VAL-D’OR, Quebec – Maineiacs’ owner Mark Just hates to fly.

He hates losing even more.

Immediately following Lewiston’s 5-3 victory Tuesday, Just booked a flight – to Rouyn-Noranda.

No flights from Montreal were scheduled to land in Val-d’Or before Wednesday’s game. The plane Just took landed at 4:30 p.m. in Rouyn-Noranda, an hour northwest.

The team sent photographer Ronnie Morin to pick him up. Once at the rink, Just was given specific instruction – go to the locker room. And stay there.

In Lewiston, Just has seats just inside the blue line across the rink from the press box. He’s never there, though.

Instead, he paces. And paces. And paces. He sometimes even ducks into the Mainieacs’ locker room when things get too intense.

Wednesday was no different. Just arrived at 6 p.m., plenty of time before the puck dropped. He split his time between the hallway next to the Maineiacs’ bench and the locker room, listening for crowd noise to tell him what was happening.

By the end of the game, the Maineiacs’ reserve players were taking shifts updating the owner.

“I was hyperventilating,” Just said. “I had to go sit down, and they kept running in and telling me the score.”

Feels like the first time … again

VAL-D’OR, Quebec – Seeing Simon Courcelles hoist a trophy was a familiar site to many around the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.

But not this trophy.

Courcelles won the Memorial Cup with the Quebec Remparts last season, but his team lost in the President’s Cup final to Moncton in six games.

This time, he helped make sure that the final piece of junior hockey hardware gets added to his cabinet.

“This was the only thing I hadn’t won with a team,” Courcelles said.

And Wednesday night’s victory was that much sweeter because of it.

Courcelles is a rarity on the 2006-07 club: He is one of four players who begin his career with another QMJHL club.

But he was just as important as the rest, and he knew that the President’s Cup is only the beginning.

“We still want the other one, eh?” Courcelles asked, referring to the Memorial Cup, the tournament that begins next Friday night in Vancouver, British Columbia.


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