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Rookie defenceman Xavier Bernard notches first pro point as he continues development

January 6, 2022

Xavier Bernard has become a constant on the Belleville Senators’ blue line. After beginning the season in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, a long list of injuries and recalls have given the rookie rearguard a much more prominent role with the club.

No one has been more impressed with the continual growth of his game than head coach Troy Mann, who was quick to praise Bernard on Monday afternoon (January 3rd) after he notched his first professional point with an assist.

“He’s extremely coachable, a fantastic addition. When you start evaluating surprises over the course of the season, I think Bernie is one of those guys who has been impressive since development camp and has really improved on a day-to-day basis. You have to give the kid a lot of credit because he works on his game on and off the ice, whether it is with (Assistant Coach) David Bell or (Strength & Conditioning Coach) Mitch Freeburn in the gym. He is all about the details which we love, and he continues to get better.”

The Mercier, Quebec native’s steady play has created a predicament for the Belleville coaching staff. “When we do get our defencemen back from COVID and Ottawa, he makes it very tough to take him out of the lineup, and that’s what you want: competition in the lineup,” Mann said.

No matter what, Bernard’s work ethic and defensive acumen make him a real asset to the organization. The only question remains: will he contribute in the AHL or the ECHL? Xavier hopes his strong play and coach’s endorsement will help him extend his stay in the Friendly City.

Submitted by: Joel Vanderlaan (@Joelvanderlaan)