Three West Island hockey players received $1,500 bursaries from the Montreal Canadiens and the Quebec Foundation for Athletic Excellence last Tuesday evening at the Bell Centre.
Seventeen-year-old Ile Bizard native Catherine Daoust for academic excellence, 16-year-old Dollard des Ormeaux goaltender Nicholas Gavrielatos for perserverance and 16-year-old Pierrefonds right-winger Vimal Sukumaran for encouragement to academic and sportive success all got the nod.
All three got to meet briefly with Habs general manager Marc Bergevin who handed the bursaries to the 28 recipients.
“I am proud to be here tonight. I remember playing midget AAA hockey in 1982 and there were no bursaries at that time. I find it excellent that there is recognizance for young girls and boys today,” said Bergevin.
Daoust was one of the eight young women who got bursaries. A defenseman, she was a member of the U-18 Team Canada that won gold at the 2013 World Championships in Finland and a member of Team Quebec that placed fifth at the 2012 Canadian Championships. She studies sciences at CEGEP St. Laurent and plays for the school’s team, the Patriotes. She maintained an 88 per cent average in Secondary 5 last year.
“It’s really an honour for me especially given the fact that it’s my second year winning a bursary. It doesn’t get old,” she said.
Lac St. Louis goaltender Nicholas Gavrielatos has had a difficult year in 2011-2012. He suffered a concussion which kept him off the ice at the end of last season. He was later diagnosed with brain tumor. After a major surgery, He came back to reclaim his spot as number one goalie on the roster this year.
At Jan. 4 when the statistics were compiled for the bursaries’ program, he had 11 wins, five defeats in 16 games. He kept a 3.31 goals-against average while maintaining save percentage of .894. He is currently enrolled at Kuper Academy in Secondary 5.
“When I was told I had a tumor, I didn’t think I’d be playing as I am right now, doing well in hockey and in school: it’s a big shock. It’s great,” he said.
Gavrielatos was not picked in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) draft last year because of his injury in December. He hopes to have a chance this year.
Sukumaran has often been the bread and butter of the Lac St. Louis Lions this season posting great statistics (21-21-42) at Jan. 4 in 28 games. At the time he occupied the fifth rank in the league’s scoring championship race.
“For me, it’s really about the team. If the team is doing well, then, I’m happy. It’s definitely exciting to be there with the rest of them but as long as the Lions are doing well, I’m happy,” he said.
He was drafted last year in the seventh round by Victoriaville in the QMJHL but has not decided where he is going to be playing next year. He is currently in Secondary 5 at John Rennie High School.