The NHL draft. The day dreamed of by the main applicants from their earliest childhood. This day is meant to be the gateway to an even greater goal: that of playing in the biggest hockey league in the world. There is enough to make you dizzy.
“The closer the day gets, the more trouble I have sleeping. A few days ago, I fell asleep at 3 am. I was thinking about that. »
Photo courtesy of Dan Hickling
Maveric Lamoureux, who plays blueline for the Drummondville Voltigeurs, also gave it his all during the Combine in Buffalo.
Ranked 20th by NHL Central Scouting among North American skaters, Maveric Lamoureux could be one of four QMJHL Quebecers who will hear his name in the first round tomorrow.
“It is a stress for nothing. I have no idea where I’m going to come out, where I’m going to land. It has been my lifelong dream when I was little. Now I know what will happen. So it’s a mix of stress, excitement and happiness,” explained the Drummondville Voltigeurs defender.
Photo courtesy of Dan Hickling
Gatineau Olympiques defender Tristan Luneau participated in physicals for NHL draft hopefuls in early June in Buffalo.
For Tristan Luneau, 24th on this same list, the uncertainty about the next destination is a new feeling.
In 2020, it was the first choice of the QMJHL auction. Although the event was presented virtually, the defender was invited to the Gatineau Olympiques offices to be present at the official announcement of his selection.
This time, history will be different for the young man from Victoriaville.
“Starting first overall gives a feeling of mission accomplished. When you’re a competitor, you want to be the best, she said. Now not knowing where I’m going is a bit emotion. Living this suspense to the end is another kind of experience. But it will also be nice. »
Fullback Noah Warren scored 24 points for the Olympiques during the most recent season.
His Gatineau teammate, Montreal fullback Noah Warren, ranks 33rd among North Americans.
Drive away negative thoughts
The good thing about all these young people, most of whom were born in 2004, is that the work is done. Just like a student at the end of the session, all they have to do is wait for the final grade.
Except for the hockey players, the season, the playoffs, the games with the top prospects, the evaluation weekend in Buffalo, it was big. Values manage.
Photo Agency QMI, Andréanne Lemire
Quebec Remparts center Nathan Gaucher (right) hopes to beat Shawinigan Cataractes’ Isaac Ménard in a playoff match on May 29.
“A draft year is not a year like any other. There is a lot going on off the ice,” admitted Nathan Gaucher, whose name appears in 16th place.
“When you go through periods where things are less good, it’s your draft year, you have more negative thoughts. You put pressure on yourself, the Quebec Remparts center continued. You have to erase those thoughts, remember that you play hockey because that is the fun. »
Rewarded with the Mike-Bossy Trophy, given to the top prospect in the QMJHL, Gaucher hasn’t experienced too many lows over the past season.
Sports psychologist to the rescue
Vincent Lecavalier mentioned it during a news conference he held with the Canadiens’ Kent Hughes earlier this week. Being labeled the first pick in a draft comes with its share of distractions.
Obviously, at 17, a young man is not prepared to deal with this type of situation. To manage this properly, he needs to get help.
Of course, none of the four Quebec players who have gathered in recent days will hear their name from the start. This did not prevent them from experiencing some challenges and seeking significant support.
“I had the opportunity to work with a sports psychologist to find other things and just chat. The mind is a bit left out. You work your muscles, but you also have to work your brain,” said Nathan Gaucher.
For his part, Maveric Lamoureux maintains that he needed a period of adaptation to be able to assimilate and digest all the attention he was receiving.
“It took me about a month and a half to realize that I had to focus only on myself and what I had to do. From the moment I stopped worrying about rankings and what was being said in the stands or on social media, it was fine. »
To accomplish this, it took a team effort that included the agent, the coach, the general manager and a sports psychologist.
“A solid entourage is needed. Now I can say that mental preparation is a very important aspect in the sport,” Lamoureux said.
This is even more true in a world where you have to deliver goods every day and where you don’t dominate the scene as much anymore.
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