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Roger Brown's The State of Sports: Among the chosen few

By ROGER BROWN
New Hampshire Union Leader

June 17. 2018 9:35PM

Colin Freitas of Manchester, who will be a junior at Bishop Guertin, was selected in the recent Quebec Major Junior Hockey League draft. He is shown here last Friday wearing his Moncton Wildcats sweater Friday. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



The NHL Entry Draft will be held this weekend, but Bishop Guertin goatender Colin Freitas already knows what it feels like to be drafted. Freitas, a Manchester resident, was selected by Moncton in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s American Draft earlier this month.

This is the first year the QMJHL has held an American draft separate from the QMJHL Entry Draft. Each team selected two U.S. junior-aged players who reside in one of the six New England states, and Freitas was taken with the 23rd pick.

“Obviously he’s very excited,” said Freitas’ mother Jennifer. “He’s worked very hard. He’s been playing goalie since he was 4 or 5 years old. His goal as always been to play as long as he can, whether that’s college or whatever level. It’s a huge opportunity.”

Freitas, who recently finished his sophomore season at BG, was spotted by Leo Gould, a Nashua resident who scouts for Moncton.

“He’s very, very solid on the first shot,” Gould said. “He scrambles a bit on the second shot, but that’s what your defensemen are for. I really liked his positioning, his movement and his size (6-foot-1, 185 pounds). Everybody’s looking for tall goaltenders these days. He has all of those things, now it’s a matter of developing those skills.”

At 16, Freitas isn’t ready to play in the QMJHL, but Moncton will monitor his development while he’s on their 60-player protected list. Moncton will have his QMJHL rights until it removes Freitas from that list.

Gould said Freitas will attend a camp in New Brunswick next month, when he’ll be mentored by St. Louis Blues goaltender Jake Allen. Freitas will then attend a Moncton training camp in August. If Freitas remains at that camp for more than 48 hours, he will lose his U.S. college eligibility.

“One thing people don’t understand is that academics are a part of this,” Gould explained. “We have an academic adviser and our players are either finishing high school here or they can attend a college in Canada paid for by the league and the team.”

Three other New Hampshire players were taken in the QMJHL American Draft: Stratham’s Cole Crusberg-Roseen (Blainville-Boisbriand), Bedford’s Cade DeStefani (Saint John) and Brentwood’s Cy LeClerc (Blainville-Boisbriand). Roseen is a defenseman. DeStefani and LeClerc are forwards.

Before he enrolled at BG, Freitas spent two years at the Hillside School, a boarding school in Marlborough, Mass. He was BG’s starting goaltender as a sophomore, but suffered a concussion midway through 2017-18 season. He returned in time to help sixth-seeded BG upset third-seeded Pinkerton 3-1 in the Division I quarterfinals last March. Freitas, who has also played for the New Hampshire Avalanche, made 24 saves in that victory.

“For a young kid he’s got real good size,” BG coach Gary Bishop said. “My understanding is he’s planning on staying with us (BG) next year. After that I don’t know.”

Jennifer Freitas said it’s a little too early to know if her son will pursue his opportunity with Moncton, especially since the family doesn’t know what college opportunities might present themselves in the future.

“We have an adviser helping guide us through this,” she explained. “We’ll see how things go this summer.

“The funny thing is that you have all these people telling you you have to spend the money to play travel hockey and he was noticed at BG. Right now we’re just all very excited. We’re very proud of him.”

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ICYMI: Matt Guerard announced his resignation last week after spending the last seven seasons as boys’ Bedford High School’s lacrosse coach. Guerard guided the Bulldogs through two junior varsity seasons before Bedford moved up to the varsity level in 2009.

Bedford posted a 147-38 record in its seven varsity seasons under Guerard and won the Division II championship in 2012, 2013 and 2014. The Bulldogs had a 72-game winning streak from 2012 to 2015.

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Bedford’s Jason Boucher helped the Nashua 18U Advanced Junior Team Tennis team advance to the World Team Tennis Junior Nationals, which will be held July 23-27 in San Diego. Nashua is one of 16 teams that will compete in the event.

The team, which plays out of the Nashua Swim and Tennis Club, advanced to the Junior Nationals by winning a three-team New England qualifier. Boucher went 2-0 in his matches during the qualifier.

Other members of the team are Kai Georgs (Groton, Mass.), Linda Kong (Lexington, Mass.), Emily Hill (Wilmington, Mass.), Claire Reynolds (Nashua) and Jens Georgs (Groton, Mass.). In addition to the tennis competition, the players will also participate in seminars and a clinic run by WTT co-founder Billie Jean King.

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Bedford’s Alex Steeves, a center who played for the USHL’s Dubuque Fighting Saints last season, is among the players with New Hampshire ties who could be selected in the NHL Entry Draft, which begins Friday in Dallas. Steeves was ranked 86th among North American skaters (non goalies) in the NHL Central Scouting Bureau’s final rankings.

Steeves has committed to play at Notre Dame. Matt Steeves, Alex’s older brother, was a freshman forward for Notre Dame last season.

Kimball Union Academy defenseman Jordan Harris, New Hampton defenseman Michael Kesselring and Lawrence Academy (Groton, Mass.) center Connor Sweeney are among the others with New Hampshire ties who could be drafted. Sweeney, the son of former NHL player Bob Sweeney (Bruins, Sabers, Islanders, Flames), has committed to play for the University of New Hampshire beginning with the 2020 season.

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Kyle Colburn has been chosen to replace Les Lawrence as the head football coach at Mascoma Valley Regional High School in Canaan. Colburn, 30, is a Lebanon High School graduate who was an assistant coach at Mascoma and Newfound of Bristol under head coach Ray Kershaw. He is also the junior varsity basketball coach at Lebanon.

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Practice for this year’s CHaD East-West All-Star Football Game is scheduled to begin Friday. The East will practice at Manchester West and the West will hold practice at Manchester Memorial. Practices are open to the public.

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A reminder that the New Hampshire Senior All-Star baseball game against Maine will be played today at Nashua’s Holman Stadium. First pitch is scheduled for noon. The Maine roster includes Cape Elizabeth catch Brendan Tinsman, who will play at Wake Forest. Tinsman was selected as Maine’s Gatorade Player of the Year.

rbrown@unionleader.com


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