By Jadon Frank
Briercrest’s hockey team is going to have an experienced pro between the pipes this year.
Briercrest hockey is excited to announce the commitment of Valleyfield, Quebec’s Marco Emond for the 2013-14 season.
Emond bring an immense amount of experience from playing in 10 leagues, two major junior and eight professional, three countries and two continents.
“I played out of Quebec minor hockey all the way to Junior tier 2 where we won a championship in 1996-97 for the College Francais de Longueuil team,” Emond said. “Then I turned pro in 1998, played in the American Hockey League (AHL), East Coast Hockey League (ECHL), Central Hockey League (CHL), United Hockey League (UHL), Western Professional Hockey League (WPHL) and the France National Hockey League. I won three championships in the CHL; in 2004 with the Laredo Bucks, in 2007 with the Colorado Eagles and also in 2008 with the Arizona Sundogs. Last season we won the league championship in the Southern Professional Hockey League (SPHL). The team, Fayetteville FireAntz had finished last in the standing the two seasons prior.
Emond was also awarded the UHL Most Valuable Player while playing for the Elmira Jackals during the 2002-03 season, along with the Most Consistent player award.
Terry Ruskowski, former NHL captain and current head coach and general manager of the Quad City Mallards, coached Emond during the 2003-04 season with the Laredo Bucks. This was the first full season in the CHL for Emond and he made an impression on his former coach, as he finished the season with a 22-4-3 record and a 0.924 save percentage.
“I got him as a rookie (to the CHL), but he always handled himself as a veteran,” Ruskowski said. “He has grown in confidence in his goaltending abilities and how he handled off ice issues. I describe him as confident and level headed. There are no peaks and valleys in his game play. He is very steady. He has gained respect due to his religious beliefs. His biggest strengths are his god given athletic ability and the confidence he has in that ability.”
Briercrest head coach Dalton Stoltz is excited for what Emonds brings to not only the hockey team, but also Briercrest as a whole.
"What excites me about Marco coming to Briercrest is his desire to grow in his relationship with God,” the second year coach said. “That is his primary motive for coming. Hockey is secondary. In saying that, I think he will be one of our hardest working players and I know he will be a great team leader."
Emond grew up in Quebec, playing one game for the Halifax Mooseheads, before moving to British Columbia to further his hockey career with the Chilliwack Chiefs of the British Columbia Hockey League.
“I went to Polyvalente Baie St-Francois in Valleyfield, QC and also went to College Francais de Montreal high school and little bit of college,” Emond said. “I left college to go play hockey in BC my last junior year to learn English because at the time I only spoke French. I turned pro the very next season, 1998.”
Emond's best season came in 2006-07 for Colorado. He was 28-8 with a 2.54 goals-against average while helping the Eagles claim the crown. He won 33 games in 2002-03 with the Elmira (N.Y.) Jackals of the UHL, and he was 25-15-2 three seasons ago with the Bloomington Prairie Thunder of the CHL.
Fayetteville FireAntz head coach Mark DeSantis had nothing but praise for his former starting goaltender during an interview with sports editor Thomas Pope of the Fayettville Observer in Fayettville, North Carolina prior to last season.
"You don't play as long as he has without bringing something to the table,” DeSantis said. “He's a good person, too - a good character guy - and you don't play this long without being that kind of guy."
Emond, who has more than 235 pro wins to his credit, describes himself as "very cool and calm" in net and as a player who brings a consistent performance to the ice in every outing. He's also a believer that a goaltender has a bigger role to play than simply stopping pucks.
The goaltender expanded on that during an interview with Pope.
"I pick and choose my spots, but I can definitely make a difference as a third defenseman," he said. "I can come out, make a good tape-to-tape pass and keep the other team from spending as much time in our zone.
"And those kinds of things - making big saves, being confident, getting the offense going - those let the other guys on the team know they don't have to play with eggs in their pocket because when you're tentative like that and trying to not make mistakes, that's when you make the most mistakes. I know I can have a calming effect for everybody back there, and confidence is so important."
Ruskowski expects Emond to bring more than just athletic ability to Briercrest this fall.
“I would expect leadership from him on and off the ice,” Ruskowski said. “I would expect him to be a good student and to respect those who teach him.”
Emond has many interests that he hopes to nurture at Briercrest this fall.
“I am a big fan of learning about the economy, some politics, nutrition, supplementation and such,” Emond said. “I'm looking into social studies, business or something relative but mostly coming to also study the word of God more intensely, and fellowship with great people of the college. I’m looking forward to Briercrest; it’s the next step in my walk with Christ.”
2013-14 Briercrest College Men’s Hockey Recruiting Class
G Marco Emond • 5-10 • 1st • Valleyfield, QC/Bloomington Blaze (CHL)/Fayetteville FireAntz (SPHL)
F Taylor Epp • 5-10 • 3rd • Moose Jaw, SK/Portage College (ACAC/CCAA)
F Stephen Langford • 6-1 • 1st • Fort Collins, CO, USA/North Bay Trappers (NOJHL)
G Jameson Shortreed • 6-4 • 1st • Emo, ON/Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL)
RW Brett Lafond • 5-10 • 1st • Leask, SK/Waywayseecappo Wolverines (MJHL)
LW Kendrew Friesen • 6-3 • 3rd • Waldheim, SK/Winkler Flyers (MJHL)/Briercrest (ACAC/CCAA)
F Joachim Hånberg • 6-0 • 1st • Sweden/Rimbo IF (Swedish Division 2)
F Tim Murphy • 5-10 • 1st • Otterburn Park, QC/HC Lidköping (Swedish Division 2)
D Micah Abbott • 5-11 • 1st • Three Hills, AB/Three Hills Thrasher (HJHL)
F Tyler Medeiros • 5-5 • 1st • Winnipeg, MB/Lundar Falcons (KJHL)