Many QMJHL players are actively involved in their community. But very few do it with Anthony D’Amours’ enthusiasm. The Rimouski Oceanic defenceman literally wears his heart on his sleeve. He never hesitates when the team asks him to take part in a community event.
Cancer and epilepsy are two causes very close to him. His grandmother is a breast cancer survivor, while the 19-year-old has been living with epilepsy for six years himself. He is more than happy to lend his name and reputation to those causes.
“I consider myself very lucky to be able to live my dreams,” says D’Amours. “Every year, we visit hospitals in the area and we see sick kids who never know if they will be able to get out of there someday. We have the chance to fully live our lives every day. That really makes you think.”
The Trois-Pistoles native says he is amazed to see those kids smile all the time. “It’s really touching to see them happy and full of life. It’s really gratifying to share a little bit of their everyday life,” adds the Oceanic blueliner.
“I also helped launch the Samuel Finn challenge (ex-Nordiques player Steven Finn’s son wanted to celebrate his brother’s life, who died of cancer, by doing 5300 burpees in 12 hours). We organized the first event and then the whole league joined in. Cancer is never easy to deal with. What Samuel did was extraordinary. It was almost inhuman”, comments D’Amours.
The Oceanic player is also very grateful to the Rimouski community, who always supports events organized by the team. “As players, we are lucky to be able to use our fame and notoriety to promote a lot of things. In Rimouski, people are really generous.”
Anthony D’Amours went a step further recently when he had his head shaved to support the fight against breast cancer.
“Our therapist (Mathieu Foster) had been letting his hair grow for at least two years. We told him that we would also shave our heads if he could collect 2000$ in four days. It didn’t even take him an evening”, laughs D’Amours.
The Oceanic veteran wants to put together another important project in January. “I want to pay homage to Alec Reid (the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada player who died of epilepsy last year). I would be thrilled if we could make it happen. Part of the money would go to the Rimouski Hospital Foundation to help with the research.”
Anthony D’Amours refuses to take all the credit for himself for all these incredible projects. He mentions that the team’s Director of Communications, Nicolas Thibeault, is instrumental in organizing all these events.
“Nicolas is the one planning most of this. All I have to do is fit everything in my schedule, between school and hockey. As long as I am able to help people, especially the kids, I’ll be happy to do it.”
As for hockey, D’Amours hopes to make it to the pros someday. “I’m a hard worker and I’m not afraid to take the long road. I want to go as far as I can with hockey and I will make all the efforts required to succeed, no matter how long it takes.”