Tristan Lemyre is the top returning point scorer in the SJHL and a first line offensive force with the Bombers if he returns next season.
If he returns.
Whether or not the diminutive dynamo from Mirabel, Quebec will come back to Flin Flon for next season is unknown.
Back in May, Lemyre was selected in the first round of the USHL draft by the Dubuque Fighting Saints. The USHL, in the hierarchy of the hockey world, is a superior league to the SJHL. No SJHL players have been selected in any round of the NHL Draft since 2005, but nine players from the USHL were picked in just the first round of last year’s NHL Draft.
The league can also serve as a prime developmental ground for NCAA players. Lemyre, one of only two NCAA Division I commits from the SJHL along with teammate Donavan Houle-Villeneuve, committed to Denver University last season. If Lemyre comes back to Flin Flon, he will likely head to Denver for the 2021-22 season.
When asked if he was confident whether or not the forward would be back in maroon and white next season, Bombers head coach and general manager Mike Reagan was unsure.
“That’s a tough one. I don’t know. I know Tristan loves it here and that sort of thing, but obviously the USHL is probably the best developmental league as far as getting players ready for NCAA Division I and he’s got to worry about his development and be ready for Denver in a year’s time,” he said.
Reagan said COVID-19 concerns could end up playing a role in whether Lemyre returns to the Bombers next season or not.
“With everything that’s going on, that’s affected by it too. If there continues to be outbreaks in the U.S., I’d say the chances of him being in a Bomber uniform next year are greater. If they get things under control down there, then I would think that there’s a good chance that he ends up in the USHL,” Reagan said.
When comparing Manitoba and Iowa – the home state of the Fighting Saints – as of June 21, Manitoba had only reported 311 cases of the disease, while Iowa, a state with roughly three times the population as Manitoba, had reported 25,865 cases. Six hundred and eighty-five people had died from COVID-19 in Iowa, while only seven Manitobans have died from the disease.
Within the city of Dubuque, 415 cases of the disease have been identified. In Flin Flon, only one case of COVID-19 has been identified leading to no community spread and no cases have been reported for around three months. No cases of COVID-19 at all have been reported in northern Manitoba since April 8.
If Lemyre wants to go down south for the upcoming season, Reagan said he won’t hold him back. Losing a top player would hurt the lineup in the short-term, but would be a good reference for the Bomber program in the future.
“The mindset is, if Tristan plays in the USHL next year, we’re happy for him. That’s a credit to our organization and developing players to play at that level. It would be like a player in the ECHL getting an opportunity to play in the American Hockey League. Not too many players are going to turn that down,” he said.
“If that’s where he ends up, we’re extremely happy for him and we feel we’ve done a good job at developing him for that level. I’ve always had the mindset that if a player can play in the USHL, then we’re not going to hold him back.”