By becoming the property of the Nashville Predators Saturday, Samuel Girard took a step closer to achieving its ultimate goal, which is to play in the National Hockey League. The second-round pick, 47th overall, more than anyone knows that the path to the highest peaks is just beginning.
The Robervalois did not fail to have a thought for all those who said the too small for eyebrows recruiters NHL.
“It’s such a motivation for me, argued the defender five feet, nine inches and 165 pounds. Yes I was drafted, but I have not yet proved that I was able to play in the NHL. I want to continue on the same path and this is another great adventure begins for me. It will take the time it takes, but I want to play in the National League as soon as possible. I’m sure I’ll get there. I have the talent and the head to do it. I’ll be ready. ”
Reached by telephone several hours after being selected, the defenseman of the Shawinigan Cataractes was not yet fully landed on his feet. He does not know with which team he would end up, saying he had had discussions with several teams without feeling like more please a particular formation.
“I have no words to describe what I just lived, breathed Samuel Girard. I played hockey since the age of four years and have always dreamed of playing for a team in the National League. The ultimate dream is to play, but he was drafted, it’s indescribable. ”
“A recruiter Predators told me he was really surprised to see myself available to 47th and he could not afford to let me pass. All recruiters seem to like me and that’s the most important. ”
Girard also noted that with the present quality defenders in the country town, including Shea Weber, Roman Josi and Ryan Ellis (whose style is often compared to that of Robervalois), he could ask for better place to grow.
Regional pride knew he was about to experience a memorable weekend in Buffalo, but maybe not to this extent.
“It’s so big, conceded agile hockey. There were many people and it was crazy. I did not think it was going to be like that. When I sat down this morning (Saturday) and I told myself that I would soon be drafted, I could not believe yet. This is my dream and it’s really amazing. ”
Samuel Girard was at the same time delighted to have shared this stage of his career in the company who have always allowed him to do what he loves most in the world.
“All the people who were with me in Buffalo have always been there to support me throughout my journey and have always believed in me, expressed that which was ranked 38th in the final list of the Central Bureau of recruitment NHL among north American skaters. As I say since I reached the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it’s a team effort. Several people helped me, whether my agent, my parents, the city of Roberval, the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean and so on. ”
During last season, Samuel Girard was named top defenseman in the QMJHL. In 67 games with the Cataractes, he scored 74 points, including 10 goals. This production was the highest for a defender in the Canadian junior hockey. The # 94 added 22 points in 21 games during the playoffs.
Parents filled with pride
Present in Buffalo with son, Samuel Girard’s parents still pinched, hours after selection of the defender by the Nashville Predators. Suddenly, the many hours spent at the arena, travel and dollars invested themselves somehow materialized immense pride.
“Sacrifices, we actually still and we have always supported, said Samuel’s father, Tony Girard in Buffalo in the company of about thirty friends and family members. I always told him to go ahead and never let go. This is how it works in life. ”
When the name of Samuel Girard resonated in the First Niagara Center in Buffalo, it took some time before the mother of the defender, Guylaine Dion, realizes that the long awaited moment had happened.
“My wife was so on edge when she did not hear the name of Samuel was given by the Predators! When she saw us get up and we jump in the arms, she really realized what had happened. It was a beautiful moment. We all started crying and emotion was at its maximum. Again, I think it will take me a week before you realize it completely, “said Tony Girard.
The father of four admitted that stress was difficult to sustain in the last hours. Present at the first round Friday, Mr. Girard was struggling to keep up. Upon waking Saturday morning, however, he had had time to decompress.
“Ever since he was young Samuel dreams of playing in the National League, argued Tony Girard. Every year he gets goals and he still has that ultimate goal in sight. He still has a beautiful long way to go, but he has made a part of. We will see what will happen in the future. He told me that it happens on the ice and that the rank of selection is irrelevant to him. You see a lot of players who are drafted in the first round, but have never played in the NHL. ”
The family and relatives of Samuel Girard return to Lac-Saint-Jean Sunday. By then, they intend to take the time to sit and savor every moment of this memorable day.
“I think we will come out the champagne! We’ll go eat a nice steak and relax in good company. We will enjoy the moment with Samuel, “said the likeable family man.
Nashville Predators have certainly made a mission to recover the best hopes of the QMJHL at the blue line. Less than an hour after the selection of Girard Samuel at 47th level, the Preds have set their sights on Frédéric Allard Chicoutimi Chicoutimi. Whoever was ranked 32nd among North American skaters had to wait until the 78th selection before hearing his name.
The two young men are also offered a heartfelt hug when they realized they would have the chance to develop in the same professional organization. Despite the wait slightly longer than expected, the native of Quebec was far from the baboune.
“It seems long, but it is not really assured Frédéric Allard, who, like Samuel Girard, was present at Buffalo along with many relatives and friends. I’d made no expectations to not be disappointed. My Rank selection depended on several factors and finally, I find myself in an excellent organization. ”
Sags defender was however surprised to find himself with general manager David Poile team. The surprise effect was quickly transformed into enthusiasm.
“It’s amazing and I did not expect at all to get to Nashville, shared Frédéric Allard, adding he was impressed by the scale that took a NHL Entry Draft. When I heard my name I was really happy. It’s a feeling you can not describe. This is one of the best organizations to develop supporters and I can not ask for more. ”
The right-hander skater now intends to take advantage of the summer and next season to improve his skating, in addition to develop physically.
“I released during the last season and the efforts are beginning to pay, told the six-foot, one inch and 178 pounds. This is one more step and the ultimate goal is to play in the NHL. ”
Allard and Girard will not have time to celebrate their accomplishment long since leaving Sunday morning for Nashville to attend a development camp for a period of one week.
“It will allow us to compare us to face other players”, said the player of Chicoutimi, happy to live the moment with Samuel Girard, whom he befriended during physical tests (Combine ) NHL on 4 June.
“It’s sure to be with Fred, it will be less flat and it takes away some pressure, but still we going there to play hockey foremost,” said Girard.
Frédéric Allard has 14 goals and added 45 assists in the last season with the Chicoutimi, its highest offensive output in three years in Chicoutimi.