The Selkirk Steelers have announced the signing of 18-year-old goaltender William Desmarais. The left-hand catching product of Sherbrooke, QC. will battle for the starter’s role with the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s Steelers in the 2020-21 season.
Desmarais spent the past season in goal for the first-place College Champlain Cougars (24-9-3) as one of the 13 teams making up Quebec’s Men’s Division I collegiate hockey program. Led by the 5-foot-9, 180-pound backstop, the Cougars finished one point up on the Saint-Laurent Patriotes while allowing the least goals-against league-wide and finishing first with a plus 57 goal differential.
In 25 games played this past season, the 18-year-old went 17-6-2, while leading the league in both goals against average (1.96) and save percentage (.924). With Desmarais between the pipes, the Cougars made a six-win, 11-point improvement from the 2018-19 season. This past postseason was ultimately cancelled due to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
Prior to his time with Champlain, Desmarais played with the Gatineau L’Intrepide of the 15-team Quebec Midget AAA league. In splitting duties with Alexandre Groleau, he recorded a .900 save percentage and a 2.47 goals against average in 22 games for third-place Gatineau in 2018-19. This past year, Desmarais also suited up for one game with his hometown Sherbrooke Phoenix of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, earning his first taste of major junior hockey.
Selkirk finished 2019-20 just one win shy of qualifying for the postseason, compiling a 23-30-7 record through 60 league games – good for 53 points. With eight rostered goalies this past season, 1999-born Levi Mitchell took the brunt of the workload, while Austin Deboer (2000) and Rory Dumelie (1999) also saw action. Desmarais and the Steelers will look to improve upon their 219 goals against and -41 goal differential from this past season.