Every team needs a fearless leader.
A veteran presence that brings his “A” game every time they come to the rink and knows exactly what to say at the right time.
Nicolas Guay has been a fearless leader his entire life.
Guay has seen it all when it comes to his time in the QMJHL. Nevertheless, dealing with the dismal of your Head Coach after a win at the 30 game mark of the season is something even the best leaders seldom are confronted with.
“It was a shock for the the team yesterday morning coming into the bus,” Guay said.
“We had a little talk with Trevor and it was a little bit of a surprise for us,” confessed the skilled high scoring veteran winger.
“There’s not many changes because Jeff is taking over.”
“It’s not a like a new system and a new coach is coming in, but it was a little surprising because we have been playing better lately and winning some more games,” admitted Guay.
“I think Josh did a great job and it just didn’t work out, so now Jeff gets a shot at it.”
You see some fearless leaders calmly address adversity or confront it head on.
Over the years Nicolas Guay has done both.
From Chicoutimi to Salzburg to Drummondville to the Port City Nicolas Guay’s amazing journey in Junior hockey is nearing an end.
Guay has embraced his time with the young talented Sea Dogs team this season.
So how close are the Saint John Sea Dogs and where do they stack up to other rebuilding teams Guay has been a part of?
“There’s a lot of similarities to my 18 year old . We had some good twenties comparable to the ones we have this year with Bouthillier and Deakin-Poot and we had the same with Adams-Moisan, Bromwell and Mango and a bunch of good young guys that helped us,” explained the well spoken overager.
Guay sees a lot of similarities between that Voltigeurs team and the current Sea Dogs.
“I just look at the young defencemen,” Guay said.
“They are the present and future of this team. Villeneuve, DesRoches and Poirier can really play.”
“They are contributing a lot right now to help us.”
“It’s very similar to that year with Drummondville in terms of structure. We don’t have as many wins as we did that year, but I think it’s just a matter of us finding our rhythm and chemistry and I think it will come.”
Guay’s leadership qualities are truly off the charts. In 29 games with the Dogs the speedy veteran forward has 11 goals and 21 assists for 32 points.
On and off the ice Nicolas Guay continues to do it all.
Nicolas is special,” said Sea Dogs defencemen and 2020 NHL Draft Prospect William Villeneuve.
“Not every season can you have a captain like that,” Villeneuve added.
“Nicolas is well respected, it’s his third season as a captain, 40 goal scorer, he shows up everyday working hard.”
“Nicolas is a guy who wants to help everybody. He’s been incredible with everyone here and he’s been the guy that we all look up to.”
How special has the journey been for the high scoring veteran forward from Sherbrooke, Quebec?
“It’s been special.”
“Coming into the league at 16 years old was tough,” confessed a reflective Guay.
“Coming into the league at that time I didn’t have a lot of experience only having played one year of Midget under my belt, so I was trying to look to up the top guys in the league, guys that were drafted and guys that NHL experience.”
“I was looking up to the Chlapík’s and the Beauvilier’s, The Chabot’s and Mathieu Joseph and for me it was wow these guys can play and these guys dominate Junior, I’m going to work and be as good as they are in juniors so I can be an impact player in the Q.”
Nicolas Guay has never lost sight of the value of hard work and dedication to the sport he loves.
“For me it’s always been about hard and trying to get to that level.”
“Have I got to that level, maybe not, but I’ve given it my all,” admitted Guay.
From the Q to Europe and back to Drummondville, Guay’s unpredictable path to stardom in the QMJHL as been very memorable.
“It’s been a crazy ride.”
“I was lucky to have a coach that really trusted me,” Guay said of former Volts Head Coach and current Montreal Canadiens Asst. Coach Dominique Ducharme.
“Dom’s impact on my career has been very big, he trusted me at a very early age and that really meant a lot to me.”
“I had a breakout season my 18 year old season and developed a lot of chemistry and we had a great team in Drummondville.”
Obviously looking back on his career is difficult and Guay is trying to stay in the moment.
Nevertheless, his time with the Voltigeurs will always be special.
Sure there might some aspects he would like to change, but the well spoken mature winger has no regrets.
“I would have preferred to play better in the playoffs last season to help my team and I really believe we could have won that, but it just didn’t work out.”
“Sure there are things that I would have done differently, but I certainly don’t have any regrets on my junior career.”
“I mean I worked hard, I’ve managed to be one of top players in this league so that’s all I can ask for.”
“Getting a chance to play in two Canada Russia Series which is kind of like an all star game is special.”
Guay can take great pride in the fact that he leaves everything he has on the ice every time out.
Seeing his brother Patrick also flourish in the Q is also very special for Guay.
“That’s special and getting a chance to play against my brother is something that I will remember for the rest of my life.”
“The people I’ve met throughout my career and the billets and all those people that have supported me like my girlfriend and friends I’ve made at school, it’s been crazy and I’m very lucky to have had the opportunity to meet all these people and get to have all these experiences,” explained Guay.
From all the Friday night home games at the Centre Marcel Dionne to the President Cup playoffs Drummondville will always have a special place in his heart.
“The atmosphere there was so special,” Guay said.
So what’s next for Nicolas Guay?
“I want to be a pro hockey player that’s for sure.”
“I think I can be a pro one day and if it’s not next year with the right contract then for sure I’ll go to school and get an education and diploma and then maybe a few years after that I’ll be ready for pro, then anything can happen, but I definitely want to play pro.”
Nicolas Guay has experienced it all from high scoring forward to fearless leader and captain.
What advice would the highly skilled winger give aspiring QMJHL players?
“First and foremost you have to enjoy it,” stressed Guay.
“As I look back on my career sometimes I stressed to much and if I didn’t score for two games I would be stressed.”
“Just enjoy it, it’s a hell of ride and it’s the best of years of my life.”
“All the time with the boys you have to enjoy that, all the bus rides and hotels that’s the special time.”
Nicolas Guay is a special player and person, a fearless leader who leads by example.
Nicolas Guay’s impact on a young Sea Dogs team will undoubtedly be felt for years to come.
A true sign of any great leader is their ability to create a culture of winning, ability to make everyone feel wanted and a part of the process while making everyone around them better.