Sacobie joins hall
Josh Sacobie is about to become a Hall of Famer. The former University of Ottawa Gee-Gees star quarterback will be among the inaugural inductees into the New Brunswick Aboriginal Sport Hall of Fame. Sacobie is a Maliseet from the St. Mary’s First Nation in New Brunswick. Induction ceremonies are scheduled for April 27 in Fredericton. But Sacobie will not be able to attend the induction ceremony as he’ll be in Croatia. He’s heading overseas for a family wedding and for a previously planned vacation. Sacobie played with the Gee-Gees for five seasons, from 2004 to 2008. And he holds the team record as the all-time leading passer with 7,714 yards. Sacobie had aspirations to play at a higher level following his university days but he never caught on with a professional franchise. He was, however, able to add another career highlight to his resume this past year.
He was a member of the Canadian squad that won the silver medal at the International Federation of American Football world championships staged last summer in Vienna, Austria. Sacobie also racked up his share of accolades while toiling for the Gee-Gees. He was named the most valuable player in the Ontario university league in 2007. He was also a two-time all-Canadian and was chosen as the University of Ottawa’s male athlete of the year three times. Sacobie is still heavily involved in the sport. He works in Ottawa as Football Canada’s technical co-ordinator. And he also rejoined the Gee-Gees this past year. He’s a member of the team’s coaching staff now, serving as the quarterbacks’ coach.
Taste of pro
Besides winning a national title, Francis Verreault-Paul was also able to get a taste of professional hockey this season. Verreault-Paul is a 24-year-old Montagnais. He hails from Mashteuiatsh, an Innu community in Quebec. Verreault-Paul was able to finish off his university hockey career in fine fashion. He was a member of the Montreal-based McGill Redmen, who captured the Canadian university championship on March 25. McGill edged the University of Western Ontario Mustangs 4-3 in overtime in the championship final. The six-team national tournament was staged in Fredericton. Verreault-Paul was selected as the most valuable player at the Canadian tournament. He collected five points, including three goals, in three games. Shortly after winning the national title, Verreault-Paul signed a professional tryout contract with the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears. The Bears are the top affiliate of the National Hockey League’s Washington Capitals. Verreault-Paul appeared in six regular season matches with the Bears. He had one assist in those appearances. Verreault-Paul, however, returned to McGill in mid-April to finish off his school year when he was not added to Hershey’s post-season roster. Before his four-season stint with the Redmen, Verreault-Paul had played five years with the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s Chicoutimi Sagueneens. His best season in Chicoutimi - in terms of offensive stats - was his third one, 2005-06. He racked up 64 points, including 30 goals, in 69 matches.
The Beardy’s Memorial Arena will undergo some upgrades, but residents of the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation are not as happy as they possibly could have been. That’s because their community - one of five finalists in the Kraft Hockeyville contest - was not selected as the over-all winner. That distinction went to the eastern Ontario community of Stirling-Rawdon. The official announcement was made on March 31 during a Hockey Night in Canada broadcast. By winning the contest, Stirling-Rawdon will receive $100,000 to spend on renovations at its existing rink. Perhaps more importantly, however, the community also earned the right to host a National Hockey League pre-season contest this September.
This match, which will feature the Toronto Maple Leafs versus the Columbus Blue Jackets, is expected to be staged in nearby Belleville. By being one of the four other finalists, the Beardy’s and Okemasis First Nation will receive $25,000 to upgrade its rink. The others finalists were West Kelowna, B.C., Amos, Que., and Yarmouth, N.S. They too will also receive $25,000 each to put towards improving their hockey facilities. A total of 227 communities entered the Hockeyville contest this year. The Beardy’s bid became the first First Nation community to advance to the Top 5 stage in the six-year history of the contest. The contest, sponsored by Kraft Foods, the NHL and the NHL Players’ Association, was developed by CBC Sports.