QTalk | Mitchell Balmas reflects on monumental performance at Outdoor Game
On Sunday December 17th, 2017, the Gatineau Olympiques got the chance to be involved in something special and historic.
With the NHL 100 Classic taking place at TD Place on Saturday, a Canadian Hockey League inter-league outdoor game between the QMJHL’s Olympiques and the OHL’s Ottawa 67’s took place the very next day.
The Olympiques won the historic bout by a score of 4-1, and a huge reason for that victory was forward Mitchell Balmas’ performance. The Sydney, Nova Scotia, native put on a show for the fans with a hat trick performance, one that will go down in the Canadian Hockey League’s record books as the first hat trick ever scored in one of its outdoor games.
Balmas, who is now playing in his fourth season in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, originally began his career with the Charlottetown Islanders, before being traded to Gatineau last year. The 19-year-old is currently on pace to top his career high of 51 points in a Q season, having already racked up 37 points in 35 games.
Following his monumental performance at TD place, I had the honor and privilege to catch up with Balmas and chat about his experience in the Outdoor Game. Here is our Q and A:
PR: “Can you talk about the excitement surrounding the original announcement that your team would be part of this inter-league game?”:
MB: “Yeah, it was pretty exciting finding out we would be playing in the game against Ottawa. Even though they are a team from another league, there’s already a little rivalry between us and the 67’s.”
PR: “Is it safe to say that this event was circled on the calendar since the start of the season?”
MB: “Oh for sure. Ever since they announced the game and that there was a chance of it being played outdoors, it was on our minds. Very fun to be part of.”
PR: “Take us through your hat trick. What was going through your mind during the game and after scoring each goal?”
MB: “It was great to be able to help the team out like that. During the game you can’t think about it too much and have to stay focused on your next shift. But once the game is done, it is nice to look back at it.”
PR: “Do you think that this outcome will have a big effect on your game for the rest of the season? What about for the Olympiques as a whole?”
MB: “Yeah for sure it gives myself and our team confidence knowing we can play with any team in our league and now with another team in another league.”
PR: “Finally, can you talk about the atmosphere at TD Place? How cold was it?”
MB: “The Gatineau fans were awesome making the trip over. They were even the 7th player at an away game. It was cold for sure, [but] once you’re playing and get into the game, you warm up! It was a fantastic game to be a part of and I will remember it forever.”