There are probably not enough hours in one day to allow Zachary Émond to do everything he’d love to accomplish. If it was only up to him, he would always be somewhere in the community, taking part in events with young fans around the city.
Over the last two seasons, he participated in a goaltending clinic with former Huskies teammate Samuel Harvey, he went to an anglophone school to read with the kids and he visited children battling cancer in a local hospital.
And, with the rest of his time, he is the starting goaltender for the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.
“I was fortunate enough to participate in many events with the kids. I remember how important it was for me, when I was their age, to meet Rimouski Oceanic players”, recalls the Rivière-du-Loup native. “It was something big for me. It was like a dream come true!”
“When we had the chance to meet those guys, it was really impressive. It was giving us motivation to become better players. Everytime time I would go see a game, I had stars in my eyes”, he adds.
By setting the example, Zachary Émond hopes to pass the torch to the younger generation of Huskies.
“For me, it’s really important to inspire the kids”, states the 19-year-old. “I know a lot of them are following the Huskies very closely over here. We want to be close to them, and give them motivation in everything they do.”
Earlier this season, Émond recalls he particularly enjoyed his visit to the Noranda School, an anglophone institution in Rouyn-Noranda.
“I went there with five of my teammates”, explains the veteran. “The kids were really happy to see us, it was a very special day for them. Many came to school wearing their Huskies jersey”, laughs the goaltender.
“One of the kids specifically asked for me, so I went in his class to read with him. All the students were happy to welcome us in their every day life. We read with them, but they also had a lot of questions about hockey. Of course, we took the time to answer all of those.”
Émond also went to visit children battling cancer in a local hospital earlier this year. It’s an experience he will never forget.
“We just wanted to give them a little hope and support to keep fighting the disease”, explains the San Jose Sharks 6th round pick (176th) in the 2018 draft. “It made us realize how lucky we are to be able to play the game we love so much. It kinda brought us back to earth. It really helped put everything in perspective.”
“We wanted to give them a little joy and help them our own way”, says Émond. “We also wanted to show them that we were behind them, that they were not alone in this fight. It’s an experience that will be with me forever.”