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 Cape Breton Eagles

"The Passion Is Back"; Eagles Management Say Future Is Bright in Cape Breton

May 11, 2024 - Quebec Maritimes Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)
Cape Breton Eagles News Release

In what concluded in a semi-final loss to the Baie-Comeau Drakkar on May 2, the 2023-2024 QMJHL regular season proved to be a historic campaign for the Cape Breton Eagles organization.

With record crowds and an overachieving team on the ice which saw 39 regular season wins, a 12-game winning streak and five straight playoff sellouts at Centre 200, the season was a preview of more to come according to the Eagles hockey management.

During Tuesday's Town Hall Season Recap event at Centre 200, Eagles General Manager Sylvain Couturier said "the future looks as bright as it can be."

"I came here two years ago with a three year plan. Did I expect to be in the top four...I hoped to be there but it's more than I expected to be honest. So we are ahead of where we should be, but we are not going to stop here," Couturier said. "Our goal is still the same, to bring a championship to Cape Breton."

Eagles Assistant General Manager John Hanna, who has been with the club for nearly two decades said "the passion is back in the community, and in Cape Breton Island. To see Centre 200 has never been rivalled. It was not like that when I played here and it was full. The energy was spectacular and that is a credit to our fans."

Next year's club could see 16 potential returns from this year's roster, including three players who will fill out the 20-year-old overage slots.

The potential 20-year-old players who could return to next year's roster are goaltender Nicolas Ruccia, defenceman Brayden Schmitt, defenceman Tomas cibulka, forward Jacob Newcombe, forward Antoine Roy, forward Charles-Antoine Lavallee and forward Olivier Houde.

"We had a special group of guys this year. I said that all year long, I have been around (this league) for 20 years and that was probably the tightest team I have seen in my time," Couturier said. "It is too early for me right now to say who is going to be back next year for 20s."

Couturier also highlighted prospects Will Murphy and Logan Quinn who both played big minutes in the Nova Scotia Junior A league this year as 16-year-old defencemen.

And as if excitement levels for next season weren't high enough already, the Eagles surprise Draft Lottery victory on April 25th means they will now be picking first at June's QMJHL Entry Draft in Moncton.

Couturier said to have possession of the first overall draft pick is seen as "a luxury" across the league because of the value in which it carries.

In what should be a winning year for the Eagles next season, Couturier said he has yet to decide on what he will do with the team's first overall draft choice.

"As of today we are going to pick. (But) I am open for business. If that first round pick can bring us quality players, quality picks, improve our hockey team, I am not going to close the door on anything," he said. "We think, and we know we are going to have a very strong team next year. And if you look at the big picture, we know we are going to be good for the years to come."

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The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

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