After signing his commitment to the York University’s Lions hockey program, Lucas Theriault, like many Niagara IceDogs’ alumni, was quick to credit the organization first and fans for his growth as a player, leading to an opportunity at the USports level.
“The IceDogs’ believed in me since day one. For me coming from Sault Ste. Marie to Niagara and playing in front of a fantastic fan base and an amazing community that’s going to stick with me forever.” He could have also mentioned his family, which includes one past National Hockey League player (Mike Foligno, Theriault’s uncle) and two present (Nick and Marcus, his cousins), all of whom are available to provide advice. The final factor would be Lucas’s own commitment and work ethic.
IceDogs’ General Manager and Governor, Joey Burke, never wavered in his belief that Theriault could contribute to the Lions’ hockey team: “We felt it was a great fit for Lucas heading to York. We know the coaching staff very well and have a great relationship with the program. We’ve had a ton of alumni go through there, and from our end, we feel it is one of the top programs that Lucas could have ended up with. I know as a family it’s a destination they’re excited about. York fits his playing style. I talked with their head coach quite a lot during the recruiting process and it became clear as we were going along what a tremendous fit it would be for him there. They love the details that Lucas brings to his game with his face-offs and compete level and everything of that nature. From our end, we’re extremely excited for the opportunity. I think it’s a great fit for him, and certainly, we’re thrilled we could do everything we could to help him transition into that next level and chapter for himself, but really at the end of the day, I think the York Lions is a tremendous fit and a fantastic program overall. I know Lucas will thrive and enjoy it there.”
Theriault will study Kinesiology. He will likely turn to fellow IceDogs’ alumnus Shayne Rover, who played defence for the Lions between (2013-18) and currently coaches for Crestwood Preparatory College. Shayne is a graduate of York with a Bachelor of Science in Kinesiology. He has put his education to great use teaching science and physical education at Crestwood.
“It’s a really great program at York. I was never into looking at all the rankings and that sort of stuff, but I know it’s a top program especially at York, because they offer both a Bachelor of Arts and Science there’s a little bit of everything. It’s a great facility. It’s a great program. There’s a lot of the guys on the team [in the program]. It is probably the second or third most popular program among guys on the hockey team, so you end up taking classes with your teammates. It’s a lot of fun. So yeah, there is a lot of variety in the program. If he asked me for advice, I would tell him honestly: enjoy it. The program is going to take care of him and test him as much as it needs to. I have no direction to point him other than do your best and enjoy your stay. I’m sure he’s taking it for a similar reason as me, as athletes, we become so in tune with our body that to continue to study the human body and human psychologically, makes a lot of sense because it’s like learning your craft even more from a science perspective that’s what got me into it.”
There can be little doubt that Theriault will enjoy his time at York. Like Rover, he will also find ways to put his hockey and academic experience to good use. Lucas is already thrilled with his choice of the program: “I am honoured to be a part of the YorkU Lions hockey program, and I can’t wait to get started with them. I’m super excited for this new opportunity.”