By LOU BABIARZ
Bismarck Tribune Sports Editor
In the end, Jacques Lamoureux decided it was better to switch than fight.
After having his application to the Air Force Academy denied due to a prior bout of depression, the former Bismarck Bobcat star decided not to appeal and has committed to play hockey at Northern Michigan.
"Hopefully it's one of those things that happened for a good reason," the Grand Forks (N.D.) native said.
Lamoureux, who finished tied for ninth in the NAHL in scoring this season with 70 points, was recruited to play for Air Force and passed the school's academic admission procedure. But to his surprise - and the surprise of the Air Force coaching staff - he was denied to his experience with depression three years ago.Lamoureux's past was hardly a secret. In fact, after recovering, he has made a commitment to help others by trying to raise awareness about depression.
Lamoureux frequently speaks to groups, especially youth groups, sharing his experiences.
Lamoureux could have appealed the Air Force decision. However, he was aware that if the appeal was unsuccessful, the process would take so long that he likely would have been unable to play college hockey some place else next season.
"At some point when your case falls on deaf ears, you have to start looking elsewhere," Bobcats coach Dane Litke said.
Lamoureux did have one year of junior eligibility left, he decided it was time to move to the college level.
Although he was naturally disappointed by how the situation was handled, Lamoureux said the Air Force helped find him a spot at Northern Michigan - and Lamoureux is excited about the prospects of playing there.
"In my eyes they have one of the best coaches in college hockey in Walt Kyle," Lamoureux said. "He has an intense, no-nonsense attitude that complements what I bring to the table. It's a good fit."
There also is a good chance Lamoureux could crack the lineup as a freshman.
"They're losing nine forwards, so I'll have the opportunity to step right in and battle for a chance to play right away."
Lamoureux is the fifth Bobcat to commit to a school this season. Forward Eric Kattelus, named the NAHL's rookie of the year yesterday, will be going to Michigan Tech, goalie Tim Krystosek to Air Force, forward Tommy Dee to Bowling Green and forward Ben Noah to St. John's.