French leaves CeeBees

The Compass - - SPORTS - BY AN­DREW ROBIN­SON

If the Con­cep­tion Bay North CeeBee Stars are to chal­lenge for a Herder Me­mo­rial Cham­pi­onship in 2011, the team will have to do so with­out one of its long­est-serv­ing mem­bers.

Matthew French has de­cided to leave the CeeBees for the re­main­der of the sea­son. He ap­peared in the team’s first four games, col­lect­ing one goal along with 21 penalty min­utes.

“ There were com­mit­ments for work, and fam­ily com­mit­ments,” says French, who be­came the tech­ni­cal di­rec­tor for the Bay Arena Mi­nor Hockey As­so­ci­a­tion on Oct. 18 and has three chil­dren with his part­ner, in­clud­ing a three-month-old daugh­ter.

The Clarke’s Beach res­i­dent is also the owner and op­er­a­tor of a com­mer­cial power-wash­ing com­pany.

The 27-year-old defenceman has suited up for the CeeBees in each of the last seven sea­sons. In 84 ca­reer games, French has notched 29 goals and 49 as­sists for 78 points to go along with 199 penalty min­utes. His best sea­son came last year, when French scored eight goals and added 20 as­sists for 28 points in 20 games.

He was also a mem­ber of the CeeBees for three con­sec­u­tive Herder Me­mo­rial Tro­phy wins be­tween 2006 and 2008.

While French says it is dis­ap­point­ing he will no longer be able to play for the CeeBees this sea­son, the time to do so just was not avail­able.

“ I have a new com­pany I’m run­ning, and I have work at the Bay Arena, and a young fam­ily.”

How­ever, he will not rule out the pos­si­bil­ity of re­turn­ing to the team in fu­ture sea­sons.

“There’s a pos­si­bil­ity, depend­ing on work and what next year brings. Depend­ing on where I am, and what my pri­or­i­ties are.”

Prior to join­ing the CeeBees, French spent time in mul­ti­ple ju­nior hockey leagues. He played with the Cape Bre­ton Scream­ing Ea­gles of the Que­bec Ma­jor Ju­nior Hockey League in the 2000-01 sea­son, where he col­lected four points in 39 games.

Two years later, he played with the Yarmouth Mariners of the Mar­itime Ju­nior Hockey League, notch­ing 43 points in 37 games. The year be­fore he joined the CeeBees, French played with the Mil­ton Ice­hawks of the On­tario Ju­nior Hockey League. He scored 39 points in as many games.

CeeBees coach Ian Moores says while it is a big loss to the team, he can re­spect French’s de­ci­sion.

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