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CHL Weekend Review: Hockey returns to the QMJHL

 

It’s good to be back!

The 2020-21 Canadian Hockey League season is officially underway with 18 games played across the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on opening weekend.

Here’s a look back at some of the highlights:

Four perfect starts

All 18 teams have played two games to date with just four holding perfect 2-0 records including the Acadie-Bathurst Titan, Blainville-Boisbriand Armada, Charlottetown Islanders, and Victoriaville Tigres.

Special celebration in Sherbrooke

The reigning regular season champion Sherbrooke Phoenix opened at home on Friday night where they raised commemorative banners to the rafters of the Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet in recognition of their record setting 51-8-3-1 season and 106 points which ranked first across the CHL.

Labelle strikes first

Vincent Labelle of the Moncton Wildcats scored the first goal of the 2020-21 season at 5:32 of the first period in a Friday home date against the Islanders. The 18-year-old from Ottawa was playing in his first career QMJHL game.

Arsenault shuts the door

The first shutout of the QMJHL season went to rookie Chad Arsenault of the Titan who turned aside all 34 shots he faced Sunday against the Wildcats. The milestone comes just two days after the 18-year-old rookie from Wellington, PE, recorded his first career win.

Tourigny earns weekly honour

Defenceman Miguel Tourigny of the Armada scored three goals and two assists for five points to claim QMJHL Player of the Week honours. The 18-year-old from Victoriaville produced 30 points in 61 games last season and is now in his third year with the team after being selected in the second round of the 2018 QMJHL Entry Draft.

Team of the Week

Tourigny was among the six players recognized in the QMJHL’s first Team of the Week that also included defenceman Lukas Cormier from Charlottetown. The forward group includes 2020 NHL Draft prospects Hendrix Lapierre of the Chicoutimi Sagueneens, Xavier Simoneau of the Drummondville Voltigeurs, and Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Mikhail Abramov from Victoriaville. Arsenault was given the nod in goal.

Armada launch 10th anniversary

It is a special season in Blainville-Boisbriand where the Armada are celebrating their 10th anniversary season. The puck dropped for them in style as they sported new theme jerseys to launch the festivities. Since the organization transitioned from the Montreal Juniors in 2011-12 the Armada have won four division titles and played in back-to-back QMJHL Finals in 2017 and 2018.

New look rinks

While fans are not permitted to attend games in Quebec, some clubs like the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies got creative with 400 photo cut outs covering some of their seats. Maritimes Division teams like the Halifax Mooseheads are allowed to have fans attend, with masks, while occupying socially distant seating layouts.

New captains

In the days prior to puck drop more than half of the league announced new captains for the 2020-21 campaign including Mathieu Desgagnes (Acadie-Bathurst), Shawn Element (Cape Breton), Brett Budgell (Charlottetown), Samuel Houde (Chicoutimi), Manix Landry (Gatineau), Justin Barron (Halifax), Gabriel Fortier & Jacob Hudson (Moncton), Thomas Caron (Quebec), Nathan Oullet (Rimouski Oceanic), Mavrik Bourque (Shawinigan), Mikhail Abramov (Victoriaville).

Leadership groups

Several other teams including Baie-Comeau, Drummondville, Rouyn-Noranda, Saint John, and Sherbrooke confirmed either returning captains or announced their alternates for the upcoming season.

Mooseheads keeping kids in the game

The 2019 Memorial Cup presented by Kia continues to give back with the club committing a total of $150,000 from funds raised during the event to benefit 38 associations across Nova Scotia to help pay registration fees for young players. The donation will help keep 500 kids in the game by providing a one-time $300 bursary for those in need.

#CIBCRunForTheCure

When the world stopped, breast cancer didn’t, and neither did Team CIBC! The Official Bank of the CHL continued their pledge to support people affected by breast cancer with the annual CIBC Run For The Cure. The virtual event had over 25,000 participants who raised more than $8.5 million.

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