Many hockey players have had the privilege of wearing the C on their jersey and represent their team as Captain. Players see this as an incredible honour and responsibility but at the junior level, being captain can also be a huge learning experience for a player as he gets ready for his professional career. We had the chance to ask questions to four players from the QMJHL who have this honour of being named Captain for their respective QMJHL club. This roundtable features Lane Cormier (Moncton Wildcats), Simon Bourque (Rimouski Oceanic), Taylor Ford (Halifax Mooseheads) and Jeremy Lauzon (Rouyn Noranda Huskies).
Question #1: What does it mean to be Captain?
Cormier: “It’s a big honour to be named captain of a hockey team. It doesn’t really change much in terms of the game I play but there is a reason they picked you over someone else. It is important to be the guy to stand up and protect teammates when needed and I think I am the guy for that role. It’s also a role where it is important to stay disciplined and lead by example. We have a young team this year and I don’t think we like to get pushed around much and I don’t mind playing that role and sticking up for the young guys.”
Bourque: “To be a captain means a lot. It means that your teammates trust you and think that you are the best guy to represent the team. They think that you are the guy they should look up too. It also means that you represent the players when the team wants to send a message to the community or the coach or the media, you are the guy to do it. It’s a lot of fun but it’s also more responsibilities.”
Ford: “Being captain means responsibility. You have a responsibility to lead a group of guys in the right direction. The biggest part of it all is to lead by example first and foremost. Your words in the room have no value unless you do as you say. It also means making the hard decisions for the best of the team. Not everybody has to like you, but everybody needs to understand that the captain is the guy who makes sure his team is doing what they need to do.”
Lauzon: “For me being a captain means a lot. Firstly, it means that I have the respect and the confidence of my teammates and from my coaches. Also, being given the C shows everybody that I’m a good leader.”
Question #2: Do you think being a captain in Junior hockey will have an positive impact on your professional hockey career down the road?
Cormier: “I think it definitely can have a impact. It can work in your favour if teams want guys who have had experience leading teams in the past. For example, If it’s down to you or two guys to make a professional hockey team and if they see that you were a captain in Major junior, that could easily help your case to be picked to be on that team. ”
Bourque: ” I think being a captain is important for my career. Being a captain means that you are a leader and it follows you all your life. It also requires you to be more responsible so you learn a lot from the experience in general. It doesn’t mean that if you don’t have a letter on your jersey that you are not a leader. But if you are captain, your margin for error is really small, so you get a habit of always being sharp and it will help you for your career.”
Ford: “Having a letter on your jersey helps you stand out to the crowd. But it’s more than that. People who’ve played hockey before understand what it takes to be captain. I think it’ll help my future in hockey, because people will know what kind of person I am.”
Lauzon: “For sure, I think that being captain shows everybody your leadership and your competence to lead a group of players. Also, it shows that you are a great example off and on the ice for your teammates. So when it is time to make the jump in pro hockey, you should have a good reputation and that can help you a lot.”
Question #3: What advice do you give young players on your team as a captain in the QMJHL?
Cormier: ” I think I just tell them to pay attention to details. They need to make sure they are always ready to go. My first two years in the league I was not happy with the ice time I got but I had the older guys giving me the guidance and told me to hang in there. Even if it’s guys my age, I want to be there to encourage them and let them know that we have faith in them and it’s going to come. ”
Bourque: ” There is a lot of little things you can do to help the young guys. For example, after practice when there’s extra time, I like to take some young defenseman with me to do some drills or to give them advice. Just talking to them when you arrive in the morning or when I feel that they are not feeling good, maybe go talk to them for a little bit and tell them that if ever they need something i will be there. Rooming with a kid on the road is also a good idea to help them.”
Ford: “As I mentioned before, setting an example for the younger guys is important. Making sure everybody is working hard, competing, and looking to get better every day. I think it’s better to say things only when you need to. Being a captain doesn’t mean being a police officer in the room. Your words as a captain hold more value when you don’t speak much. When guys are looking towards you, when you’re losing by 5 goals, that’s when it’ll be my job to make sure we still battle till the end.”
Lauzon: “To help the youngest guys on the team, I try to let them feel right at home at the start and let them know that they are a part of the team. I always keep a good and positive attitude to show a good example. And I work with them at every practice and game to show them that if they want to be a good player in this league, they have to work hard.”