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RapidFire19

Former Player News : Trevor Fleurent

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https://www.pressherald.com/2018/08/22/biddeford-native-looking-forward-to-making-new-memories-with-maine-mariners/

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Trevor Fleurent has already had his share of success at Cross Insurance Arena.

Trevor Fleurent already has great memories of his time on the ice at what he knew as the Cumberland County Civic Center.

A decade ago, as a sophomore at Biddeford High, he scored in overtime with an assist from Brian Dumoulin to beat Kennebunk in the Western Class A final on the way to a perfect 24-0 season. Two years later, Fleurent suited up for a skills competition as part of the American Hockey League’s All-Star Game and received a shout-out from P.K. Subban.

Both Dumoulin (two Stanley Cup titles with Pittsburgh) and Subban (Norris Trophy winner with Montreal) went on to have great success in the National Hockey League. Fleurent, 26, is continuing his career in professional hockey with the Maine Mariners, who open their inaugural ECHL season Oct. 13 at Cross Insurance Arena, as the civic center has been renamed.

“I’ve had some pretty good luck there,” Fleurent said. “Hopefully, that can carry over now.”

The Mariners open training camp at Troubh Arena the first week of October. Fleurent is one of 18 players under contract, and the only one who grew up Maine. After winning three Class A state titles at Biddeford, he played three years with the Portland Junior Pirates before embarking on a successful four-year career at the University of New England, ending in 2017.

Fleurent made his pro debut with the Fayetteville (North Carolina) FireAntz of the Southern Professional Hockey League near the end of the 2016-17 season and spent last winter in Norway as an import for Kongsvinger, a town close to the Swedish border. He tied for the team high in goals (12) and was third in points (24) over a 45-game season.

“It was an easy transition,” Fleurent said of his time in Norway, where initially he was one of two American players but wound up with two more U.S. teammates. “We were in the top league there. Unfortunately, we got relegated to the second league, but it was a good experience.”

Fleurent said he played against AHL and ECHL veterans, often matching up against fellow North American imports. To prepare for the ECHL, he played this summer in a professional development league based in Foxborough, Massachusetts, and worked with a trainer to get in better shape.

“I was a little heavy going into last season,” he said. “I’ve worked hard this offseason to prove that I can play at this level.”

Under terms of a collective bargaining agreement, ECHL rookies earn a minimum of $470 per week and veterans (those with at least 25 pro games) receive $510. Fleurent was told his time in Norway didn’t qualify, so he is considered a rookie. The Mariners also provide housing in South Portland’s Redbank Village for their players.

Riley Armstrong, head coach of the Mariners, has seen Fleurent play only on video but picked up on a few of his attributes.

“What I like is, he has a really strong stick around the net,” Armstrong said. “That allows him to win a lot of puck battles down low and around front. I also like his size and his compete level.”

Fleurent, though, will need to show in training camp that his skating and speed are up to par. The caliber of play in the ECHL is higher than that of Division III college hockey and some European leagues, Armstrong said.

“It’ll be interesting to see how he’ll do,” Armstrong said. “Every spot is up for grabs with the team. There’s no set lineup going into it.”

Fleurent is one of 10 forwards under contract. The only other forward older than 25 is Ken Neil, also 26, of Newfoundland, who played for Pensacola in the SPHL last winter.

Other players have been invited to try out with the Mariners, who will also receive a handful of prospects under contract to the New York Rangers, the team’s National Hockey League affiliate. Between the Rangers and the Mariners is the Rangers’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hartford Wolf Pack.

“It usually ends up being anywhere from four, five or six players,” said Gordie Clark, the Rangers’ director of player personnel. “There’s no set amount. It’s just a definite relationship that we’re certainly going to be sending players there and obviously using players from there.”

Clark, 66, played and coached for the first incarnation of the Maine Mariners and helped them win the AHL’s Calder Cup in 1979. He said he has yet to see Fleurent play, but Clark’s son, Brendon, is a part-time scout for the Rangers who covers New England and is familiar with Fleurent.

“(Brendon) said he’s going to be somebody for me to watch,” said the elder Clark.

As for Fleurent, he played in a Greater Portland men’s league game Wednesday night at Troubh Arena and will accompany Dumoulin on Saturday evening at Biddeford Ice Arena as part of a fundraising event to help reopen that city’s West Brook Skating Rink, which was closed last winter.

“Brian, myself and all my friends, that’s where we learned to skate,” Fleurent said of the outdoor rink built in 1921. “We’re trying to bring it back.”

As part of the 2010 AHL All-Star Classic in Portland, Fleurent was one of four high schoolers invited to participate in a skills competition. He broke four targets on seven shots in the accuracy contest, but it was his effort in the fastest skater event that drew the attention of Subban, competing in the All-Star Game as a member of the Hamilton Bulldogs.

The clock failed to register on Fleurent’s first attempt at circling the ice. On his second try, he accidentally knocked over the clock with his foot. He finally succeeded on his third effort. Subban commandeered the public address microphone to give props to the youngster from Biddeford.

“He said, ‘I’d be gassed if I had to do that three times,’ ” Fleurent said. “The place was packed. We got jerseys with our name on the back and got to meet all the guys. It was pretty cool.”

Whether Fleurent can one day climb the ladder of pro hockey high enough to join Dumoulin and Subban in the NHL remains to be seen. For now, his focus is on the Mariners.

“I don’t like to look forward that much,” he said. “I take one day at a time and will try to help the team win as much as possible and see where that will lead me.”

 

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