FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
MAY 6th, 2019
TRAIL, B.C. – The Trail Smoke Eaters Junior ‘A’ Hockey Club is pleased to announce forward Philippe Lapointe (’00) has committed to the team for the 2019/20 season and has also been named as the team’s Captain for the upcoming campaign.
Lapointe, 19, makes his way to the West Kootenays after playing two seasons in the United State Hockey League (USHL), splitting his time between playing for the Lincoln Stars and Central Illinois Flying Aces. The 5’11”, 194-pound forward registered 8 goals and 28 assists for 36 points, along with 77 penalty minutes, in 78 career games with Lincoln before spending the majority of 2018/19 season in Central Illinois, earning 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in 41 games played as well as 50 penalty minutes. Lapointe is no stranger to a big stage, taking part in the USHL/NHL Prospects Game in 2018 and also making an appearance at the Pittsburgh Penguins Development Camp in 2018 as well.
The Hinsdale, Illinois native played alongside of Smoke Eaters committed forward Braden Costello in the 2017 CCM/USA Hockey All-American Prospects Game in Buffalo, New York as well as participating in the 2017 Hlinka Gretzky Cup in the Czech Republic and Slovakia where the top under-18 players in the world come together for Team USA. Lapointe was an assistant captain to begin the season with the Stars in 2018/19 and will serve as the Captain of the Smoke Eaters for the 2019/20 season. Lapointe will join current Smoke Eaters forward Kent Johnson at the University of Michigan as the two are committed to the play with the Wolverines after the completion of their Junior hockey career.
Hockey runs deep in the Lapointe family with two brothers that hit the ice and a father who is well decorated at all levels of the game. Martin Lapointe had a very successful playing career, earning two Stanley Cup championships in back-to-back years in 1997 and 1998 with the Detroit Red Wings. Lapointe amassed 181 goals and 200 assists for 381 points in 991 career NHL games while also winning gold medals in the World Junior Hockey Championship with Canada in 1991 and 1993.
“Today is a great day for the Trail Smoke Eaters organization with the signing of Philippe Lapointe,” commented Smoke Eaters General Manager and Head Coach Jeff Tambellini, “Philippe was one of the most highly sought after players in the BCHL and USHL this offseason and we are excited to add him to our team and make him our Captain for the upcoming season.”
“Philippe is a dynamic power forward who possesses elite skill and an outstanding Hockey IQ,” continued the Smoke Eaters bench boss, “His competitiveness, professionalism and leadership history makes me extremely confident that he will be one of the best captains Trail has ever had.”
Everything about the organization and community caught the eye of the newest Smoke Eater on a recent visit to the West Kootenays, “The opportunity to play under a head coach like Jeff Tambellini was a big draw for me,” stated Lapointe, “He understands what players need and communicates very well with his players.”
“When I visited Trail, I loved it,” continued the Smoke Eaters forward, “A perfect small hockey town that has a tradition of winning and that is something I want to bring back to Trail. I feel that this organization has all the pieces to win a championship and I’m excited to be a part of that process.”
Being named as the next Captain of the franchise is a big responsibility but one that Lapointe is looking forward to, “It’s a huge honour. Coming into Trail, Coach has a lot of belief and trust in me so to be put in that leadership role is a huge responsibility and something that I don’t take lightly,” mentioned Lapointe, “Coming into a new team being Captain, there will be an adjustment period but there will be a lot of guys coming back from last year’s team and bringing a lot of leadership with them. I’m excited to learn from my teammates and build strong relationships, working hard on and off the ice every day.”
The Smoke Eaters would like to welcome Philippe and his family to the organization as well as the City of Trail.
Season tickets are now on sale for the 2019/20 Smoke Eaters season and can be purchased at the Smoke Eaters Main Office, located in the Trail Memorial Centre. Early bird pricing is available until May 31st with season ticket packages offered at $229 for Adults and $119 for Students. Office hours are set for 9:00 AM and 4:00 PM and open Monday through Friday.