(FREDERICTON, NB) The two-time defending U SPORTS men’s hockey champion UNB Varsity Reds are adding a pair of former QMJHL team captains to their already strong defence corps.
Olivier LeBlanc, of Quebec City, QC, and Tristan Pomerleau, of Riviere-du-Loup, QC, have signed U SPORTS Letters of Intent and will join the VReds beginning in the 2017-18 season.
“Olivier and Tristan are great additions to our line-up,” said Varsity Reds head coach Gardiner MacDougall. “We’re extremely excited to get them to UNB and have them become a part of our family.”
LeBlanc, a 7th round draft pick of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets in 2014, played five seasons with the Saint John Sea Dogs and the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. He captained both teams.
Last season, with the Screaming Eagles, he posted career highs with 10 goals and 33 assists in 58 regular season games.
“He’s a player who has been a leader wherever he’s played and he exudes character,” said MacDougall. “He brings a tremendous work ethic and will be looked upon to provide offence and stability from the back end.”
LeBlanc was a 1st round draft pick of the Sea Dogs in 2012, and played for the QMJHL Team in the 2014 and 2015 Canada-Russia Subway Super Series.
“The way UNB approached me during the year really showed me how much class the people that work for the Varsity Reds have,” said LeBlanc. “The desire and ability to win every single year was also something that brought me to choose UNB.”
Pomerleau has also just completed a stellar five-year major junior career.
He played 249 regular season games with the Victoriaville Tigres, where he established himself as a talented and reliable blue-liner.
Last season, his third as captain of the Tigres, Pomerleau scored 5 goals and added 19 assists in 44 games. His plus-minus was an impressive +21.
“Tristan is a key part of this year’s recruiting class,” said MacDougall. “We covet players with character and grit, and Tristan is a perfect example of this. He was a three-year captain and comes highly recommended by both Phil Maillet and Philippe Halley.”
Pomerleau’s first season in Victoriaville was the last with the Tigres for Maillet and Halley. As UNB fans know, both would establish lasting legacies with the Varsity Reds.
“The two Phils did influence my decision,” admits Pomerleau. “They had great words to say about the program and the city.”
“I think Gardiner wants me for my physical game and my good first pass,” he said.
“His tenacious work ethic will go a long way in helping our club,” said MacDougall.
LeBlanc will study psychology while Pomerleau will pursue a business degree.