On the verge of celebrating his 40th anniversary, François Beauchemin is involved in hockey more than ever.
After a brilliant career in the QMJHL and a Stanley Cup conquest in 2007, the Sorel native is slowly discovering his new career as an Assistant to the Director of Player Development with the Anaheim Ducks organization.
His incredible journey in the world began back in 1996, when he was suiting up with the Laval Titan.
“We had a very young team in my first two seasons in Laval. So, when we arrived in Bathurst (in 1998), we had a great group of veterans”, explains Beauchemin following the franchise’s move to New Brunswick.
To this talented core, team management added a full line from the Chicoutimi Saguenéens that included Mathieu Benoit, Ramzi Abid and Marc Bouchard, as well as goaltender Roberto Luongo, who made his way over from Val-d’Or. Of course, that group would end up winning the President Cup that year.
“Unfortunately, we were not able to win the Memorial Cup in Ottawa. But winning the league’s title was something very special,” recalls Beauchemin. “I remember the atmosphere in the city at the time. Everybody really had hockey fever. It was an unbelievable experience.”
After a final junior season with the Moncton Wildcats (in 1999-2000), Beauchemin began his professional career with the Quebec Citadels, in the American Hockey League. He would play his first NHL game with the Montreal Canadiens in 2002-2003, before returning to the AHL.
“I was fortunate enough to play in Game 7 of the Calder Cup Final with the Hamilton Bulldogs back in 2003. Even though we lost that game, I learned a lot from that experience”, says the Sorel native.
The next season, he was put on waivers and claimed by the Columbus Blue Jackets. After eleven games with the Ohio franchise, he was traded to the Anaheim Ducks as part of the Sergei Fedorov deal. It’s a trade that would change his life forever.
“I had the good fortune of having Scott Niedermayer as my everyday partner. It definitely was a turning point in my career”, states the blueliner.
Alongside the future Hall of Famer, Beauchemin won the Stanley Cup in 2007. He would play another decade with the Ducks, the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Colorado Avalanche, before eventually calling it a career in 2018. After a break of a couple of months, hockey slowly crept back into his life.
“I had a great relationship with Bob Murray, the Ducks General Manager, and with Todd Marchant, the Director of player development”, recalls Beauchemin. “I started my NHL career alongside Todd with the Columbus Blue Jackets and we were both traded to Anaheim at the same time. We’ve spent the last 15 years together!”
Beauchemin’s vast experience quickly became an important asset for the Ducks.
“I started to become more involved with the team after Christmas last year”, he recalls. “I started to monitor the progress of players drafted by the team. I was also involved in the last draft, as well as with the rookie camp and developpement camp.”
Despite all his tasks, Beauchemin is also trying to find some time for his family back in Sorel.
“I have three kids playing hockey. So I didn’t want to be on the road all the time. I try to manage my schedule accordingly.”
An assistant coach with his oldest son’s hockey team, Beauchemin has no intention of playing competitive hockey anymore.
“All my buddies have asked me to play with them, but I have no interest for that right now. I’m not there yet. I’m way too busy anyway!”