Nipissing Lakers of Ontario University Athletics have added some veteran junior hockey experience to their 2014-2015 roster with the signing of a pair of Northern Ontario products.
Headed to Nipissing are Sault Ste. Marie native Chad Thibodeau and Timmins product Erik Robichaud.
The well-travelled Thibodeau — who can play left wing or defence — has spent time in the Ontario Hockey League with Soo Greyhounds and Sudbury Wolves along with stops in the Northern Ontario Jr. Hockey League with Soo Thunderbirds and in the Ontario Jr. Hockey League with Wellington Dukes.
No stranger to vast junior experience either, Robichaud has been a forward in the OHL with Sarnia Sting, in the NOJHL with Abitibi Eskimos and in the Quebec Major Jr. Hockey League with Moncton Wildcats and PEI Rockets.
Both are 1993 birth-year skaters.
Nipissing head coach Mike McParland said the addition of Thibodeau and Robichaud will give the Lakers depth and experience.
“We feel they will both provide us with some experience. Both offer different skill-sets that we’ll be able to utilize next season,” said McParland. “They strengthen our lineup.”
Thibodeau is ready for what Nipissing needs him to do.
“I personally hope to come in and help out any way I can,” said Thibodeau. “I love to win and winning comes when everyone buys into their roles, so whatever role it takes to win, I will accept.”
Robichaud said the combination of playing hockey at the next level, as well as continuing his education, is exactly what he was looking for following his junior career.
“I am very excited about joining the Nipissing Lakers hockey club. I’m also looking forward of getting an education from a great school,” he said.
McParland realizes both players will contribute in different ways and is looking forward to seeing the pair at Nipissing in the fall.
“Chad is a hard-nosed, physical player and that will help us out, especially on the forecheck if he plays forward. If he plays defence, he’ll make it difficult on the opposition in our own end,” McParland explained. “Erik is a speedy forward who can put the puck in the net.”