Maveric Lamoureux: the player behind the giant

Maveric Lamoureux will be picked up after the Cataractes v. oil kings.

MONTREAL — Maveric Lamoureux schedules the interview for 3 p.m. Among his obligations beforehand: an appointment with the chiropractor. Of all the injuries that have plagued the tall defender this season, which one still bothers him?

None, he will reassure us later. Weeks before the biggest day of his young career, Lamoureux swears he’s in great shape. But he does not hide the fact that the last year has been physically demanding.

A kick in the shoulder at training camp hasn’t let him down all year. It forced him to play in a brace through to the playoffs and caused him to miss most of February. When he returned to action in a game against Rouyn-Noranda, a counter check left two broken ribs in his back. He played for two weeks despite the pain before receiving the correct diagnosis. “I had trouble breathing, but I thought it was muscular,” he says simply today.

We’re not even talking about the knee kick that made him fear the worst against Rimouski. “We expect a long absence,” General Director of the Voltigeurs de Drummondville, Philippe Boucher, told L’Express newspaper. However, Lamoureux was in position from the following game.

“Nobody knew about all these details,” he says over the phone. I kept it private, I couldn’t say anything. Only the people inside knew. Sometimes some people ask themselves: “Crime, how bad is it today?”. Sometimes it’s due to an injury, but you can’t tell. »

Now that it’s wilted and composted, this bouquet of wounds adds even more sparkle to a season Lamoureux can be proud of. The 12th pick in the 2020 QMJHL draft, the former Élites de Jonquière confirmed his position as one of the top defensemen in his age group. NHL Central Scouting ranks him as the seventh best candidate for his position among those from a North American county. That position fueled debates in Quebec, where the Gatineau Olympiques’ Tristan Luneau had long been considered in a class of his own.

Lists and the conversations they sparked are another hurdle Lamoureux had to overcome over the past year. Sometimes they inflated his ego, sometimes undermined his confidence. Whether they were flattering or harsher, he admits afterwards that he gave them way too much importance. Before he realized the trap he had fallen into, the quality of his game suffered.

“The danger for any player who is in his draft year, even a defender, is telling himself that in order to be selected as high as possible he has to make points,” recalls Mathieu Turcotte, the coach who was responsible for the defenders last season with the voltigeurs. It’s still a lot of pressure and sometimes it could affect his decision making. I’ve told him a few times to stop games that aren’t there, that he’s not Tristan Luneau. it was in to kid, but he got the message. »

Lamoureux vividly remembers the date he got tired of playing behind a mask. In mid-December, after a loss in Charlottetown, he took out the villain in a heart-to-heart skirmish with his agent.

“I got to the point where I realized I wasn’t playing my hockey. I wasn’t myself anymore, the big guy with a big smile having fun, facing others, playing physically and having fun. When I was playing I was stressed, I was thinking way too much. “If I make this pass, will I make a mistake? If I make this, is it good or not?”. It hurt me, it cost me a lot of energy. I was at butt. »

Two valuable accomplices

Once the mental side was clear, the easiest thing to do was left. Because the talent is there and the work it takes to develop it, Maveric Lamoureux never got away.

“There are a lot of people who will say that I got where I am or that I’m so lucky in the draft just because I’m big,” he heard. But that is by no means the case. if I was sloppy, if I didn’t work, if I didn’t want to improve every day, there’s no way I would be here today. »

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

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

Two mornings a week, the student would meet with the master on a stationary bike for a 15-minute high-intensity workout. The duo also completed overtime on the rink with some good oldies. pucks Oranges”, heavier pucks to improve throwing. Lamoureux fired four sets of 25 shots that had to be fired in under 35 seconds.

“We’re seeing less and less guys like that, but let’s say I tell him there are four rehearsals left, he’ll ask me to do a fifth,” reveals Turcotte. When I say there’s ten seconds left until the next round, it goes away on its own after five seconds. He’ll always find ways to do more and there was never a time when I had to push him. »

Boutilier’s impact on Lamoureux isn’t just measured in watts or miles per hour. From the many hours she’s spent dissecting videos with her mentor, the young sponge has collected a bundle of notes on the intricacies of her position. “My racket position, how I hit the guys at the right angle, cut the game into the zone faster…” he lists admiringly. Even today, although the habit is firmly ingrained in his brain, Lamoureux writes the numbers from 1 to 5 at the end of his stick in memory of the advice he received to constantly count and position his opponents throughout the game .

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

And Turcotte, who will be following the sequel remotely since taking over as coach of the U18 AAA program at the Séminaire St-Francois, is among those who believe the benefits have yet to seep through to his former protégé’s game.

“He can see games that others can’t see. He shouldn’t always try them! But he sees them, these games, when most guys his age don’t. It’s a disadvantage if you can’t analyze when you’re doing them. But when it gets back in line with the rest, he’ll do things that people will wonder how he could have done. »

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