CPJHL announces addition of Universel College Unik for 2018-19 season

by Matt Mackinder

The Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League has announced the addition of the Universel College Unik franchise for the 2018-19 season.

Located on the Universel College – Gatineau campus, the school is launching the first college hockey development program in the Outaouais. The Unik will play in the CPJHL’s East Division.

“We are extremely excited to add the Unik to our growing number of teams for next season,” said CPJHL president Stephane Laveault. “This program has strong support at all levels and will be a welcomed addition to the CPJHL.”

“There is a strong hockey tradition in the Outaouais,” said Universel College director general Saloua Zraida. “Many of this region’s talented and passionate hockey players, as well as those from Quebec in general, would like to be able to continue to develop both athletically and academically at the highest level after secondary school. The Universel College wants to provide to these young athletes an ideal post-secondary education environment in which they can flourish academically and practice their favorite sport, all within the beautiful Outaouais region. 

“Our student-athletes will thrive in a sports-study program that is primarily focused on academic success, but that also fosters both personal growth and developing as a hockey player.”

The Universel College will implement this college hockey development program in collaboration with the Académie de Hockey Stéphane Gougeon. The Académie will oversee the coaching, development and training of the student athletes. 

Stéphane Gougeon, the Académie’s director, has been active in the Outaouais’s hockey community for the past 20 years. 

“The Académie has been involved in school hockey since 2008 and we have found that when our young players graduated from secondary school, there was no opportunity in the Outaouais region for them to continue to develop in this sport at the college level,” said Gougeon. “There is obviously a need for school hockey to continue on to the college level and we are very happy to be able to work with the Universel College to provide this wonderful opportunity to this region’s players.”

The College will also build a women’s team, which will focus on training during the 2018-19 season, and will participate in competitions as of the 2019-20 season.

“Student-athletes in the hockey program will be provided with daily weekday afternoon training sessions,” explained Universel College’s athletics, activities and student life coordinator Nicolas Rouleau. “On-ice and off-ice training will be held Monday to Thursday. Fridays will be dedicated to performance analysis and hockey theory for our players.”

“I am convinced that our student-athletes will find that our College’s specific pedagogical approach, which is based on individualized guidance as well as the academic support that we offer our students, in combination with the level of athletic skills development built into our hockey program, provides the perfect environment for them to pursue their passion all while achieving their academic and athletic goals,” added Zraida.