Where are they now? Lalonde and Chaumont
Hard to believe that it’s been seven years already since Kristine Lalonde last suited up as a member of the Lasalle Lancers.
The local product recently capped off a post-secondary career that took her to both sides of the border, capturing the CIS national title as a member of the University of Windsor Lancers.
Overcoming a key injury and returning to Canada after a few years at the University of Vermont, Lalonde could not have written a better final chapter to her post-secondary playing days.
“After taking my year off, and not knowing if I would come back and play or not, I’m just so glad that I did come back,” said the talented guard. “It was so much fun to play with these girls. It was such an overall team game this year, with everybody contributing.”
That would include the starter from Northern Ontario, who was also part of the Lancers fourth straight CIS gold-medal winning team in 2014.
“This year, I was more of a leader, taking on those minutes as a starting point guard,” she said. “As one of the captains, I was a leader on the floor, usually guarding their best player. (Coach Chantal Vallée) wanted me to stay focused on distributing the ball, making sure that everybody would get their opportunity to score.
“She was able to push me to be a better player overall, and that really helped me out a lot,” Lalonde added. “I wasn’t necessarily the go-to player, but I had a pretty big role on this team.”
In fact, Lalonde netted 18 points while helping to lead Windsor to Round 1 and 2 victories over both the Laval Rouge et Or and the Saskatchewan Huskies at the national championships.
“After losing key players last year, people didn’t think we could do it again,” Lalonde said “For us to win it again for the fifth time, well I think this was the best championship for me.”
While Lalonde has no post-secondary eligibility remaining, she has not yet given up on the option of playing competitive basketball again in the fall.
“I would like to try and see if I can go play overseas,” she said. “That would be an amazing experience.”
With seven stops in his 10-year professional hockey career, Sudbury native Bobby Chaumont was looking for some stability. After two years with the Mississippi RiverKings (CHL), the OHL ironman (he dressed for 272 consecutive regular season games as a member of the Sudbury Wolves) was contacted by a former teammate about an opportunity in Scotland.
“I had never really thought about leaving North America,” Chaumont said. “They put together a contract, and it seemed like a great opportunity, so I just took it. It’s been a lot of fun.”
A one-year stint with the Braehead Clan was followed by one last return this side of the pond, suiting up with the Fort Wayne Komets in 2011-12. By the next fall, Chaumont had returned to the U.K., moving from the Clan to the Fife Flyers, where he has settled in nicely for the past three years, earning a fan-favourite designation.
“It was a lot more similar to North American hockey than I expected,” Chaumont said.
With each team allowed 12 imports, a familiarity in style of play existed. And unlike a move to some continental European destinations, the language barrier was, for the most part, negligible.
“Out of all the imports, I thought I was one of the better ones to understand the Scottish folk,” he said with a laugh. “But once they got one or two drinks in them, we might as well have been in another country, because I had no idea what they were saying.”
While he has certainly seen his fair share of teammates stop in for a year or two in Europe and then hang up the skates, Chaumont insisted he is in no hurry to end this journey.
“I always told myself I would try and play the game as long as I can, and I find myself in a situation where everything about the experience there, I really enjoy,” he said.
While the now 30-year-old local product was never an OHL superstar, he more than held his own, amassing more than 100 goals during his junior hockey days. And though “what ifs” can often follow frustrated hockey prospects around, Chaumont is perfectly fine with his lot in life.
“I’m not going to regret anything,” he said. “I would love to be in the NHL, of course. But things have worked out quite nicely for me.”