Lewiston native Sam Frechette has signed a tender with the Maine Nordiques after spending the past three seasons playing the L/A Nordiques. Ron Morin photo

For the second straight season, the Maine Nordiques have tendered a local player.

On Thursday, the team announced that Lewiston native Sam Frechette signed a North American Hockey League tender for next season.

Signing with the Nordiques was an easy decision for Frechette.

“I didn’t want to go to any other (junior) program,” he said. “I just wanted to stay home, and this confirms I am going to stay home and be able to have an opportunity to have a spot on the team.”

A tender is a contract that gives a team a player’s NAHL rights, and the player cannot be drafted or signed by another NAHL team. The player, however, can sign with another team in another junior league.

Last year, the Nordiques signed Lewiston residents Cole Ouellette and Alex Rivet to tenders. Ouellette spent the entire 2019-20 season playing for the Nordiques, while Rivet was with the team until he we released in January. He finished the season playing in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League.

Frechette knows what to expect as a local kid on the Tier II team.

“I saw Cole every day this year, so I saw what he was going through, but it was hard because everybody knew Cole — there was a lot riding on his shoulders, and Rivet as well,” Frechette said.

The 19-year-old Frechette has spent the past two-and-a-half years playing with the L/A Nordiques of the North American 3 Hockey League. A 5-foot-10 forward, he racked up 24 goals and 38 assists, ranking second on the Tier III team in scoring behind Joe Clark (50 goals, 34 assists).

“He’s a hard-working, good two-way hockey player,” Maine Nordiques coach Nolan Howe said. “While he was more of a scoring presence at the NA3HL level, at our level he will be counted on to be a guy, whether it’s on the wing or through the middle of the ice (as a center), to come in and compete for a spot.”

Frechette said that while he was disappointed on not making the Maine Nordiques team last season, having a second full season at the NA3HL level helped him become a better player. He also was able to get in more workouts because, unlike the previous two seasons, he was no longer in high school.

Frechette does have some experience at the NAHL level, having been called up by the Nordiques for seven games this past season. He also practiced with the NAHL team many times.

“There’s a familiarity with the building, the community and the coaching staff,” Howe said. “We all know him pretty well. He played for (associate head coach) Cam Robichaud for a couple of years there (with the L/A Nordiques). He got some time with our U18 (Maine Nordiques Development Program) team. Our general manager (and U18 coach) Eric Soltys is familiar with him.”

Sam Frechette, who this week signed a tender with the Maine Nordiques, helped Lewiston High School win three state championships. Ron Morin photo

Before joining the L/A Nordiques full-time, Frechette also played three seasons at Lewiston High School where he had 67 points (28 goals, 39 assists) in his career and won three state championships.

The Frechette signing fulfills the team’s requirement of signing a NA3HL player to a tender.

DI COMMIT TENDERED

The Nordiques also announced this week that goaltender Kyle Chauvette, who is committed to play for NCAA Division I Holy Cross, has also been signed to a tender.

The 18-year-old Goffstown, New Hampshire, native backstopped Loomis Chaffe (Windsor, Connecticut) to a New England Prep Martin/Earl Large School championship this past season with a 34-save effort in a 2-0 win over Cushing Academy (Ashburnham, Massachusetts).

“Kyle is somebody we had our eyes on early in the year, as we saw him play in the BEAST league,” Howe said. “He is someone who has trained with (the Next Generation of Goaltending Development), which our goaltending coach Brendan Sullivan has been working with. We had eyes on him early, we tracked him throughout the year. He had a fantastic year with Loomis. We feel like he can come in and compete for the starting spot going into next season.”

Prior to the prep season, Chauvette played for the Yale Jr. Bulldogs U18 team that competed in the BEAST league, which the Maine Nordiques Development Program played in. At Loomis Chaffe, where he spent the past two seasons, Chauvette had a 2.79 goals-against average and a .909 save percentage

This is the second consecutive season that the Nordiques have tendered a goaltender already committed to play at a Division I school. Last year, it was University of Maine commit Connor Androlewciz. He played a half-season with the Nordiques before being called up to the Sioux City Musketeers off the United States Hockey League, and then finishing the season with the Lincoln Stars of the USHL.

A Division I commitment is nice, but it’s not the only thing the Nordiques look for in a goalie.

“I don’t think being committed to Division I is something we focus on, it certainly doesn’t hurt your pedigree or resume, so to speak,” Howe said. “But at the end of the day, we want guys who compete and stop every puck, that are athletic, that care about keeping the puck out of the net, and that are going to be great teammates as well. When you look at a young man like Kyle, he checks a lot of those boxes for us.”

Holy Cross is in Worcester, Massachusetts, and plays in the Atlantic Hockey Conference.

With Frechette and Chauvette, the Nordiques are up to three tenders for next season. The other is Tyler Gaulin,who was tendered in late February and played in the final two games of the season for the Nordiques. The team still must sign a player who played in the North American Prospects Hockey League 16U and 18U leagues.


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