Lemirande ready for jump to Division I

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Eric Schmoldt
Thursday, March 6, 2014

JANESVILLE—The Madison Capitols. The Janesville Jets. The Youngstown (Ohio) Phantoms.

Janesville native Conor Lemirande has been climbing the hockey ladder for years, and it paid off recently with the opportunity to play at the NCAA Division I level.

Lemirande reached the next rung by verbally committing last week to play for Miami University in Ohio.

“It's definitely been stepping stones,” Lemirande said. “I played for the Janesville Jets for two years, and that was a great opportunity. I took that stepping stone, and the next one was coming out to play at Youngstown.”

“Playing in college is something I've always dreamed of.”

Lemirande chose the RedHawks for several reasons, listing a strong coaching staff and future group of teammates, as well as Miami being a business-oriented school.

He'll also get a chance to play with his cousin—Andrew Schmit, a Grafton native, will be a senior next year.

“You've just got to be an every-day guy,” Lemirande said of his mentality heading to the collegiate level. “You've got to do the right things every day—work on your skating, your stick work, something every day to be a better player than you were the day before.”

That work ethic has been a staple of Lemirande's at every level.

Playing with the Jets during the 2011-12 and 2012-13 seasons, he had 32 points in 110 games, but his impact was felt far more than the statistics show. Lemirande was a team captain and won the North American Hockey League's Messier Project Leadership Award for service work in the community.

“I have to thank the Janesville Jets and the city of Janesville for the opportunity they gave me,” he said. “Janesville is a great city, and I'm really excited for what the Jets have done there in moving players on. It's a great place to have the team.”

But eventually it was time for Lemirande to test his skills at the next level.

He moved up to Youngstown, which plays in the United States Hockey League. There, he is an assistant captain and has 14 points in 44 games.

“If you play junior hockey, you always want to play at the best possible level you can succeed at,” Lemirande said. “Being an older guy here was definitely nice. You've got another year on some guys, being 20 years old. That was a huge part of my success this year.”

The 2012 Janesville Craig graduate has also continued his work off the ice.

“You have to thank the fans for coming,” Lemirande said, “because we wouldn't have the opportunity we have playing hockey at the junior level without the fans' commitment.”

He has just a few weeks left at that junior level before he continues his climb to the National Collegiate Hockey Conference.

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