Determined to improve on his team’s first season in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League, Hearst Lumberjacks coach-general manager Marc Lafleur has spent the summer signing high-end players new and old ahead of the 2018-2019 campaign.
Among the off-season additions is Hearst native Raphael Lecours. The 6-foot-4, 220-pound power forward will play his final season of junior eligibility in his hometown after starring at the Jr. B level in Ottawa in 2017-2018 where he netted 27 goals in 40 games.
Lecours will join a smattering of key returnees on the Hearst forward lines that includes London, Ont. native Max Griffioen. Griffioen, who has a 1999 birth date and has size at 6-foot-1, 185 pounds, finished third on the Lumberjacks scoring chart in 2017-2018 with 53 points, including 22 goals.
Hearst finished in fourth place in the East Division of the NOJHL in 2017-2018 with 49 points from a record of 23-30-3 and had goal-tending issues for the majority of the season.
Ergo, Lafleur went out and obtained a pair of highly-regarded goalies during the off season, bringing in Tomi Gagnon from the U.S. Premier Hockey League and Nic Tallarico from the British Columbia Hockey League.
Gagnon has a 2000 birth date while Tallarico is a last-year junior with a 1998 birth date.
Lafleur told Hockey News North that he expects goal-tending to be a Lumberjacks strength in 2018-2019.
“We could, arguably, have the best tandem in the NOJHL,” Lafleur relayed.