TROIS-RIVIERES – He has just turned 15, but Tristan Luneau knows what path he wants to take to fulfill his dream of playing in the NHL.
The gifted Midget AAA defenseman announced on social media Monday that he would report to the University of Wisconsin Badgers in the NCAA in the United States. If everything goes as planned, Luneau will have a final year with the Booms in 2019-20. He could then be in the USHL junior league, still in the United States, before joining the Badgers, one of the best university programs south of the border.
Offensive defensive, Luneau, originally from Victoriaville, is nevertheless attached to the Mauricie since it continues its development on the north bank of the river since its Bantam AAA. In his first year in the midget in 2018-19, the young man made a lot of eyes: not only did he compile 24 points in 42 games with a positive differential of +12, he mainly helped Quebec to win the gold medal at the Canada Games, a first in 32 years. He was one of the most impressive players on the blue line during this tournament.
Indeed, Luneau would have caused a sensation in Red Deer to recruiters from American universities. Family counselor of the Luneau clan, Dominic Deblois recognizes that the hockey player who already exceeds 6 feet was in demand. “The NCAA has always been one of his considerations,” says Deblois, while recalling that Luneau was named student of choice at the Booms at the end of the campaign.
Had he opted for the Canadian junior hockey path, the 15-year-old might have become the first pick in the 2020 draft. It will be remembered that just a few days ago, the clan Luneau had resisted the temptation to ask for an exceptional player status, which could have opened the doors of the QMJHL to the teenager. He would have imitated Joe Veleno.
In the Western League, Matthew Savoie saw his request to play in the junior at age 15 be denied. He revealed in March that he was leaving for Denver University for the 2021-22 season. Like Luneau, he will be eligible for the National Hockey League draft in 2022.
Recognized for his supporters
Tristan Luneau was not available to speak with the media on Monday night, but he was probably aware that the University of Wisconsin is known for developing good advocates.
Ryan Suter, Ryan McDonagh, Jake Gardiner and Justin Schultz are among their newest ambassadors. The team is led by former NHL skater Tony Granato.
It is not surprising that Luneau announces his intentions so early in his career. As of May 1, the NCAA is reviewing its rules and will now prohibit university teams from recruiting or talking to players if they are not in their second year of high school. Over the last few weeks, we have witnessed an avalanche of young player commitments to the NCAA.
“Defenders like him, it does not run the streets. In addition to being talented, Tristan is a super serious student. He works as hard in school as in practice, “concludes his midget AAA coach, Frederic Lavoie.