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The Montreal Canadiens announce the Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence and Merit for 2014-15

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

MONTREAL – The Montreal Canadiens introduced the recipients of the Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence and Merit for the 2014-15 season on Wednesday. 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 Interuniversity Sports in Quebec (CIS) 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 a $6,000 scholarship over a 3-year period, and the beneficiary of the Guy Lafleur Awards of Merit earns a $1,000 scholarship.

"These bursaries allow young hockey players to continue studying while also playing sports, something which wasn't possible in our days," underlined Lafleur during a press conference at the Bell Centre. "Today, there are so many opportunities for our youth to succeed, and I tip my hat to all of these athletes who work so hard every year to perform just as well in the classroom as they do on the ice."
 

Recipients of the Guy Lafleur Awards of Excellence 2014-15
 

QUEBEC INTERUNIVERSITY SPORTS

Olivier Hinse (Concordia Stingers)

In his third year at Concordia University where he is pursuing a degree in the Child Studies program in the Education Department, Olivier Hinse enjoyed a solid season in 2014-15 recording 18 goals and 13 assists 26 games earning several awards and honours, including the 2015 Ron Lapointe Award for leadership, academics and athletics at Concordia University. Hinse, who was the Stingers captain, was also the recipient of the Dr. Randy Gregg Award as the CIS men’s hockey player who best combines leadership/community services, athletics and academics. The Sherbrooke native also enjoyed a career year in the classroom as well earning a 3.09 GPA. A skilled hockey player and a student with great potential, Olivier also found time to get involved in the community supporting various charities and causes. In 2014-15 he repeated as the Stingers’ ambassador for Score with School program and was a driving force behind the four-on-four tournament for the Stingers. Olivier is an athlete and a student who cares for his community.
 

QUEBEC MAJOR JUNIOR HOCKEY LEAGUE

Jeremy Grégoire (Baie-Comeau Drakkar)

Jeremy Grégoire hails from Sherbrooke, in the Eastern Townships and is a 4-year QMJHL veteran, including the last two as a member of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar after beginning his junior career as a Chicoutimi Saguenéen. With 41 points, including 3205 goals, in 2014-15, he ended his junior career with 223 points in 220 regular season games. An vital part of the Drakkar’s offense, Jeremy enjoyed a force to reckon with in the playoffs recording 21 points (10 goals, 11 helpers) in 12 games. The 6’0’’ and 190 lbs winger is not only praised for his on-ice achievements but also for his dedication and determination to succeed in class. His hard work on the ice was rewarded with a 6th round selection by the Montreal Canadiens in at the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Jeremy is equally devoted when it comes to reaching his scholastic goals, earning an 87% grade point average and graduating from the Baie-Comeau CEGEP. Despite busy academic and hockey schedules, he managed to volunteer at various charitable endeavours. He is a regular at some hockey clinics for kids and continues to be one of the spokesperson for the Fondation des jeunes bègues du Québec. Jeremy Grégoire is a gifted athlete and a devoted student, but first and foremost he is an exceptional young man.

Recipient of the Guy Lafleur Award of Excellence as the QMJHL candidate last year, Jeremy continued to shine in 2014-15 to be a contender and a repeat winner. A class act, he chose to give the cheque to an equally deserving candidate who enjoyed an outstanding year on the ice and in the classroom; Dominic Talbot-Tassi of the Moncton Wildcats.

"I've been fortunate enough to win this award two years in a row now, and Dominic has been a runner-up both times. It's a scholarship, and I think he also deserved to win it," acknowledged Grégoire of the Wildcats rearguard. "He was very happy. I don't think he was expecting it, but he earned it."
 

Dominic Talbot-Tassi (Moncton Wildcats)

A defenseman who completed his fourth season in the QMJHL suiting up with the Moncton Wildcats in 2014-15, Dominic Talbot-Tassi began the past season with the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada before a trade sent him to Moncton. He had previously played with the Drummondville Voltigeurs and the Sherbrooke Phoenix. The 2014-15 season was Dominic’s best in the QMJHL racking up 51 points (9 goals and 42 helpers) in 63 games. He also added 11 points in 16 playoff games. Despite changing province and arriving with a new team in Moncton, Dominic never let up and continued his academic progression with the collegiate on-line education program and enrolled at the University of Moncton where he attended a few classes. A graduate of the Esther Blondin College, Dominic showed the determination and dedication to reach his scholastic goals and hockey objectives. The Moncton Wildcats candidate for the Marcel Robert Award presented to the QMJHL top scholastic player, Dominic Talbot-Tassi was the scholastic player of the month for the Wildcats in February. Despite a busy schedule, he managed to find the time to get involved in the community. For the greater part of the season, he regularly visited and encouraged two young patients suffering from leukemia. He also volunteered to take part in the annual blood clinic and the Greater Moncton Christmas Parade.
 

Recipient of the Guy Lafleur Award of Merit 2014-15
 

COLLEGIATE MEN’S HOCKEY LEAGUE

Xavier Labonté (Dragons du Collège Laflèche)

Xavier Labonté is a hot commodity in men’s collegiate hockey. Blessed with great size, he has outstanding hands and knows how to rack up points making him one of the league’s top prospects. In 2014-15, as a 19 year old, Xavier recorded 40 points, including seven goals and a spectacular plus/minus differential of +12. His offensive prowess earned him to lead all league defensemen in both assists and points. The captain of the Dragons over the past two seasons, he amassed 101 points in 94 career games at the collegiate level. He completed his third year in Natural Science at Collège Laflèche maintaining an outstanding grade average of 92.4%. Labonté, who was born and raised in Trois-Rivières, has been involved in his community taking part in the festival des Nuits polaires and the Marche du relais walk-o-thon raising funds in the fight against cancer. He also volunteered at various events to promote school hockey among kids. Through his academic results, stellar play on the ice and community involvement, Xavier is a front line ambassador for the Mauricie region and a legitimate recipient.

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