GLENS FALLS — When the AHL’s Syracuse Crunch called up three players from Adirondack after Friday night’s game, the Thunder knew where to turn: a real estate agent.
Well, one with some hockey experience who wouldn’t need directions to the arena.
Pierre-Luc Letourneau-Leblond became the first player to play for both the Adirondack Frostbite and the Adirondack Thunder on Saturday. It had been nearly 12 years since Letourneau-Leblond had played at what was then called the Civic Center and is now the Cool Insuring Arena.
Letourneau-Leblond, a 32-year-old right wing, retired after last season, when he spent 37 games with the Crunch and one with the Toronto Marlies. He and his wife have called Albany home for the past three years, due to the fact that she had a job there and he had several stints with the Albany River Rats/Devils.
Over his lengthy career, he reached the NHL five separate times with the New Jersey Devils, Calgary Flames and Pittsburgh Penguins, playing 41 games.
Now a real estate agent with Coldwell Banker, Letourneau-Leblond was showing a house when he got the call between 10:30 and 11 Saturday morning.
“And I’ve got a couple open houses (Sunday),” he said. “When they called me, I was just really excited. I knew what I was walking into. It’s just great. This is where I started my career 12 years ago. To have a chance to come back and play here was special. I had the best seat in the house.”
Letourneau-Leblond shook his head enthusiastically when asked if he remembered his 2005-2006 season with the UHL-level Adirondack Frostbite.
“It’s about a 45-minute drive up here from my house and I was thinking of everything that happened my first year,” he said. “It was a great team. That was the year (head coach Marc Potvin) died. I looked up in the rafters and they took his jersey down, but it is what it is.”
Letourneau-Leblond played 31 games with the Frostbite before earning a call-up to the Albany River Rats, with whom he played 27 games that season.
“It was a great year,” he said. “I didn’t speak English then, I was learning it. I had such a great group of veterans. The players on the Frostbite were unbelievable. They helped with my transition from being a French-Canadian to being a player in the states.”
When public address announcer Dan Miner announced that Letourneau-Leblond would be added to the Thunder lineup, a notable, collective cheer could be heard. Another smaller one was heard when he took his first shift.
Letourneau-Leblond played a few shifts in each of the first and second periods. He had one shot on goal.
“Leblond, he drew a penalty and we went on the power play,” coach Brad Tapper said. “It was nice to see the camaraderie.”
Letourneau-Leblond isn’t coming out of retirement. There are houses to sell. But for one night, he got to satisfy that urge to compete.
“The boys played hard,” he said. “It was a big win. You know what? If it’s my last game ever, it was a good one.”