Oilers Letestu to be honour by Pontiacs

As seen in the Bonnyville Nouvelle

Mark Letestu’s No. 11 will be raised into the rafters of the RJ Lalonde arena on Jan. 30, as the Bonnyville Jr. A Pontiacs pay tribute to the Edmonton Oilers forward.

Letestu, 30, notched 118 goals and 139 assists in 190 games with Bonnyville from 2002-2006.

During the 2005-2006 season with Bonnyville, Letestu led the AJHL in scoring, racking up 50 goals and 55 assists in 58 games and took home the league’s most valuable player award.

“Just to have Mark involved in the National Hockey League with the Edmonton Oilers coming back to the small town where he really started his hockey career is great,” said Bonnyville Pontiacs head coach and GM Rick Swan.

Current Pontiacs players will be wearing retro No. 11 Letestu jerseys during warm-ups on Jan. 30, with the jerseys being auctioned off during the game. Proceeds from the jerseys will go to support the Bonnyville Health Foundation.

A special tribute video and pregame ceremony will also take place.

With 118 goals Letestu is still the Pontiacs all-time career goals leader. His 248 career points is third all-time in Pontiacs history.

“It is not only going to be great for him and a great way for us to (honour) him, but it is great for the players,” said Swan.

“This is junior hockey and you are trying to get to the next level. Through hard work and perseverance you can achieve the highest level. Mark is a real representation of that. It is great.”

After spending four seasons with the Pontiacs, Letestu went on to play one season of collegiate hockey with Western Michigan Univsersity.

One March 22, 2007, the Pittsburgh Penguins signed the Elk Point native as an undrafted free agent.

After a few seasons split between the AHL’s Wilkers-Barre/Scranton Penguins and ECHL’s Wheeling Nailers, Letestu made his NHL debut on Nov. 14, 2009 against the Boston Bruins.

Since then the former Pontiac has gone on to play 364 NHL games with Pittsburgh, Columbus and Edmonton collecting 64 goals and 75 assists.

In his first season with the Oilers the Alberta native has six goals and six assists in 46 games.

With the NHL season on pause for the All-Star break, Letestu will be making the trek to Bonnyville to be honoured by the Pontiacs organization.

Fans are encouraged to be in their seats by 7 p.m. on Jan. 30 to catch the pre-game ceremony. Puck drop against the Old Grizzlys is set for 7:30 p.m.

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