Hometown free agent will hit the turf in Montreal for exhibition at Bell Centre
When Jean-Guillaume Thouin attended the National Lacrosse League Combine in September, his goal was to earn an invitation to a team’s training camp. This weekend, that dream will come true for the Laval, Quebec native as he joins the three-time defending NLL champion Rochester Knighthawks when they take on the Toronto Rock for a preseason game at Bell Centre in Montreal on Sunday at 2 p.m. ET.
“It’s pretty exciting getting the chance to play with professional lacrosse players,” said the 24-year-old defenseman.
Playing with the best players in the world is thrilling enough, but competing in the same storied building as the NHL’s Montreal Canadiens just adds to the excitement.
“I have been to that arena so many times to watch the Montreal Canadiens,” he said. “To play in that building will be exciting for sure.”
Thouin comes to the Knighthawks after spending the past three summers in the Quebec Senior Lacrosse League. The past two seasons, he has suited up for the Senior “B” Vermont Voyageurs (2013-14). In 2014, the defenseman played 10 games for the Voyageurs and notched 11 goals and 16 assists.
Before transitioning to senior ball, Thouin spent two seasons in the Junior “B” circuit with the Kahnawake Hunters (2010-11). In 30 games, he posted 22 points and was called up for three games with the Junior “A” Akwesasne Indians in 2011.
Thouin enjoyed his greatest success outdoors as a midfielder for the La Roche College Redhawks. From 2011-14, the former team captain finished second in school history in goals (95), assists (46) and points (141). He admitted he benefitted greatly from his decision to attend the school in Pittsburgh.
“I learned a lot from playing in a system and traveling to some of the best cities for lacrosse,” he said. “We played some great teams and the best thing was playing high-level field lacrosse, and adding to my box lacrosse experience.”
On Sunday, Thouin will hit the turf with an NLL team for the first time in his career just 15 miles away from where he grew up.
“I don’t even know how to describe it,” said Thouin. “It’s still a lacrosse game and I have to go out there and do my best.”
Thouin will be joined by another free agent in former University of Vermont forward Trevor Wagar, who will suit up for the Toronto Rock. The Guelph, Ontario native Wagar was a fifth-round draft pick of the Stealth in 2009.
In 2012, Mark Kirby and Patrick Hargreaves, two local lacrosse players from the Quebec Lacrosse Federation and Quebec Senior Lacrosse League, were each chosen by the Rock and Knighthawks respectively out of a pool of 35 players to participate in the exhibition game.
Kirby didn’t wait long to make his presence felt on the floor. A mere 31 seconds into the contest, the 5-foot-7, 197-pound Kahnawake native collected a rebound off of a blocked shot by Stephan LeBlanc and buried past Rochester goaltender Matt Vinc on the second-chance opportunity.
The exhibition will be broadcast live on the radio on 105.5 The Team in Rochester and online on theteam.fm.
Tickets for the exhibition game in Montreal can be purchased online at evenko.ca. To order by phone, fans can call (855) 310-2525.