|LAURENHILL HONOUR FORMER STUDENT AND VERDUN DRAGONS STAR JAMES DESMARAIS AT ON-ICE HAPPENING|
MONTREAL, JANUARY 26, 2005- Verdun Dragons star James Desmarais, the leading scorer in the professional Ligue Nord Américaine de Hockey (LNAH), took part in a very special on-ice happening at Raymond Bourque Arena in St. Laurent Jan. 25. He and a number of his teammates, including Shawn Mamane, Mike Henderson, Mathieu Benoit, Mike Varhaug and goalie Phil Groeneveld suited up to practice, scrimmage and take part in an all-star skills competition with the LaurenHill Academy Lynx hockey team, coached by Kosta Papoulias. The Holy Cross Elementary School Lions, part of an elite hockey program for Grade 5 and 6 students, also participated with their coach Shawn Anderson. He is a former NHL defenceman.
Desmarais 25, is a graduate of LaurenHill. His son Jeremy currently attends kindergarten at Gardenview Elementary School. Desmarais played in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for Laval and Rouyn Noranda. In his final junior season he scored 62 goals and 73 assists for 135 points. He was drafted by the St. Louis Blues in 1999 and played in the minor leagues in Peoria, Worcester, B.C., Springfield, Arkansas, Reading, Greensboro, Italy, Adirondack and Granby.
With several hundred cheering students in the stands from LaurenHill, Gardenview and Holy Cross, Mr. Spiridigliozzi, principals Dan Sipos and Tina Lavranos, Team 990 personalities Ron Francis and Tony Marinaro and other special guests were introduced in a red carpet ceremony. Dragons co-owners Sheldon Ludwick and Lee Karls, both graduates of the public school system, presented the EMSB chairman with an autographed Dragons jersey. Papoulias then made Desmarais an honourary member of the Lynx and gave him a team shirt with his name on it. Besides his young son, Desmarais was joined by his dad James Sr. while his brother Josh and sister Amanda suited up for the Lynx. The teams switched goalies for the skills competition – rapid fire, breakaway relay and fastest skater – and for the exhibition game, which LaurenHill won in a shootout.
On Tuesday, Feb. 15 the Dragons will host the St. Hyacinthe Cousin at the Verdun Auditorium (4110 boul. Lasalle) at 8 p.m. This has been declared English Montreal School Board (EMSB) Night. Mr. Spiridigliozzi, Papoulias and two Lynx players will perform the ceremonial opening faceoff. While the entire Lynx team will be in attendance, any EMSB student who identifies them as such at the box-office that night will be entitled to a $10 ticket.
Michael J. Cohen