Former Enfield High standout selected in NHL draft

By Colin Rajala - Staff Writer
Enfield - posted Thu., Sep. 13, 2012
Former Enfield High School standout Robbie Baillageron is welcomed into the Ottawa Sentaor's organization at the NHL Draft. Photos contributed. - Contributed Photo

Enfield native and former Enfield High School standout Robbie Baillageron was drafted by the Ottawa Senators with the 136th pick in the fifth round of the 2012 National Hockey League draft on June 23. Before he has a chance to play in the league, Baillageron will play hockey at Boston University in the fall of 2013 on a full scholarship. Since he will attend college before playing in the pros, the Ottawa Senators will retain his rights until 30 days after he has left college.

“It’s an honor to be chosen by such a passionate franchise,” Baillageron said. “When I heard my name called, I jumped out of my seat with my whole family. It was one of, if not the greatest feeling, I have ever had. There are no words to describe it; it’s like a dream becoming reality.”

In his lone season as a Raider, Baillageron scored 35 goals and tallied 25 assists to finish second on the team in total points. He was voted First Team All-State in his freshman campaign and led Enfield High to the Division II Tournament finals. After his freshman year, Baillageron was recruited to play at Cushing Academy by Rob Gagnon.

“The first time I watched him play, I knew he was a natural goal scorer,” Gagnon said. “I always thought you are either born with that skill or you’re not, and he is a pure scorer. He had a high hockey IQ and he was a play maker when I scouted him. I knew he was going to be very good, which is why I put him on the first line in between two experienced seniors.”

In his first year at the prep school, Baillageron tallied 15 goals and 30 assists, and was drafted by the Indiana Ice of the United States Hockey League, one of the best junior leagues in North America. After his sophomore season, Baillageron received a full scholarship offer to BU and committed.

“I cannot thank coach Gagnon enough for getting me a scholarship to BU,” Baillageron said. “I grew up wanting to play college hockey in Boston, and he made it happen for me. It was an unbelievable feeling that words can’t describe.”

He returned to Cushing for his junior year, when be erupted for 30 goals and 34 assists in 30 games. Averaging more than three points per game for the 25-6 Penguins, Baillageron was named to the 2011 New England Prep School Ice Hockey Association All-Star Team.

“I don’t know that Robbie had the work ethic off the ice conditioning and lifting weights when he was at Enfield High, but once he got a taste of what it takes to be great, he put in the hard work off the ice to make himself even better,” Gagnon said. “He is a hard worker on and off the ice now, and he has an incredible work ethic that has driven him to where he is today.”

After his junior season, Baillageron left the prep school and opted to play hockey in the USHL for the Indiana Ice. Playing against bigger, stronger and faster players, the lanky 18-year-old held his own, netting 14 goals and adding 34 assists in 54 games. During the season he also completed his education, graduating from a nearby high school.

“I have learned a lot with the Ice, especially how to grind it out,” Baillageron said. “They have helped me develop against the competition and pushed me to the max.”

Baillageron will play one more season for the Ice before entering BU to take the next step in his dream of becoming an NHL player.

“I am a player that can make things happen when you need them down the stretch, and I am still evolving,” Baillageron said. “This doesn’t happen to a lot of kids; it’s a unique opportunity, so I am working everyday to make myself bigger and stronger and ready for the NHL.”

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