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Nikolas Hurtubise | Small, and then?

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“You are too small. This is a phrase that many hockey players have heard. Nikolas Hurtubise wants to show that “size is irrelevant”. “Ever since I was young, that’s what I’ve done. I’m underestimated, I show that I can do the job.”

Posted at 7:00

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The print

The 5-foot 10, 161-pound goalkeeper won the President’s Cup with the Victoriaville Tigres last year, then the Memorial Cup with the Saint John Sea Dogs this year.

Behind these achievements there is a goalkeeper who has always had to prove himself. First in minor hockey.

“In my first year of peeing, I was told I was too small when we are all about 3’4”! “, She launches herself at the end of the line.

“He’s followed me a little bit all my life and they still tell me. ”

For a 12, 13, or 14 year old boy who couldn’t help it, it was frustrating.

” This is [une excuse] which is not difficult for a coach to say. I confronted myself, I thought it was boring because, to be honest and realistic, I don’t think I’ve been worse than anyone else. I passed second quite often. ”

After the Victoriaville Tigres picked him for round four in the 2018 draft, Hurtubise returned to Midget AAA, like most 16-year-olds. That year, he averaged 2.88 goals and a save rate of 0.928 in 23 games. He hoped to make the leap to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (LHJMQ) the following year, in 2019-2020.

But the Tigers have decided to keep their pair of goalkeepers from the previous year. Hurtubise began the campaign in the AAA juniors, with the Princeville Titan.

I’ve seen other goalkeepers my age get a seat, even though I was perhaps more ready to play in that league than them. It was flat, but at the same time the Tigers were right with me in there […] and I understand the reality of junior hockey.

Nikolas Hurtubise

cup number one

When the Tigres handed Tristan Côté-Cazenave to Quebec Remparts in the 2019 holidays, Hurtubise was added to the squad full-time. However, he suffered an injury that sidelined him for two months, so he only played 10 games in total for the Victoria team before COVID-19 broke out in March.

But the following year. Oh, the next year … Hurtubise scored a 0.908 save percentage in 16 playoff games to lead the Tigers to their first President Cup title since 2002.

“The whole organization believed in me. I liked it a lot because it is rare for an organization that goes there for the Cup to trust an 18-year-old boy on the net. ”

At the same time, it was an opportunity for him to prove that he is “one of the best in this league”. Because he believed it.

“I found the opportunity really fun [prouver]. And it ended well. […] It is better when you have earned something other than the stats. She gave me some of the recognition that I think I deserved at the beginning of my life, ”she claims unassumingly.

Due to the pandemic, the Memorial Cup tournament did not take place last year. But Hurtubise found another way to get his hands on the big trophy a year later …

Cup number two

The Sea Dogs, a team that seriously aspired to get top marks, acquired Hurtubise last January. It was also the host team of the Memorial Cup. The maritime team did not have the expected run in the QMJHL playoffs, losing in the first round, while Hurtubise was only used in one of five games.

But a month later, he kept the door for the four games of his team’s victory of the Memorial Cup, as well as being named to the tournament’s all-star squad.


PHOTO DARREN CALABRESE, THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVE

Nikolas Hurtubise was named to the All-Star Team of the Memorial Cup tournament.

“I haven’t even played in the playoffs for X reasons, but [la Coupe Memorial] it was a chance to show that no matter what happens and how much time you have between challenges, when you’ve just failed something, you can get up fast and accomplish something big fast. ”

In life, the winners win. If you think you are a winner, find a way to win. I was glad I did.

Nikolas Hurtubise

Now, the 20-year-old hopes he’s done enough to earn at least one invitation to a National Hockey League (NHL) development camp after the draft.

“What is difficult for me is my form. This is my reality. But I do my best to try to show that size is irrelevant. I had a good showcase in the sense that I had the chance to play for teams who trusted me. I had the chance to play well on the big stages. ”

“I’m just asking for a development field, not a contract,” he says.

Because once the invitation is there, all you have to do is challenge yourself. And Hurtubise is used to getting there.

“For me, being a little underestimated is more motivating. It gives you a goal every morning, more than the pressure. ”

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