NORTH BAY - Timmins native Erik Robichaud will exchange his Abitibi Eskimos jersey for a Nipissing Lakers top this fall.
Lakers head coach Mike McParland said adding Robichaud and former Sudbury Wolves players Chad Thibodeau will give his OUA squad some depth, as well as some experience, with both guys having played high-calibre junior hockey for the past few years.
“We’re really pleased to add Chad and Erik,” he said.
“We feel they will both provide us with some experience, coming from the OHL, and both offer different skill sets that we’ll be able to utilize next season.
“They strengthen our lineup.”
Robichaud was the Eskimos second leading scorer this past season, finishing with 61 points (32 goals, 29 assists) in just 36 NOJHL games. That total was just five points behind the team’s leading sniper, Brady Clouthier, who played in 14 more games.
Robichaud added 11 points (4 goals, 7 assists) in 11 playoff games with the Eskimos.
The forward also spent 15 games with the Sarnia Sting, of the Ontario Hockey League, picking up a goal and an assist.
He was the Eskimos leading scorer during the 2010-11 season, but spent all of the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, first with the Moncton Rockets and then the PEI Rockets.
Robichaud said the combination of playing hockey at the next level, as well as continuing his education is exactly what he was looking for following his junior hockey career.
He is known more for his offence, bringing speed to the Lakers roster, but is responsible defensively as well, allowing him to fit on to any of the four lines the Lakers will ice on any given day.
“Erik is a speedy forward who can put the puck in the net,” McParland said.
“His speed and scoring ability is going to help replace some of the goals we lost due to graduating players.”
Thibodeau split time this past season between the Wolves and the Ontario Junior ‘A’ Hockey League’s Wellington Dukes, who hosted the Dudley-Hewitt Cup, this past season.
He made previous stops in the Sault Ste. Marie, with both the OHL Greyhounds and the NOJHL Thunderbirds.
— With files from the North Bay Nugget