(FREDERICTON, NB) Five members of the two-time defending U SPORTS men’s hockey champion UNB Varsity Reds are attending NHL team development camps this week.
That number is significant, according to Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall.
“The Varsity Reds have been the model of excellence on the ice recently with three national championships in the past five years and are also excelling in the aspect of player development,” said MacDougall. “Ours is the only team in the past decade to have players signed to NHL contracts directly out of school and this week another standard was set with five players from the 2016-17 team attending NHL team development camps.”
Among the players attending camps is reigning AUS MVP and U SPORTS Player of the Year Philippe Maillet, who is at the Los Angeles Kings development camp. In May, Maillet joined the Kings’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Ontario Reign, where he had 2 goals and 2 assists in eight games. The same month saw Maillet become just the second UNB student-athlete to win the prestigious BLG Award as the Canadian university male athlete of the year.
Two-time U SPORTS Defenceman of the Year Jordan Murray, who finished the hockey season with the AHL’s Binghamton Senators, is attending the Ottawa Senators camp.
Francis Beauvillier is one of 17 forwards invited to the Winnipeg Jets camp. He signed with Winnipeg’s AHL team, the Manitoba Moose, following the University Cup and went on to score 4 goals and 1 assist in five games.
University Cup and AUS All Star netminder Etienne Marcoux is at camp with the NHL’s Western Conference champion Nashville Predators. He played two seasons with the Varsity Reds and just finished summer courses last week to complete his Business degree. Marcoux will graduate at the Fall convocation.
And following an excellent rookie season with the Varsity Reds, centre Mark Simpson is attending the Washington Capitals summer and fall camps. Simpson is a Computer Science student and achieved Academic All-Canadian status in his first year at UNB.
Maillet, Murray, and Beauvillier weren’t the only Varsity Reds to see action in the American Hockey League following UNB’s 2017 University Cup win. Fifth-year senior Cam Braes played with the Stockton Heat, the Calgary Flames’ AHL affiliate.
“More than sixty UNB players have gone on from here to play in the AHL," said MacDougall.
Development camps are used by the NHL teams to grade and rank players new to their systems. A number of camps began earlier this week, with others still to open, and will run through the next two weeks.