Speed, skill and youth seem to be at the heart of this season’s Belfast Giants side, and with the addition of Francis Beauvillier from the AHL’s Manitoba Moose, all three should be on show when he lines up in teal come September.
24 year old Beauvillier is a product of the Major Junior system in Quebec (QMJHL). Initially drafted into the Lewiston MAINEiacs, it was a tough rookie season. Lewiston won only 23 games that year, Beauvillier racking up 26 points, but earning himself a place on the Canada Quebec U17 World Hockey Challenge side in the process.
After 2 seasons in Lewiston that team unfortunately had to fold and Beauvillier was picked up by Rimouski Oceanic in the dispersion draft. While there he was invited to the NHL Draft Combine and ranked 56th amongst North American skaters in Central Scouting’s final rankings prior to the 2012 NHL Draft. A draft that would see him selected in the 4th round by the Florida Panthers.
This led to him making his professional hockey debut with the Panthers’ AHL affiliate, GM Mike Santos bringing him into the San Antonio Rampage on an ATO. That, unfortunately, only lasted 8 games, Beauvillier returning for another season in QMJHL before joining the University of New Brunswick Varsity Reds team in the CIS (now USports).
A dominant few years in UNB brought two CIS University Champions Cups to the Reds, and the Manitoba Moose of the AHL came knocking. Despite starting the season late though injury, Beauvillier was able to post up 4 goals and 5 points in his first nine games in Winnipeg.
Francis appears to be a well-rounded individual, an interesting piece with Global News showing that he has aspirations that surpass just hockey and a willingness to consider all eventualities.
Yet hockey is at the core of his determination, and he was rewarded at Manitoba with a place in the Winnipeg Jets NHL Young Stars Classic roster for the 2017 tournament. It wasn’t a happy hunting ground for the Jets, Beauvillier’s closest chance being pad saved by Oilers goalie, Stuart Skinner leading to a 3-0 defeat in that game.
So a young star of the AHL has taken the opportunity to cross the Atlantic and continue his hockey adventure in Belfast.
If his name sounds familiar to you NY Islanders fans, yes, he is the older brother of Anthony.
Beauvillier appears to be a speedy forward with great acceleration, contributing at both ends of the ice. His skating ability not only makes him dangerous in offensive situations, but his ability to play at top speed also makes him a short-handed threat on the PK.
Welcome to Belfast Francis, ‘bout ye?