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INAUGURAL SEA DOGS HALL OF FAME CEREMONY A RESOUNDING SUCCESS

SAINT JOHN – The Inaugural Saint John Sea Dogs Hall of Fame took place on Saturday, June 16th at the Saint John Trade & Convention Centre. Over 500 guests attended the event that saw Sea Dogs alumni Jonathan Huberdeau inducted as the first member of the Sea Dogs Hall of Fame. Also honored were members of the 2016-17 President Cup Championship team who received their championship rings. In total, 14 alumni attended the inaugural Hall of Fame ceremony: Jonathan Huberdeau, Mike Thomas, Zack Phillips, Bailey Webster, Thomas Chabot, Boko Imama, Simon Bourque, Phil Richer, Alex Leduc, Dave Comeau, Kyle Ward, Mathieu Joseph, Chase Stewart, and Sam Dove-McFalls.

Fans were treated to a red carpet welcome from Sea Dogs prospects and returning players who attended the ceremony as part of their development camp weekend. Nathan Larose, Tommy Da Silva, Brendan Sibley, Aiden MacIntosh, Luke Wilson and Alex D’Orio were joined by members of the 2018 Sea Dogs Draft class to greet fans and thank them for attending.

“Although it was a night to celebrate our history, I would argue that it was almost more impactful for our future” said Sea Dogs President and General Manager Trevor Georgie. “Having our 2018 draft class in attendance was purposeful and in our meetings with our players, they all said it was the highlight of their weekend. It was only a few years ago that the men we are celebrating on stage, were in the same spot as the boys sitting in the crowd. We want our 16 and 17 year-old-players to be inspired and strive to get their own blue jacket one day. ”

Hosted by Tara Slone of Rogers Hometown Hockey fame the evening also included round table discussions with members of the 2011 Memorial Cup Championship team Mike Thomas, Zack Phillips and Jonathan Huberdeau as well as more recent Sea Dogs alumni Mathieu Joseph, Kyle Ward, and current Ottawa Senator Thomas Chabot.

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Congratulations poured in from all over as video messages were played from Dale Tallon – General manager of the Florida Panthers, Jonathan’s agent Allan Walsh, QMJHL Commissioner Gilles Courteau, from CHL on Sportsnet Sam Cosentino, and all the way from Las Vegas, Gerard Gallant and Mike Kelly.

Sea Dogs CEO and majority owner Scott McCain gave a speech recognizing the alumni in attendance while praising the concept of the Hall of Fame before announcing a $10,000 donation to Jonathan’s charity, La Fondation des Cougars. McCain also praised the current Sea Dogs and development camp participants going so far as to say he believes this young nucleus of Sea Dogs will once again compete for a Memorial Cup and that if the team is ready, the Sea Dogs will put in another bid to host the event here in Saint John.

Mark-Anthony Ashfield of Deloitte took the stage to speak about the importance of legacy and recognizing individuals for a hall of fame before opening a briefcase to reveal the jersey of the next member to be inducted into the Sea Dogs Hall of Fame, Memorial Cup Champion and Sea Dogs captain, Mike Thomas. The announcement brought the crowd to their feet as Thomas embraced his family who were also in attendance.

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“Although we are a young team, going into only our 14th season, we have a rich tradition that should be celebrated” said Georgie. “We have had almost unmatched success in the CHL this past decade and it is important to take a step back, be in the moment, and raise a glass to those that have left the jersey better off than when they first put it on. Jonathan is a well-deserving candidate to be the first Sea Dogs Hall of Famer and Mike Thomas was a lock for us to receive his blue jacket next.”

Also giving speeches were Mayor Don Darling, Peter O’Neill of Investors Group and finally former Sea Dogs assistant coach and Jonathan’s billet father Greg Leland who gave a very touching induction speech before Jonathan took the stage for his acceptance speech.

Jonathan was presented with a large placard adorned with his #11, and a blue Sea Dogs jacket reminiscent of the Masters green jacket. He spoke from the heart thanking his teammates, coaches, friends and family, and the people of Saint John for giving him a second home. Jonathan echoed many of the same sentiments shared by alumni throughout the evening – his love for the Sea Dogs, for the city, the importance the team puts on education, and that the team is run like a professional hockey team. At the conclusion of the ceremony Jonathan stayed on stage to take pictures with family and friends who traveled with him to be in attendance,as well as Sea Dogs fans.  
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