The War of the 50 : Blainville-Boisbriand vs Gatineau
The Blainville-Boisbriand Armada made their entry into the QMJHL at the start of the 2011-2012 season, developing – naturally enough – a rivalry with the Gatineau Olympiques. Here’s a look at the rivals of Autoroute 50.
In the spring of 2012, the Laurentian club, led by Jean-François Houle, swept Gatineau in the first round of the playoffs. The latter put up a good fight against the Armada, but the talent of Étienne Marcoux, Marc-Olivier Roy, Xavier Ouellet, Christopher Clapperton and company allowed the former to make it to the second round.
Three years later, in 2015, the team from just north of Montréal again started the post season with home-ice advantage, but that time, the result was different.
The Olympiques who had a regular season marked by ups and downs, eliminated the Armada in six games at the Robert-Guertin Center. While Joël Bouchard’s veterans were a bit unsettled, those of Benoît Groulx had answered the charge to allow the most titled team in the history of the QMJHL to prevail.
Interesting fact: In both 2012 and 2015, the winning team was eliminated in the second round by the Rimouski Océanic.
These playoff battles and the proximity of the two cities – 170 km, which is equivalent to a 100-minute drive – has quickly allowed a rivalry to be established between these two franchises and their fans.
Team to team
As generally known, in junior hockey, a general manager rarely, if ever, makes a trade with an immediate rival. In six years, the Armada and the Olympiques have concluded three such trades. Here they are.
August 22, 2011
Gatineau sent defenseman Olivier Picard to Blainville-Boisbriand for an eighth-round pick. In retrospect, this trade turned out to be a real steal for the Armada, who dressed Picard for three seasons. Joël Bouchard quickly made him one of his leaders, even naming him captain in his last year. Once his junior career ended, the former # 4 immediately became a scout for the club.
August 19, 2013
Élie Bérubé and Antony Clément were traded to the Outaouais for Alexandre Duckett-Dufresne and two draft picks. In the 2015 playoffs, Bérubé wounded his former teammates by scoring a goal in their 6th and final meeting. Advantage Gatineau.
January 6, 2016
In the spring of 2016, the Olympiques took 20-year-old veteran Samuel Tremblay and 17-year-old goaltender Mark Grametbaeur from the Laurentians. In the end, Gatineau was eliminated in the first round and Grametbauer was traded to Charlottetown in the winter of 2016.
Two draft picks made the trip to Blainville-Boisbriand. A few months later, in the QMJHL draft, these two picks returned to Gatineau for Alexandre Alain, who had recently been named captain of the Armada for his last tour of the Q.
Let’s bet that Alain will take advantage of these matchups playing against the team that had taken a chance on him during the first round of the 2013 Draft.
On October 13th and 14th 2017, these two rivals of Autoroute 50 will compete twice in high intensity battles.
Players to keep an eye on in 2017-2018
Forwards: Vitalii Abramov, Shawn Boudrias & Mitchell Balmas
Defensemen: Will Thompson & Gabriel Bilodeau
Goalies: Mathieu Bellemare & Tristan Bérubé
Forwards: Alexandre Alain, Alex Barré-Boulet & Joël Teasdale
Defensemen: Antoine Crête-Belzile & Ryan DaSilva
Goalie: Francis Leclerc