After a world tour that took him from Norfolk and Wichita (East Coast Hockey League), to Bakersfield and Binghamton (American Hockey League), to Garmisch-Partenkirchen (Germany), to Esbjerg (Denmark), to Miskolc (Hungary) and to Nottingham (England), Alexis Loiseau flew back home last October.
The former Océanic captain, who became the team’s Director of player development prior to the current season, had his fair share of success in the QMJHL. As a matter of fact, Loiseau racked up 96 points in 68 games during the 2014-2015 season before adding another 26 points in 20 playoff games to lead the Océanic to a President Cup and a berth at the Memorial Cup tournament.
The Havre-aux-Maisons, Quebec native then tried his luck at the pro level, spending some time in the Edmonton Oilers and Ottawa Senators organisations before eventually taking his talents over to Europe.
“I was a little tired of being moved around between the ECHL and the AHL and the lifestyle that came with that”, he explained. “I had a blast when I first got to Germany in 2016-2017. The lifestyle is a lot more relaxed in Europe. People aren’t constantly in a hurry. Their biggest activity of the day is probably having some coffee with friends at a local shop”, says the 25-year-old with a laugh.
“Since there was very little travelling with hockey, we had plenty of time to walk around and visit different places”, he remembers. “We used the opportunity to live some new experiences and we really enjoyed it. The scenery was amazing anywhere we went. My only regret is not having skied over there!”
Impressed by every location he visited, Loiseau was also very comfortable out on the ice.
“In terms of skill, it was still a very good caliber of hockey over there. I would say the level of play in most leagues was very similar to what I experienced in the ECHL. The Slovakian league is the strongest league in which I played”, he states. “But I had the biggest culture shock in Hungary. Their way of life is very different from ours. There is a lot of poverty everywhere. But I still loved my experience there.”
But despite all the sightseeing and the on-ice success, Loiseau still felt something was missing.
“I was starting to really question myself during those last few years. My ambition wasn’t the same and I didn’t have a specific goal to reach with all I was doing. I had lost the “inner fire” and my passion to play, and those were key elements to my game. I wasn’t very happy in all of this.”
And that is why the centreman made the difficult decision to hang up his skates last October.
“I have absolutely no regrets because I had been thinking of retiring for a few years. It was a very reasoned and well-considered decision.”
Once he was back on North American ground, that’s when Loiseau decided to pay a visit to an old friend and went knocking on the Océanic’s door.
“I met with Serge (Beausoleil) and we had a great discussion. They were actually looking to hire a new Director of player development”, he recalls. The timing was perfect for the Océanic to hire him,a decision that has paid off for both parties up to this point.
Loiseau doesn’t hide from it, he really loves his new job.
“My role consists of taking care of all the players drafted by the Océanic who are playing in different leagues at the moment”, says the man who visits many rinks across Quebec to analyze their performances. “I’m also an Eastern Quebec scout for the Océanic, so I go to a lot of games to do some reports and evaluations on the prospects.”
After travelling all over the hockey world during his playing days, Loiseau has finally landed back home – in Rimouski.