MONTREAL - The Montreal Canadiens introduced on Monday the recipients of the Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence and Merit for the 2016-17 season. The awards are presented annually to hockey players at the amateur level who best combined hockey performances with academic excellence.
The program was introduced in 1985 with the objective of encouraging sports and academic excellence for players competing in all three major amateur hockey leagues in the province of Quebec; the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL), member schools of the Canadian University Sports in Quebec (U Sports) and the Quebec Junior Hockey League (QJHL).
Honorees are selected by a jury made of representatives from the sports media, the hockey and education communities. The Montreal Canadiens award recipients of the Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence each receive a $6,000 scholarship over a 3-year period while the beneficiary of the Guy Lafleur Award of Merit, to the selected candidate from the Quebec collegiate level or the Quebec Junior League (LHJAAAQ), will be awarded a $1,000 scholarship.
Recipients of the Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence 2016-17
QUEBEC INTERUNIVERSITY SPORTS
Nathan Chiarlitti (McGill Redmen)
An all-around hockey player, Nathan Chiarlitti is a three-time conference all-star who played for Canada at the 2017 FISU World University Games, in Kazakhstan. A defenseman with great speed and high-compete level, he completed his first season with the McGill Redmen in 2016-17 after spending three seasons with the St. Francis Xavier University.
An assistant captain with the Redmen, Nathan has an impressive hockey resume with equally remarkable scholastic achievements. He joined St. Francis Xavier after five seasons in the OHL (Sarnia and Owen Sound) and earned a Bachelor's degree in kinesiology before transferring to McGill where he is enrolled in the master's of science program. In 2016-17 he recorded 18 points, including 7 goals (6 of them on the power play) while achieving an outstanding sessional Grade Point Average of 3.91 (out of 4.0).
Despite a demanding scholastic program and a busy hockey schedule, Nathan managed to get involved in community work. As he has done since he first began his university education back in 2013, Nathan volunteers in various initiatives, including the ParticipACTION, a minor hockey mentorship program, the Best Buddies program and takes part in the Thyroid Oncology Research at the Queen Elizabeth Health Sciences Centre, in Halifax.
QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE
Antoine Samuel (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)
A solid netminder with excellent skills, Antoine Samuel won 19 games with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar in 2016-17 with a .902 save percentage and a 3.16 GAA. The season got underway in under the balmy climate of California for Antoine who attended the Anaheim Ducks training camp.
Playing on one of the league's youngest teams, his steady play earned the Drakkar a playoff berth. In the classroom, Antoine is enrolled in the Human Sciences program at Cégep Baie-Comeau (and the Cégep@distance program) and over the past scholastic year he achieved an 85% grade average.
The Saint-Eustache native is also actively involved in the community working as a goaltending instructor at the Drakkar hockey school. He also visits regularly at a local elementary school to tutor pupils. Last but not least, he is a volunteer at many of the team's promotional initiatives.
Recipient of the Guy Lafleur Award of Merit 2016-17
MEN'S COLLEGIATE HOCKEY LEAGUE
Philippe Forcier (Dragons du Collège Laflèche)
Philippe Forcier captained the Dragons du Collège Laflèche over the past two seasons and is praised for his mentorship on and off the ice. Rookie of the year among all Collège Laflèche students following his first year with the Dragons in 2014-15, he set a league record for most points by a defenseman with 28 points (3 goals and 25 assists).
A player with excellent leadership qualities, he has proven to be an outstanding student achieving a 94.5% grade average for the past three years in the Natural Sciences program. The former Magog Cantonnier rearguard is also involved in various social and community initiatives such as the Healthy Sleep Awareness Project.
Over the past few years, he has also supported the Speed Prevention Program and the National Fire Protection program in cooperation with the city of Magog.