Lions ready for the second chapter

The Lions of Trois-Rivières will begin, on October 21, the second season of their history. The organization has worked hard this summer to replace players who will not be back, as well as for the event aspect.

First, Marc-André Bergeron worked hard this summer to sign fifteen players. If he hopes that Peter Abbandonato (25 pts in 18 games) and Olivier Galipeau (33 pts in 45 games) can be back, big names have left such as Anthony Nellis (61 points), Olivier Archambault (54 pts), Alexis D’Aoust (38 pts in 39 games) and Shawn St-Amant (27 pts in 32 games).

“What I like to tell people is that I never work, but I work all the time! (laugh). We were better organized this year and we had a better knowledge of the regulations so it was a little easier to work. Beyond the on-ice team, we also had to hire a new sports therapist and a new equipment manager. We do things well and the players liked how we treated them, in a very professional way, so that also makes it easier when hiring, ”said Marc-André Bergeron, vice-president and general manager of the Lions.

“We have six or seven returning veterans. We are counting on the returns of William Leblanc, Jonathan Joannette, Philippe Bureau-Blais, our captain Cédric Montminy and Mathieu Brodeur, among others. We have 14 players who signed ECHL and it’s about the same number of players as at the same date last year. When your core players come back, it’s fun for the old to see familiar faces, and for the new ones, it’s fun to be surrounded by players who have lived the experience here. Laval has also signed a lot of players so we will wait on that side. »

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Last season, the team from Trois-Rivières had some problems without the puck. This is a facet of the game that the managing director wanted to improve.

“We are going to be a more complete team than last year. We signed intense players who will play a more complete game and the offensive power will surely come from Laval. We had a few players who were mostly attacking. We are likely to see (Philippe) Desrosiers or (Peter) again, so I can’t wait to see. There will be good competition in Laval and no matter who goes down, it will be excellent hockey players for us, ”he explains.

“Our objectives are the same as last year. We are not a league that must draft and develop our young people to eventually reach our cycle. We sign free agents and we try to sign the best players possible, so the objective remains to be a competitive team and to win the last game of the season. We are going to be a top team, hoping that this year, the slump of injuries, staff members and recalls that all teams go through will only last a month and not four (laughs). »

A show for the opening match

Off the ice, the Trois-Rivières organization intends to move forward with themed evenings, as we saw several times last year, and it wants to make its place in the community.

“We will be in our second year and we are much better grounded than last year, without the constraint of the coliseum under construction either. So that leaves us room and time to go ahead with new projects. First, we want to put on a show for our opening game, much like the NFL (National Football League) does, before and during the game. We really want to organize a big show to kick off the season. Then we will have our mascot to unveil. It will make people talk about us and continue to unveil our brand image, ”says Lions President Mark Weightman.

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“We also want to organize more thematic matches and we are also going to welcome groups with our group sales, for example schools and sports teams, in particular. We also want to offer them a great experience so if we receive a Pee-Wee team from Cap-de-la-Madeleine, we want to offer them to put on the equipment and get on the ice with the players during the national anthem. , or on the bench during the warm-up period. We want to create a closeness with the fans. »

The Lions will also innovate on the side of ticket sales.

“We created our Win-Win package for the ten Wednesday games. People get tickets for the first, third, fifth, seventh and ninth Wednesday. If the team wins the match, they get a free ticket for the following Wednesday (on even days). So if the team wins the game on the first Wednesday, the buyer gets tickets for the second Wednesday, and so on,” he explains.

“We also come back with our half-season packages or our Flex packages. Obviously, we also have season tickets and things are going very well on that side. We are now entering the last phase of sales and the response from the public is very good. »

Last year, the Lions were caught in the whirlwind of novelty, in addition to being slowed down by COVID-19. This year, they intend to be more present in the community.

“We want to meet the population and we are already discussing with people from minor hockey, schools and various organizations. I always say that we don’t just want to be present, but we want to play an active role and I see it as an obligation. And at the same time, it’s fun to leave home! We are the recruits so it is up to us to go see the people, ”he concludes.

The season opens against the Maine Mariners on October 21. The next day, the two teams will be in action again on the Maine side for the second duel of a series of three.

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