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Maveric Lamoureux: the player behind the giant

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Maveric Lamoureux will be host of Antichambre on RDS and RDS Direct, Tuesday evening around 8.45pm, after the Cataractes v. King of oil.

MONTREAL – Maveric Lamoureux sets the interview at 3 pm. Among his commitments in advance: an appointment with the chiropractor. Which of all the injuries that have bothered the great defender this season still bother him?

Nobody will reassure us later. A few weeks after the most important day of his young career, Lamoureux vows to be in excellent shape. But he doesn’t hide the fact that the last year was physically demanding.

A kick in the shoulder during his retreat did not disappoint him all year. It forced him to play brace until the playoffs and blew him most of February. When he returned to the pitch, in a match against Rouyn-Noranda, a cross check to the back left him with two fractured ribs. He played despite the pain for two weeks before receiving the correct diagnosis. “I had a hard time breathing, but I thought he was muscular,” he says simply today.

Let’s not even talk about the blow to the knee that made him fear the worst against Rimouski. “We expect a long absence,” the general manager of the Voltigeurs de Drummondville, Philippe Boucher, told the newspaper L’Express. Lamoureux was still in position from the next game.

“Nobody was aware of all these details,” he says over the phone. I kept it private, I couldn’t say anything. Only the people inside knew it. Sometimes there are those who ask themselves: “Crime, how bad is it today?”. Sometimes it’s due to an injury, but that can’t be said. “

Now that it’s wilted and composted, this bouquet of sores adds even more luster to a season that Lamoureux can be proud of. Twelfth pick in the 2020 QMJHL Draft, the former Élites de Jonquière has confirmed his position as one of the best defenders of his age group. NHL Central Scouting sees him as the seventh best potential customer in his position among those from a North American circuit. This stance fueled debates in Quebec, where Gatineau Olympiques’ Tristan Luneau had long been considered in a class of his own.

The lists and conversations they sparked are another hurdle Lamoureux has had to overcome over the past year. Sometimes they inflated his ego, sometimes they undermined his confidence. Whether they were flattering or harder on him, he admits in hindsight that he gave them too much importance. Before realizing what trap he was getting himself into, his quality of play took a toll.

“The danger for any player who is in draft, even a defender, is to tell himself that he has to score points to be picked as high as possible,” recalls Mathieu Turcotte, the coach who last season treated defenders with the Voltigeurs. There is still a lot of pressure and, at times, it could affect his decision making. I told him a couple of times to stop the games that aren’t there, that it wasn’t Tristan Luneau. He was inside joke, but he got the message. “

Lamoureux remembers the exact date he got tired of playing behind a mask. In mid-December, after a defeat in Charlottetown, he eliminated the villain in a heart-to-heart relationship with his agent.

“I got to the point where I realized I wasn’t playing hockey. I was no longer myself, the big boy with a big smile who has fun, who stands in front of others, who plays physically and has fun. When I was playing I was stressed, I thought too much. “If I take that step, will I be wrong? If I do, is it okay or not?” He hurt me, he took a lot of my energy. I was at ass. “

Two precious accomplices

Once the mental side was settled, the simplest still had to be done. Because the talent is there and the work needed to develop it, Maveric Lamoureux never ran away.

“There are a lot of people who will say that I am where I am or that I have such luck in the draft just because I am tall, he heard. But this is by no means the case. If I were too liquid, if I didn’t work, if I didn’t want to improve every day, I wouldn’t be here today. “

“Some people say they want to be hockey players. Maveric, speaks with his actions ”, testifies Turcotte.

Two and a half years ago, Lamoureux began working with Paul Boutilier, a former NHL defender who has served as a coach for thirty years and who has specialized over time in teaching his old position. When he joined the Voltigeurs, he found in Turcotte the perfect accomplice to oversee him in what the latter called the “Thomas Chabot program” in honor of Boutilier’s most famous client.

Two mornings a week, the student met the teacher on an exercise bike for a 15-minute high-intensity training session. The duo was also doing extra time on the track with good old men. discs oranges, “heavier discs used to improve throwing. Lamoureux fired four sets of 25 rounds that had to be fired in less than 35 seconds.

“We see fewer and fewer guys like that, but it’s as if, let’s say I told him that there are four tests left, he’ll ask me to do a fifth”, reveals Turcotte. If I say there are ten seconds to the next round, he will go away on his own after five seconds. He will always find ways to do more and there has never been a time when I had to push him. “

Boutilier’s influence on Lamoureux isn’t just measured in watts or miles per hour. From the many hours she spent dissecting videos with her mentor, the young sponge has amassed a bundle of notes on the intricacies of her position. “The position of my stick, how to take the right angle on the guys, cut the game faster in the area …”, she lists her with admiration. Even today, even though her habit is well anchored in her brain, Lamoureux writes the numbers 1 to 5 on the end of his stick in remembrance of the advice he received to constantly count and situate his opponents throughout the game.

“He helped me with so many aspects of hockey that I didn’t understand until I talked to him,” he summed up gratefully.

And Turcotte, who will follow the long-distance follow-up since being hired as the U18 AAA program manager at Séminaire St-Francois, is among those who believe the benefits haven’t finished wiping out his former protégé’s game.

“He can watch games that others don’t. He shouldn’t always try them! But he sees them, those games, while most kids his age don’t. It’s a disadvantage when you can’t analyze when to play them. But when he comes back. in line with the rest, he will do things that people will wonder how he could have done it. “

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