draft pick Vincent Ethier, a three year junior veteran who played in the QJAAAHL, where he was a point per a game player. The Pirates also signed Maxime Potvin as a free agent, who also played in the QJAAAHL, where he had a total of 29 Points. Other signings include: defenceman John Goodson, Sean Fink, Charles Maranda, and Jérôme Marcoux. The Pirates hope that these players will be able to become impact players and fill the holes left by former players who have aged out.
Key Departures: Unfortunately for the Pirates, they lost some incredible players this year who have aged out. Up front they lost Samuel Begin, who had 71 Points for the team last season. On the backend, they lost Allan Villand who was a big body and played top four minutes for the team. In net, they lost Giulio Costa who was a mid-season addition who ended up being the Playoff MVP for the Pirates. The biggest losses for the team though are Assistant Captain Hugo Blum and Captain Nicolas Bellerose, who combined for a total of 161 Points between the two of them, as well as being excellent leaders for the team. It’s never easy to replace players, but the Pirates hope that between the returning and new players they have signed, someone will be able to step up.
Trades: The Pirates also made a couple of trades this off-season as well. The Pirates traded goalie Nicklas Gunner to the Almaguin Spartans for a 12th Round Pick and Future Considerations. They also made a trade with the Tottenham Steam, giving the Steam an 11th Round Conditional Pick for the rights to Julien Vogt and Kansas Hart. The Pirates have signed Vogt, who used to play on the Pirates local rivals, the Temiscaming Titans, so the team has seen him quite a bit. Pirates Front Office Staff, Marc-André Caron said about the trade, "When Julien was available on the trade market, my interest for him was instant. I had some good discussions with Head Coach Alain Mercier and Denis Montreuil about him. We established that it could be a good fit for our organization and all three of us loved the way he played against us in the last two seasons. Julien was very happy to be signed to Ville-Marie and to sign his contract. The greatest assets he has are his speed and flair around the net. Like any player, he will have things to work on in order to define his role with us but he seems very motivated. "
The Pirates training camp begins in one week and then they will have their home-opener on Saturday, September 7th, where they will begin the long journey to try to repeat as Russell Cup Champions.