Arapahoe, LHA, Thunderbirds alum Lacroix decides on NAHL’s Grit for junior hockey destination
The Colorado Grit won’t join the NAHL until the 2023-24 season, but the team has been busy signing players to tender contracts for next season.
After Fort Collins native Marek Thompson was the first to sign in January, Castle Pines product Max Lacroix soon followed and signed as well.
“(Grit owner) David Clarkson coached me my 16U year with the Colorado Thunderbirds and we’ve had a great relationship since then,” Lacroix said. “Coach (Steve) Haddon reached out to me a few weeks ago expressing his interest, and I was obviously very excited to be able to play near home and in such a strong league, so it was a no-brainer for me. To be one of the first tenders was super cool considering the team is brand-new, and I’m looking forward to the opportunity next year.
“Colorado hockey has grown tremendously since I was born and a high-caliber junior team is something that has been missing, so to have it here now presents an incredible opportunity for players in Colorado, like myself, to have a place to play in our backyard.”
Growing up, Lacroix played for the Arapahoe Warriors, Littleton Hawks, and Thunderbirds before going to prep school (The Governor’s Academy in Byfield, Mass.), where he been for the past few years.
“My favorite highlight from youth hockey would be playing at Pepsi Center (now Ball Arena) my 15U year with the Thunderbirds,” said Lacroix. “I had grown up going to practically every Avs game, so to finally play a real game on the same ice as my dad (former Avalanche player Eric Lacroix) and some Colorado legends was really special. All of my coaches growing up were a positive influence on myself and the teams I played for. Specifically, my dad coached a lot of my teams growing up, and David Clarkson has been a great influence and help for me in my development to this date.”
Lacroix’s grandfather Pierre Lacroix served as the Avalanche general manager when the team won Stanley Cups in 1996 and 2001. He passed away in Dec. 2020.
Looking ahead, Lacroix has ambitious goals in mind as next season inches closer.
“I want to continue my development next season with the Grit en route to pursuing my goal of playing college hockey and dreams of one day playing professionally,” Lacroix said. “For now, I’m looking forward to representing the Grit in a professional way, on and off the ice, coming up here shortly.”
Photo provided by Max Lacroix
— Matt Mackinder
(February 16, 2023)