Nicholas Hurtubise | Small, and then?

“You are too small. That’s a phrase many hockey players have heard. Nikolas Hurtubise wants to prove that “size doesn’t matter”. “I’ve been doing this since I was young. I’m underestimated, which proves I can do the job. »

Posted at 7:00 am

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The press

The 5-foot-10, 161-pound goaltender 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 conquests is a goalkeeper who has had to prove himself over and over again. First in small hockey.

“During my first year of Pee-Wee, I was told I was too short, even though we’re all about 3ft 4” tall! ‘ he starts at the end of the line.

“It’s stayed with me my whole life and I’m still told that. »

For a boy of 12, 13 or 14 who couldn’t do anything about it, it was frustrating.

” That is [une excuse] which is not difficult for a coach to say. I compared myself, I found it boring because to be honest and realistic I don’t think I was any worse than anyone else. I’ve often come second. »

After the Victoriaville Tigres made him their fourth-round pick in the 2018 draft, Hurtubise, like most 16-year-olds, returned to Midget AAA. In 23 games that year, he averaged 2.88 goals against and a .928 percent save. He hoped to make the leap to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (LHJMQ) the following year, 2019-2020.

But the Tigers have decided to keep their goalkeeping duo from last year. That’s how Hurtubise started the campaign in the junior AAA with the Princeville Titan.

I’ve seen the other goalkeepers my age make a name for themselves, even if I was maybe more ready than them to play in this league. It was flat but at the same time the Tigers were really in there with me […] and I understand the reality of junior hockey.

Nicholas Hurtubise

Number one trophy

When the Tigres traded Tristan Côté-Cazenave to the Quebec Remparts for the 2019 holiday season, Hurtubise was added to the team full-time. However, he suffered an injury that sidelined him for two months, allowing him to play just 10 games in total with the Victorian squad before COVID-19 broke out in March.

But in the following year. Oh, the following year… Hurtubise had a .908 save percentage in 16 playoff games and led the Tigers to their first Presidents Cup title since 2002.

“This whole organization believed in me. I liked it a lot because it’s rare that an organization that’s about the cup there trusts an 18-year-old man on the web. »

At the same time it was an opportunity for him to show 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 goes better when you’ve earned something other than stats. It’s given me a bit of the recognition I felt I deserved earlier in life,” he argues without pretension.

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

Trophy number two

The Sea Dogs, a team seriously striving for the highest honors, acquired Hurtubise last January. It was also the hosting team for the Memorial Cup. The Maritime team did not have the expected run in the QMJHL playoffs, losing in the first round while Hurtubise only featured in one of the five games.

But a month later, he kept goal for the team’s four games of conquest of the Memorial Cup and was additionally named to the tournament’s all-star team.


PHOTO DARREN CALABRESE, THE CANADIAN PRESS ARCHIVE

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

“I didn’t even play in the playoffs for X reasons, but [la Coupe Memorial] was an opportunity to show that no matter what happens and no matter how much time there is between challenges, if you just failed at something, you can quickly get back up and achieve something great quickly. »

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

Nicholas Hurtubise

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

“My form is difficult for me. This is my reality. But I do my best to show that size doesn’t matter. I had great acting in the sense that I had the chance to play for teams that trusted me. I had the chance to play well on big stages. »

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

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

“It’s more motivating for me to be a bit underestimated. It gives you a goal every morning, more than pressure. »

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