Thursday, February 9, 2012

Day 6: The Villemaire Signing Saga

By SN Staff

Is the Maxime Villemaire signing saga about to come to an end?

In today’s Telegraph-Journal (which is still behind that ridiculous paywall), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League commissioner Gilles Courteau confirmed what we already know. The Gatineau Olympiques have indeed sent a complaint to the league, arguing that they should receive the two-points from their 3-2 January 4 loss in Saint John because Maxime Villemaire, allegedly, did not sign his player card before playing in the game.

Mike Kelly is quoted in the article, finally giving us all a bit of Saint John’s side of the story.

“Our interpretation of the complaint is that they have an issue of the alleged eligibility of a player,” Sea Dogs associate coach and director of hockey operations Mike Kelly said. “In talking to the league, I’ve given them our perspective and we’re comfortable with our position.”

According to the T-J, “a final decision is expected by Friday.”

Two points are not going to help Gatineau all that much in the standings. For Saint John, those two points could be the difference maker in earning home ice advantage for the entire playoffs.

If you’re just joining this week long saga, here’s what we know so far.

Last Friday, RDS reported that the Olympiques had filed a complaint to the league about Villemaire’s eligibility for the January 4 game, a game in which he scored in. According to the QMJHL rule book, Saint John could be forced to forfeit the two points if the allegations are true.

On Tuesday, the Shawinigan newspaper Le Nouvelliste reported some more details on the story. College Francais de Longueuil head coach Pierre Petroni explained that just after Villemaire had left to return home for personal reasons, the Sea Dogs texted him to return in order to sign his player card. By signing the player card, he could not simply just get up and beginn playing in the AAA ranks.

Petroni feels that the Sea Dogs tricked Villemaire into signing the card and prevented him from deciding where he wanted to play. But, as Scott Briggs brings up in the T-J, it seems kind of strange that Villemaire, who has been in the league for a season-and-a-half, was not aware of the implications of signing the card.

After roughly a month away from the team, Villemaire has since returned to the Sea Dogs.

The details of this story could be all wrong – or they could be all right. We’ll see what happens. Either way, Villemaire has had quite the adventure since being traded to Saint John. 

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