WEST LEBANON — The Lebanon High boys hockey program has someone on its roster with fans in Quebec.
On Monday, sophomore goaltender Toby Cromwell drew the eye of the Shawinigan Cataractes, who selected him in the second round of the American portion of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s entry draft.
Cromwell, of Meriden, tended the Raiders’ net nearly every minute of last season, backstopping the team to an 8-12-1 overall record and reaching the quarterfinals of the NHIAA Division II state tournament. Lebanon posted an unofficial 2.39 goals-against average as a team over its 21-game campaign.
Cromwell, who initially played youth hockey for the Meriden-based Twin Valley Flyers and White River Junction’s Upper Valley Storm before joining the Hooksett, N.H.-based New Hampshire Avalanche for the last five years, was among 292 athletes ages 15 and 16 chosen in Monday’s draft. He was 25th out of the 36 American players selected and the second goaltender picked by Shawinigan in the U.S. draft. Cromwell will turn 16 in August.
The QMJHL’s 18 franchises can choose 14 athletes from Quebec and the Canadian Maritimes in the main draft as well as two players from the New England states in the American draft. Because QMJHL players sign contracts with their teams, they are ineligible to compete for NCAA college hockey programs.
“It’s obviously a big honor, and exciting,” Lebanon coach Jim Damren said this week.
In a news release on the team’s website, Shawinigan general manager Martin Mondou said he will invite Cromwell to a training camp in Quebec later this summer. Cromwell had been scheduled to join the Cataractes for a prospects camp in April, but it was canceled by the COVID-19 pandemic.
It’s a rare thing for someone from the Twin States — let alone the Upper Valley — to have his name called by a QMJHL team. One former Lebanon High skater, Hunter Luhmann, went in the 10th round to the Charlottetown Islanders in 2014 while he was attending Proctor Academy. (The QMJHL broke out its American draft from the main selection process in 2018.) Luhmann passed on the Quebec league, ultimately playing three years at PA and four more in various junior leagues before joining the men’s hockey program at Endicott College two years ago.
Canaan native Ben Lovejoy was also a QMJHL selection, in 2001, to the Moncton Wildcats, as he was wrapping up his prep career at Deerfield (Mass.) Academy. Lovejoy also turned down the Quebec league, first entering Boston College before transferring to Dartmouth.
Shawinigan is a founding franchise of the QMJHL, which began play in 1969.
Source - Valley News Columnist