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Former pro called in to put out fire for struggling Cataracts


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Former pro Martin Lapointe recently replaced Tyler Brown as one of the Cataracts imports.

GRAND FALLS-WINDSOR - The Grand Falls-Windsor Cataracts have made a change to their roster in the hopes of adding some additional experience on the blue line.

The club has released Halifax native Tyler Brown, and replaced him with import Martin Lapointe.

Lapointe is originally from Rouyn-Noranda, Que., and has played professionally since 1998.

After playing on the Dalhousie University team in 1998, Lapointe made the rounds in the East Coast Hockey League, professional leagues in Britain, Germany and France and a short stint in the American Hockey League with the Lowell Lock Monsters.

Last season with the Augusta Lynx of the ECHL, five-foot-11, 185-pound Lapointe recorded 12 goals and 19 assists and 66 penalty minutes in 63 games.

Lapointe is a friend and former teammate of Cats' forward Chris Pittman, who helped lure the former pro to the team. The new player was not sure what to expect from the West Coast Senior Hockey League, but was excited to be in the province to play.

"It is my first time in Newfoundland," he said. "I don't know a lot about the hockey here. I didn't know there was a league here until a month ago, really."

The defenceman said it is clear what his role will be with the team.

"I think they are looking for me to move the puck and get someone to bring the puck up and bring the play," he said. "They are also looking for help on the power play. Hopefully I will be able to skate a little bit and bring that puck up. That had pretty much been my role everywhere I have been, from a young age to my last year playing pro. I think that is one of my good qualities as a player."

He is currently hoping to find work in Halifax with the fire department there, since he has years of experience in that role as well.

"I have been fighting forest fires for the past 17 years back home," he said. "It started as a summer job and worked really well with my hockey schedule since I was able to go home every summer."

While playing in the U.S., Lapointe often volunteered as a firefighter to gain additional experience. He has completed several courses in firefighting.

In his years playing professionally, Lapointe said he often was mistaken for the NHLer with whom he shares the same name.

"We were able to meet a few years ago when he was playing in Detroit so that was fun," he said. "When I was playing in the States people would send me his hockey cards and want me to sign them and return them. Of course I would sign them and sent them back. I figured that if they were dumb enough to think he was playing in two different leagues they would not really care too much."

Cataracts general manager Dave Canning said the team was sorry to let defenceman Brown go, however they feel Lapointe brings with him the experience and leadership they need to improve.

"Tyler is a good kid, but we felt we were lacking a bit of experience with Craig Tulk not in the mix," he said. "We felt like we needed to be a bit more mature on defence with a little more leadership and experience there. We are hoping that Martin can do that job."

Canning said the start of this season has been difficult on everyone involved with the team, but management is not only building a team for this season but also future seasons.

"We are trying to build the team with good character guys and it may be a slow process but we are moving towards that," he said. "Fans have to be patient. It is hard on my nerves, too. I think we are a team now that is built for the long haul.

"It is a matter of getting the timing down pat and we when it comes time for the playoffs we will have a tough, strong team. We will not be intimidated by anyone and I think we will be the team to beat."

He added that there are no feelings of animosity that were felt on the team in previous years and the players respect and are willing to play for each other, which he thinks is beneficial for everyone.

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