Hache completes Blaze defence
The Genting Casino Coventry Blaze have completed their defensive unit for the 2018/19 Elite League season with the signing of 24-year-old Canadian Justin Hache.
SIGNING NEWS!!!!! Please welcome your new #ï¸â£2ï¸â£8ï¸â£ ð¥ðð¨ðð» pic.twitter.com/vgVakTcw6X— Coventry Blaze (@covblazehockey) July 19, 2018
The 6’2” native of Petit-Rocher, New Brunswick arrives in Coventry on the back of an impressive first season in Europe with SønderjyskE of the Danish Metal Ligaen where in 58 regular season and playoff games he registered 28 points (5 goals, 23 assists).
Production from the back-end is nothing new to the left-shooting defenceman whose junior career began in 2008/09 with the Miramichi Rivermen, where in his second year, with 22 points in 31 games, he helped the team win the regular season title before making his first of two separate appearances for Canada Atlantic in the under-17 World Hockey Challenge (2010 and 2011).
2010 saw the defenceman selected by Shawinigan Cataractes in the first round (8th overall) of the QMJHL Entry Draft. In year two, his 18 points in 60 regular season games helped a team of high-profile prospects to a first placed finish in the East Division, going on to lift the prestigious Memorial Cup.
In 2012, Hache was proudly picked by the NHL’s Phoenix Coyotes in round 7, 208th overall of the 2012 entry draft. For the following two years, he went from Shawinigan to Cape Breton Screaming Eagles where in his first season he led all Cape Breton defencemen for points (7 goals, 26 assists for 33 points in 68 games).
In his second and final QMJHL year, as well as putting up 46 points (5 goals, 41 assists), in 57 regular season games, his outstanding work in his own end was also recognised with him being voted Best Defensive Defenceman, winning the Kevin Lowe Trophy and named in the second All-Star Team.
2014 saw him sign a three-year entry-level contract with the Coyotes before subsequently being traded to the Dallas Stars organisation in 2017.
Despite playing in NHL rookie camp games, Hache was to never get an opportunity in the ‘show’, however he was to build a strong two-way reputation in both the AHL and ECHL.
In the AHL, between 2014 and 2017, with Portland Pirates, Springfield Falcons, Tucson Roadrunners and Texas Stars, he iced 150 times with 22 points and 82 penalty minutes. His ECHL experience equates to 29 regular season and 5 playoff games with 12 points and 26 penalty minutes for Rapid City Rush and Idaho Steelheads.
Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “Justin gives us top pairing defenceman. He’s good in all areas, on and off the puck. He will play crucial minutes for us and in all situations. He is a big body who adds grit and size to our back-end. He has played at very high levels and comes to us still at a young age with room to develop further. I’m excited about him and how he completes and compliments our defence.”
Justin Hache commented, “I’m very excited for the opportunity to play for the Coventry Blaze. It is an easy choice to play in a professional organisation in a great league. I hear many positives about playing in the UK. The history, the culture and the passionate fans. I am ready to contribute that same passion on the ice this season and help bring the Blaze great success.
“I’m a solid, stay at home defensemen who is consistent in my zone and also has the ability/flexibility to contribute in all situations. I’m a calm & poised player but also have that passion & grit needed to bring home a win! I can’t wait to start the season.”