Maple Creek’s Craig and Blake Fournier are set to play hockey together on the Minot State University team this fall. Although the brothers have both been playing hockey all their lives (they learned to skate at age 3), they have not been together on a team since their pee-wee days 10 years ago.
“I probably haven’t seen Blake play for five years,” said Craig, “so it should be interesting. We’ll get to see how we compare, and maybe play together on a line or something.”
Craig Fournier, 22, will be starting his third season as right winger for the Minot University Beavers. Craig scored 20 points for his team in 38 games last season, and was awarded the title of hardest working player.
Blake Fournier, 21, will be joining his brother in North Dakota following a successful three-year run as centre for the Nipawin Hawks in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Last year, Blake played in all 71 of the Hawks’ regular season and playoff games, scoring 25 points and serving as team captain. Like his older brother, Blake was also awarded hardest working player.
Last season Blake also collected awards for most dedicated, most inspirational and an award for community service and leadership, voted on by his teammates.
In addition to hockey, the Fourniers enjoy golfing, swimming and tennis, and play together on the Maple Creek Mohawks baseball team in the SaskAlta League.
Craig was initially drawn to Minot after the team showed interest in recruiting him at the age of 18. For Blake, the opportunity to play hockey and attend school with his brother comes as an added bonus.
“It seems like a good hockey town,” Blake said of Minot.
Craig described Minot as friendly and easy to get around, noting similarities to Medicine Hat.
In addition to hockey, the brothers Fournier will be kept busy by their studies. Craig is studying education, with the intention of teaching math at the middle and high school levels. Blake will be starting in general studies, but is “probably going into education as well.”
Although the brothers get along well, Blake notes there is “always a bit” of sibling rivalry between them, but it tends to be lighthearted.
One of the disadvatages of moving away to play hockey is that the brothers don’t make it home as often as they would like.
“It’s kind of tough,” says Craig. “There’s a few breaks, obviously. We get a couple weeks here and there. I think I made it back three or four times last year.”
“I was only able to make it back [from Nipawin] at Christmastime,” Blake said.
“[The Fournier brothers] come from a great family of hardworking individuals,” Minot Head Coach Wade Regier told the News-Times.
“With our program, character is the number one trait that we recruit for. They are the epitome of character, and we look forward to having them in our locker room.”
Interestingly, the brothers Fournier will not be the only set of siblings playing for the Minot Beavers this fall.
“We’ve got three sets of brothers on our team,” said Regier.
In addition to the Fourniers, the Minot roster also includes Dylan and Jeremy Johnson, brothers from Yorkton, as well as Lyndon, Kyle and Bryce Lipinski, three brothers from Grand Prairie, Alta. All told, seven of the 29 players on the Minot team have siblings on the roster.
“It certainly wasn’t planned that way,” Coach Regier said with a laugh. “We’re very fortunate to have them with us.”