‘It’s a hidden gem’
Lavigne said the calibre of play in the Newfoundland Senior Hockey League was a surprise to him.
“It’s not something we hear a lot about being outside of Newfoundland. I’ve heard a bit before but never paid much attention to it. Now that I’ve seen it first hand, it’s a hidden gem,” he said.
Lavigne recently got his first taste of NLSHL action when the CeeBees opened the season in Gander Oct. 20-21, and he was impressed by what he saw on the ice.
The league is ripe with talent a couple of steps away from professional hockey and the Ontario native feels lucky to be skating with the players.
“I get to play with former NHL draft picks,” he said.
One thing that sticks out to Lavigne is that the players have a life outside of the game.
“It’s pretty cool to have players who play hockey as a second job, you know, have a regular life and then get to play that high calibre of hockey,” he said.
Coming to Harbour Grace
Lavigne graduated from St. Thomas last spring and was all set to take a crack at professional hockey when he got a call to do his Masters in Business Administration at the University of New Brunswick.
The Varsity Reds already had two fifth-year goaltenders — Travis Fullerton and Daniel LaCosta — so Lavigne decided take the year and concentrate on his studies.
Without a spot, head coach Gardiner MacDougall got Lavigne in contact with CeeBees head coach and general manager Corey Crocker.
Lavigne was unaware of the history behind the CeeBees organization. It was not until he arrived in St. John’s for the first team skate in September that he realized just how steeped in history it was.
Crocker had high words of praise for Lavigne after he helped the CeeBees win the first two games of the season.
“He’s confident with the puck and showed signs of brilliance,” Crocker said.