The Quad City Mallards, proud International Hockey League (IHL) affiliate of the Philadelphia Flyers, today announced that goaltender Sebastien Laplante has retired from hockey and that defenseman Darren McMillan has been waived in order to clear the way for McMillan to pursue a playing opportunity in Germany.
“I’ve made this decision after a great deal of thought and soul-searching- I’ve had to fight through a series of injuries the last couple of years, including a lingering groin problem this season, and at the same time I have an opportunity with my father’s car dealership back home so this is the right decision for me,” said Laplante. “The difficult part of this is having to leave the Mallards and the Quad Cities. I’ve been nothing but impressed since day one by the commitment shown by Mallards owner, the Mallards organization and the passion of the fans and have thoroughly enjoyed working with Coach [Frank] Anzalone. I’ve just reached a point in my life where I needed to make this change and after conversations with my wife, we decided it was time.”
Laplante’s retirement brings to an end an eight-year pro career. The 28-year old was selected by the Mallards in last summer’s International Hockey League expansion draft off the roster of the Fort Wayne Komets. The Casselman, Ontario native saw action in six games with the Mallards this season, going 1-3-1-1 with a 3.16 goals against average and a .902 save percentage.
“Sebastien and I had a lengthy conversation about his career and life goals and over the course of that conversation it became clear that this is the best decision for him and wife,” said Mallards owner Chris Lencheski. “He was highly complimentary of both our organization and our fans and while he felt badly about leaving the team especially as the team is beginning to show marked improvements, this is a necessary step for him at this point and he has the full support of our organization in making this decision and I wish him well. This allows the team to move forward now in continuing to improve.”
McMillan, 29, has been waived so that he can fulfill an ambition to return to Europe, where he previously played in Germany for Klostersee EHC in 2007-08.
“The opportunity to play in Germany was just presented to me and I had wanted to get back there for the last couple of years, so I felt it was something I needed to pursue while the chance was there,” said McMillan. “It is a decision I had to wrestle with because I’ve enjoyed playing for the Mallards and Coach Anzalone and this has just been such a quality organization to be a part of.”
McMillan, a fifth year pro, collected three assists in a dozen games will Quad City this season. The Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, native had previously played in North America for Ontario (California) in the ECHL and Wichita in the Central Hockey League.
The Mallards are next in action tomorrow evening on home ice at 7:05 p.m. against the Port Huron Icehawks. The first 1,000 fans through the doors for that game will receive free Mallards Drawstring Backpacks courtesy of Hardee’s.
Tickets for Wednesday night’s game and all remaining regular season Mallards home games are available at the i wireless Center box office, Ticketmaster outlets and www.ticketmaster.com or through Ticketmaster charge-by-phone toll free at 1-800-745-3000. The box office is open Monday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., on Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. and on game days from 10:00 a.m. through the end of the second period.