Morand determined to win another Memorial Cup
Not many Canadian Hockey League players have the chance to win the Memorial Cup during their Junior careers let alone win back-to-back championships, but that’s exactly what newly acquired Mooseheads forwards Antoine Morand and Jordan Maher will have the opportunity to do in Halifax during the 2018-19 season.
The two players were vital in helping the Acadie-Bathurst Titan capture the Memorial Cup in Regina last month and will be expected to play key roles for the Mooseheads when the team hosts the prestigious national championship in the spring of 2019. Morand is already dreaming of the chance at hoisting the historic trophy in front of the home fans in Halifax.
“Winning is like a drug. Once you win you always want more and more and you want to do it all over again,” he said.
The Anaheim Ducks 2017 second round pick has been nothing short of spectacular in his QMJHL career since joining the Titan as a rookie in 2015. He led the Memorial Cup champs with 76 points last season and has scored a total of 200 points in 181 games played. Morand is poised to become a leader on and off the ice in Halifax and said he’s been talking with his new teammates about the exciting times that are ahead.
“I’m really looking forward to it and I’ll bring the experience I got from last year to try and help the team and the younger guys as much as possible.”
Morand joins a team, that he points out, is suddenly loaded with NHL prospects including Filip Zadina (Red Wings), Jared McIsaac (Red Wings), Arnaud Durandeau (NY Islanders), Jocktan Chainey (New Jersey), Jake Ryczek (Chicago), Alex Gravel (Chicago) and fellow Anaheim prospect Benoit-Olivier Groulx. That total could be as high as nine on the chance that the Tampa Bay Lightning choose to send Otto Somppi back to Junior. The center is eligible to play professionally in Tampa’s farm system now that he is 20-years-old.
“I’m really excited for what’s next. We have a great team in Halifax and I believe we have a special group of guys. The sky is the limit for that group,” Morand said.
The Mooseheads have been building for the upcoming season since the trade of Zach Fucale in December of 2014. That move signaled the beginning of a rebuild and helped the team stockpile assets that have brought the organization to this culmination. Further deals involving Danny Moynihan, Cavan Fitzgerald, Timo Meier, Taylor Ford and even Jordan Lepage have contributed to make the roster what it is today.
New Head Coach Eric Veilleux likes the cast that General Manager Cam Russell has assembled and is looking forward to seeing them in action come training camp this August. Veilleux and his troops will have their work cut out for them when the regular season begins at the end of September as the team is forced to play its opening 15 games on the road due to lengthy ice-pad renovations at Scotiabank Centre. As tough as that may seem, Russell thinks the road trip could be beneficial to a team with high expectations.
“I don’t mind it actually. It kind of takes some pressure off in a way. Riding the bus and staying in hotels for that period of time will give us a good chance to bond as a team before we play our home opener.”
That home opener is set for Saturday, October 27th at 7pm against the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles.
The General Manager’s next order of business is the CHL Import Draft which will be held online this Thursday. With selections not coming until 46th and 106th, Russell has his most difficult task in the Import Draft since he became GM a decade ago. The last time the Mooseheads made a first round pick this late was 2005 when the team selected defenceman Juri Suchy 47th overall. Even with the chance of Filip Zadina returning and maybe less so Otto Somppi, the team is able to make two picks because those players are placed on special lists. The Canadian Hockey League is also allowing European goalies to be picked again for the first time in four years. Russell is notoriously tight-lipped when it comes to his draft plans and didn’t want to tip his hand as to what direction he’s leaning.
“It’s a draft so anything can happen. You’ll have to wait and see.”
Mooseheads 2018-19 Season Ticket Memberships are on sale now at TicketAtlantic.com, the Official Mooseheads Shop in Scotia Square or by calling 451-1221.
New 15 Game Packs will go on sale in September. The on-sale date for Individual Tickets will be released later this summer.