CPJHL announces transfer of league ownership from Stephane Laveault to Barry DeGray

by Matt Mackinder

The Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League announced today that the league has transferred ownership from Stephane Laveault to Barry DeGray, effective immediately.

Laveault has owned the league since the inaugural season of 2016-17 and has created a model of development, consistency and sustainability over that time, as well as providing the opportunity for players to travel to Las Vegas each December to play in the annual WSHL Western Shootout showcase, hosted by the Western States Hockey League.

In addition, the league has moved players on every season to higher levels of junior hockey, ACHA, NAIA and NCAA hockey, as well as professional hockey.

“I am proud of how far the CPJHL has come, but now it’s time to put the league in someone’s hands who has more time and energy than I do to keep the league moving forward,” Laveault said. “I’m looking forward to spending more time with my wife, our children and grandchildren. This is the right time and I couldn’t be happier with the direction the league is going in and with Barry taking over, I am excited to see the CPJHL continue to grow and succeed in all of our markets.”

DeGray, also the GM of the Smiths Falls Settlers, has an extensive hockey background. 

A former junior hockey player, DeGray has spent 27 years in player development as a coach and GM at the AA, AAA, Junior B and Junior A levels. He was also a scout for the OHL’s Belleville Bulls from 1999-2001 and has been a Level 4 pro instructor for Power Edge Pro Hockey the last four years.  DeGray has also served as a professional skating coach the past 15 years, including working the 2012 Nashville Predators Prospect Camp, in addition to working as the skills coach for the CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians Skills Coach and the past eight years as a Level 3 referee.

He wants to bring that knowledge to the CPJHL’s operations.

“The No. 1 goal for myself is to make sure that the CPJHL is on the forefront of providing a great playing experience, environment and being very proactive on player development,” DeGray said. “This will give players the opportunity to advance their careers with American and Canadian colleges and universities.  

DeGray also noted that the CPJHL is a very appealing and attractive league when it comes to how it has been run and how it will continue to be run.

“The governing body (AAU) is one of the oldest governing bodies in North America,” said DeGray. “As well, teams are able to recruit international players from Europe and other Eastern countries. The owners in the league are passionate about the game, fielding competitive games and advancing players.”

And as the league enters a transitional phase, DeGray wants to give Laveault credit where credit is due in promoting the CPJHL to this point.

“First of all, it is a pleasure to call Stephane a friend,” DeGray said. “I have had the opportunity to watch Stephane now for three years build a league from the beginning and seeing how professional he has been to make the CPJHL to what it is today. I would like to thank Stephane for building a healthy, competitive league that anyone could be proud to take over and own. The Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League has a great name with a solid foundation and structure.

“To start a league and build a successful league, it takes a huge dream with lofty goals to reach and countless hours of work to make happen and achieve. Stephane has leadership skills that will be hard to follow but I will do everything to enhance and build further to what Stephane has successfully put in place.”