LANGLEY, British Columbia – Former Trinity Western men’s hockey forward JP Villeneuve (Georgetown, Ont.) inked his first professional deal this past week as the offensive star will suit up with Aalborg Pirates in Denmark’s top division.
Villeneuve was in Denmark doing missions work as an evangelist this fall when he was given an opportunity to play hockey. After just two games with Aalborg’s second division team, Villeneuve, who was the BCIHL’s co-MVP and Rookie of the Year in 2013-14, impressed the Pirates coaching staff enough to earn a contract with the club’s top team and he will now compete with Aalborg’s top team.
“JP was a great asset to our program,” said TWU coach Barret Kropf. “He came in knowing how to prepare for games and how to do things with excellence, so he really helped us get our culture going that way. As he’s transitioned into his post-secondary life, he had some opportunities to do some ministry things throughout Canada, but he also got an opportunity to go over to Denmark and do some street evangelism and train to be an evangelist. He got a chance one day to get on the ice and one thing led to another and now he has a professional deal.”
Villeneuve spent parts of two years with the Spartans, collecting 29 goals and 20 assists in 31 games from 2013 to 2014. In his illustrious first year in the BCIHL, 2013-14, Villeneuve scored 21 goals and added 12 assists in 22 games. In the post-season, he scored five goals in five games and helped TWU to its first ever BCIHL championship series.
“We don’t want TWU to be the graveyard for our players’ careers,” Kropf said. “We don’t want this to be a spot where they end their careers. We spend a lot of time investing into them and we want them to go out and be ambassadors and be leaders on and off the ice and JP is an example of that. So, anything we can create beyond TWU helps our program grow.
“We’re working hard as staff and communicating with people we know in the hockey world and getting out extra tape on players as they’re getting ready to graduate. We’re sending film out all the time and just looking for places for those guys to go play.”
Prior to joining the Spartans, Villeneuve played in the BCIHL with the Powell River Kings, where he had 31 goals and 22 assists in 75 games.