It will be a homecoming next season for one of the new members of the St. F.X. X-Men hockey team.
Veteran head coach Brad Peddle announced Friday morning (Jan. 4) that Upper South River, Antigonish County native Declan Smith will join the program for the 2019 campaign.
A product of the Antigonish Minor Hockey Association (AMHA) and Junior X-Men programs, he is captain of the QMJHL's Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, the junior organization he has played for the past five seasons.
“Declan is having a great final season,” Peddle said of the 20-year-old in a St. F.X. Athletics press release.
“He is a fierce competitor who plays a very gritty and honest game. He is dependable in both ends of the rink and is very tough to play against. We are very familiar with Declan as he has come up through our local Antigonish Minor Hockey system where he has been a part of all our Junior X-Men programs for a long time. He will be a great fit to our group and we look forward to seeing him come back home to join our X-Men program.”
To date, the 5’11”, 194 pound center, has tallied 98 points in 219 major junior games.
Along with the homegrown Smith, the X-Men announced power forward Jean Dupuy's commitment for next season.
The 24-year-old, who most recently played with the Orlando Solar Bears of the ECHL, also laced up his skates for three campaigns in the American Hockey League (AHL), including a stint as an assistant captain with the Rochester Americans. In 2018, he won a Calder Cup championship with the Toronto Marlies.
The 6’3”, 207-pound native of Orleans, Ontario collected 24 points in 33 games with the Solar Bears. He played four years in the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), with Sault Ste. Marie and Kingston, and signed an NHL contract with the Buffalo Sabres.
“We are very happy to add Jean to our program. He is a strong skating two-way power forward with great size and speed who can contribute offensively, but is also very competitive on both sides of the puck. He will bring a wealth of experience to our group with his three years in AHL, several NHL camps and a Calder Cup championship," Peddle said.
"Jean will be an impact addition up front next season and we look forward to seeing him in blue and white in September.”
Smith and Dupuy join Jeremiah Addison, a forward from the AHL’s Laval Rocket, as additions to the X-Men for next season.