Thursday , 18 August 2022
Left to right: Dean Smyl, Canadiens General Manager, Matt Pundick, Canadiens President, Rhonda Lefrance representing MCSNet, Alumni Board members: Mark Hassen, Jaden Saik, Duane Walanuk, and Patrick Lamoureux announce partnerships before last Saturday's St. Paul Canadiens game.

St. Paul Canadiens Alumni Foundation announce scholarships, community initiatives

The Alumni Foundation has two marquee events scheduled with the NHL and Montreal Canadiens to further cement the legacy and history of the St. Paul Jr. Canadiens. 

A year a half after launching, the St. Paul Canadiens Alumni Foundation is making huge strides in the community by starting scholarship programs with local businesses while also directly donating to another local charity. 

Last Saturday, the Alumni Foundation made several of their initiatives to the public for the first time after several months of groundwork. 

“We have successfully put not one, but three scholarship programs in place,” said Pat Lamoureux, Alumni Board member. 

“Equally, St. Paul Kidsport with Darryl Poirier, we acknowledge their involvement with our foundation. We are going to continue to support their foundation in terms of being able to provide funding, because we believe in the principal values of what Kidsport as a whole represents in the greater St. Paul region as a whole.”

The first ever scholarship program for the club was announced–sponsored by Saik Insurance Service Inc. Cooperators for a five-year term. 

The second component of the scholarship is a fundamental 10 year commitment to a scholarship program for non-athletics as well, which will be shared to the regional area schools in the near future. 

The Alumni Foundation also partnered with Kidsport St. Paul and made a donation of $2500 with Saik Insurance Service Inc. Cooperators before Saturday’s Canadiens game. 

These initiatives underscore the growth of the Alumni Foundation, which now has 300 members registered, and there are hopes to get every alum, some 1,500 players, all registered. 

Left to right:
Dean Smyl, Canadiens GM,
Mark Hassan, Alumni Board,
Matt Pundick, President
Shawn Saik, Saik Insurance Service Inc. Cooperators,
Jaden Saik, Alumni Board,
Sharman Saik, Saik Insurance Service Inc. Cooperators,
Duane Walanuk, Alumni Board,
Patrick Lamoureux, Alumni Board.

Major NHL events coming to St. Paul 

While there were announcements for local initiatives, two major events are upcoming this winter for the Canadiens with a big presence from the National Hockey League. 

The Canadiens will host an NHL Indigenous alumni group game on Jan. 15th, in part with a contribution from MSCNet. 

MSCNet also has stepped up with a five-year athletic scholarship program that is going to be directly appointed for use by the club. 

“Our intention there with our contribution and others that are coming is to be able to celebrate the long history of Indigenous St. Paul Canadien alumni players that have played for the club,” said Lamoureux. 

“We have had approximately, since day one of inception of the Canadiens club, and back to the early 50s, approximately 150 to 200 Indigenous players that have played.”

The 2021-22 St. Paul Canadiens.

The ties with the Montreal Canadiens don’t end there. Montreal Canadiens alumni are coming to St. Paul for a game on Feb. 5. 

This springs off the recent reconnection between the local team and the NHL franchise. Lamoureux described working with the Canadiens to find the history of when the Habs gave the St. Paul team their name and colours back in 1954-55. 

The evidence of some of that work is the sharp update on the center ice logo at the Clancy. 

“As a result of that, we’ve been able to continue to be grandfathered. And our trademark is protected by the National Hockey League and the Montreal Canadiens. So the St. Paul Jr. Canadiens and the St. Paul Canadiens Alumni Foundation and our brand and our colors will be continually and properly legally protected by the National Hockey League and the Montreal Canadiens,” said Lamoureux. 

Details about what alumni players will be coming for the two events will come out sooner to the dates, but the sense of pride in the 65 year plus history of the Canadiens is only growing. 

The rafters at the Clancy Richard Arena will be much more crowded soon as well, with the re-ordering of 39 championship banners, 18 of which have never hung in the rink before. 

St. Paul Canadiens patriarch Pat O’Neill drops the puck with Canadiens’ assistant captain Janson Pashniak and Lloyd Bandits’ Drew Hardy.

Some of Pierre deMoissac’s extensive history of Canadiens memorabilia and historical artifacts now has residence at the Clancy Richard Arena as well, allowing spectators a trip down the club’s illustrious memory lane. 

“The work that he has done has been, it’s just been monumental. In trying to catch up with 67 years of history that has never been told, and we believe that Pierre has done a great job, said Lamoureux. 

“The other part of that is we want the community to show up, go to the club’s games, they got a hell of a club this year, they’re going to do some really good things. And having people attend the St. Paul Canadiens home games is really important to make sure that they continue to thrive and be incredibly successful.”

The St. Paul Canadiens are 2-0 to start the season and travel to Cold Lake tonight (Friday) for the first meeting against the Ice.

About Michael Menzies

Menzies is the editor-at-large for Connected Media Inc. Born and raised in Vermilion, he started in May 2018 during his NAIT Radio and Television practicum and reports on local politics, sports, and community issues. He became the Bonnyville Pontiacs play-by-play voice during the 2019-20 season. He also comments on provincial and national issues. Menzies hosts Connected! Evening Monday-Thursday at 5 o’clock. He also likes to buy books and read some of them.