Benoit-Olivier Groulx knows a thing or two about winning.
The Halifax Mooseheads captain and Anaheim Ducks prospect has been a staple with Team Canada on the national stage, joining the gold-medal squad at the 2018 Hlinka Gretzky Cup where he point up two goals and one assist in five games. The tournament marked Groulx’s latest showing under the national spotlight after he led Team Canada Red at the 2016 World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Back with the Mooseheads, Groulx was also a key cog in helping his squad reach the 2019 Memorial Cup final as he tallied four points in as many games to earn a spot on the Tournament All-Star Team.
Groulx is off to a torrent start in his fourth year with the Mooseheads recording 21 points counting six goals and 15 assists across 14 appearances. The budding playmaker chatted with the CHL prior to the start of the 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series.
What does it mean to be named captain of the 2019-20 Mooseheads?
It’s a great honour. It’s my fourth year in Halifax and the way I found out was pretty exceptional. Honestly. J.J. (Daigneault) came into the room and he announced it front of everyone, and nobody knew, so it was a pretty special moment for me and my teammates.
What did you take away from your second NHL camp in Anaheim?
My first year I didn’t know what to expect. I came in with a different mindset my second year. I really wanted to make an impact on the ice and I think I did. I was myself on the ice. I was playing hard, I was playing fast, great hits, I was playing well defensively. Obviously playing two pre-season games helped me improve a lot on the ice. Seeing guys like Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell it helps a lot.
How does it feel to be back competing for Team QMJHL a third straight year?
It feels very good. Any time you get to wear the jersey it’s a huge honour. You represent your league and your team and you’re playing against Russia which is a fun team to play against. I think with the excitement of having all of the talented players out there on the ice it’s going to be a lot of fun.
What would it mean to play for Team Canada?
It would honestly mean a lot. My Dad (coach Benoit Groulx) won the World Juniors in 2015 so obviously it would be a pretty huge honour to wear that maple leaf on my chest at Christmas. Not a lot of players are going to make the team but the ones that are going to make it are going to be really excited about it and motivated to bring home a gold medal.
What does playing ‘the Canadian way’ mean to you?
The Canadian way for me is every time you go on the ice you have to play fast, you have to accept your role, and you have to play with a lot of grit. There’s no friends on the ice. You have to forecheck hard, put a lot of pucks on the net, and a lot of bodies at the net. That’s the right way to play and that’s the Canadian way.
The 5 Questions series appears every Sunday.