07/25/2016 1:41 PM
Photo By: John Warren / Brampton Beast
Having spent the majority of the 2015-16 season patrolling the blue line as a member of the Brampton Beast, defenseman Jeremie Blain certainly made a name for himself.
The 24-year-old defenseman from Longueuil, Quebec put up great numbers in his 34 games with the Montreal Canadiens’ ECHL affiliate, including two goals and 22 assists for 24 points.
He spent the latter half of the season in the American Hockey League with the Chicago Wolves where he continued to shine, but it was his impressive stint with the Beast that caught the eye of a couple of difference-makers within the Canadiens organization.
“I guess (Canadiens’ assistant General Managers) Rick Dudley and Larry Carriere liked what they saw of me in Brampton this past season,” said a modest Blain.
His strong performance in Brampton led Blain to sign a contract to join the AHL affiliate of his favourite childhood team, the St. John’s IceCaps.
“I knew that on their end they liked the kind of player I was,” Blain added. “Over the last few weeks, my agent had been in contact with them they put a deal together and that’s how it happened.”
It should be no surprise that Blain grew up as a fan of the Montreal Canadiens. Growing up in Longueuil on the South Shore of Montreal, he was immersed in the culture and history of the bleu, blanc et rouge from an early age and Blain is excited to sign a contract that puts him one step closer to playing for his hometown team.
“It means a lot to me,” he said of playing with the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate. “It weighed a lot in my decision to taking that deal. I know everything will go well there. I can’t wait until October.”
Blain will have to wait a little while to take that next step and don an IceCaps jersey, as training camp is still over a month away. In the meantime, Blain is enjoying his offseason at home, counting down the days until the 2016-17 season begins.
“I’ve just been working out pretty hard on the ice and off the ice,” Blain said of his offseason groove. “Just getting into a good routine and trying to enjoy life. I’ve been playing a lot of basketball lately actually. I’m getting pretty good. Just enjoying Montreal and the weather and everything summer has to offer.”
Fans in Brampton may wish to believe that Blain’s new AHL contract will result in him spending some time with the Beast during this upcoming season, but Blain hopes and believes this is the year he truly makes a lasting impression at the AHL level.
“I’m at the point where I’m 24 years old and my main goal is to be in St. John’s for the year and have a good run there and make an impact,” Blain said with confidence. “(Playing in Brampton again) has crossed my mind but I’m focusing on sticking there and making an impression at camp and making an impact for a full season up there.”
That doesn’t mean that Blain doesn’t have fond memories of his time in Brampton. He is quick to credit the Beast coaching staff for helping him grow to the next stage of his hockey career and admits that Beast fans, players and staff will always have a place in his heart.
“Playing in Brampton, I got tons of confidence playing under (Beast Head Coach Colin) Chaulk and (Beast Assistant Coach) Peter Goulet,” he said. “From a personal standpoint, just playing with my brother Luc was unreal for my family and for him and I,” Jeremie said in reflecting on his year in Brampton.
“I thought the group of guys we had last season in Brampton was unreal. Lots of fun. I thought we had a much better team than our record showed. I had a great time as a member of the Beast.”
Beast President and General Manager Cary Kaplan was thrilled to hear that a Beast graduate has taken the next step in his hockey career and feels it bodes well for future Beast prospects graduating within the organization.
“It’s very exciting for us when the Montreal Canadiens recognize that Brampton Beast players can be significant players in their organization,” Kaplan said. “Montreal’s commitment to Jeremie Blain is great for Jeremie but it’s also a proud signing for the Brampton Beast.”
Blain admits it’s tantalizing to look ahead in his hockey career to see himself dressed as a member of the Canadiens or even remaining a member of the club’s AHL affiliate which is set to move to Laval, Quebec in his neck of the woods following the end of the upcoming 2016-17 season.
For now, Jeremie remains focused on the task at hand and is already counting down the days until Opening Day in St. John’s.
“Hopefully I can make an impression and we can go from there,” he said. “It will be pretty cool to close the book in St. John’s and see what’s up next for me and for them.
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For more information or general media inquiries on the Brampton Beast, please contact Chris Ballard, Public Relations Coordinator at (905) 564-1684 or email@example.com.