Patrick Guay remains focused on his lifelong dream to play at hockey’s highest level.
The eighteen-year-old winger is staying as active as he can after the QMJHL season was cancelled due to the horrific COVID-19 pandemic.
“My family and I are doing great during this quarantine,” Guay said. “We are staying active by playing outdoor sports and keep training for hockey.”
“I’m doing a lot of biking right now in my neighborhood with the hills. I’m doing a lot of sports outdoor like shooting pucks and playing basketball and I also play alot of ping pong.”
“Late in the day I usually do a workout to stay in shape as well,” confessed Guay.
Guay and the Sherbrooke Phoenix were ready to go on an potential unprecedented run at the President Cup and Memorial Cup when the season ended abruptly.
“For sure it was very disappointing but it was also the right thing to do,” Guay said.
“We had such amazing chemistry all the team was together and to not have the chance to prove to the rest of league what we were made of is unfortunate.”
Guay also had the pressure and high expectations of trying to reach his maximum potential in his NHL Draft year.
“I think I handled it pretty well, admitted the skilled forward.
“Of course at the beginning of the season you think about it a lot with your first NHL team interviews, but you get used to it and it’s important to stay concentrated on the right things which is doing your best, keep working hard everyday and win as many games as possible,” stressed Guay, who is currently ranked 164th amongst North American Skaters on the NHL Central Scouting Final List.
“Obviously I have looked at the draft rankings, but it is not something that I concentrate a lot on,” he said.
What would it mean to him and his family if he was to be selected this season.
“Being drafted would mean the whole world to me.”
“It wouldn’t matter what round because it has always been one of my biggest dreams and I have worked hard my entire life to achieve this dream.”
“It would be a good feeling to know that all my hard work pays off in the long run,” stressed Guay.
“It would mean a lot to me because I think my family would be extremely happy.”
Through thick and thin Patrick Guay has always had the support of his family especially his older brother and four year veteran of the QMJHL Nicolas Guay.
“My family has always been there for me in hockey.”
“I can’t count the amount of rides they gave me to go at hockey games or practices, but I am very grateful for what they have always been doing for me and they also help me get my head up when I’m not so happy.”
“They helped me a lot to become a hockey player and they also showed me the proper ways to be a good person.”
“I have learned a lot from my brother that being patient and always working hard will eventually bring good things to you in the future.”
“That even if you have upsets or negative comments about you during your career, you need to stay dialled in and focused on the right things to be the best hockey player possible.”
The head to head competition between brother’s always fuelled their passion.
“I don’t think it will change a big amount of things to not play against him in the league anymore, but for sure it was always very special to play against him.”
“Competitions against one another was something we will never forget,” he said.
“Patrick is definitely one of the hardest workers I know,” said Nicolas Guay.
“Not many know this, but the amount of time and effort he puts into getting better is crazy.”
“At home he has a routine of shooting 200-300 pucks a day.”
“He loves scoring and loves to get better.”
“It’s not just scoring, it’s winning.”
“Patrick has got that competitive attitude where he just has to win.”
The entire Guay family is known for their athletic and hockey prowess.
“Whether it’s a game of basketball, pingpong or anything as his brother I love to play against him and challenge him.”
The Guay brother’s have certainly left their mark on the QMJHL.
Nicolas was looking forward to going out on a high to close out his major junior career with the Rimouski Océanic, while Patrick applied his craft with the number one ranked major junior team in the CHL.
“In the Q, it’s been crazy to see how fast he adapted and has grown to become one of the key players on the top team in the country,” said the proud older brother.
“For me it’s no surprise, he’s a natural athlete, everything he touches he does it so well.”
Going to head to head with his brother is something the twenty year old will always cherish.
“I definitely appreciated going against him in juniors. I have great memories of him and I that Ill hold on for the rest of my life,” he said.
“I’m definitely proud to see that he has grown into one hell of a hockey player,” said Nicolas Guay.
The Phoenix forward is also quick to credit his former Midget AAA coach and NHL standout netminder Felix Potvin.
“Felix was very intense, but he always found a way to get the best out of my game.”
“I also played with a lot of confidence since he trusted me when I was on the ice. His number one priority was to win every single game and that was a great mentality to see from a coach because it motivated the players a lot,” Guay said.
“Pat worked very hard last summer to be ready for the start of the season,” said Phoenix Head Coach Stephane Julien.
“Pat was one of our best players after training camp and is very appreciated by his teammates,” Julien said.
“Pat improved his shot and his skating. He has a high hockey sense and is very effective on the power play.”
“He must improve his game in the defensive zone,” stressed Julien.
“He will play a leading role next season with Poulin and Peach, Julien added.
Phoenix General Manager and longtime NHL netminder Jocelyn Thibault has also been very impressed with Guay’s progression.
“Pat is a very smart player, high hockey IQ, can play the wing and center.”
“He has great skills and very good wrist shot. He’s as good as a playmaker than a goal scorer and he’s a great competitor,” stressed Thibault.
“Not saying he’s exactly the same, but he reminds me a lot of Mark Recchi,” Thibault added.
That’s definitely high praise coming from the former NHLer.
Thibault and the Phoenix brain trust did a phenomenal job building a championship caliber team.
In 55 games this season Guay scored 21 goals and added 19 assists.
At 5”9 171 pounds Guay has put up solid numbers over the past two seasons and has definitely caught the attention of NHL Scouts.
“Patrick is a smart player, see’s the ice well,” said one NHL Scout.
“He has good hands in tight areas, and can make quick little plays and then move to good spots to get it back. He has good offensive qualities,” they added.
“Patrick has good speed and skill,” said another NHL Scout.
“Patrick is effective on the power-play and played with veteran players in Sherbrooke this season and took advantage of that opportunity,” they added.
Guay’s size perhaps has some scouts questioning their projections and whether his game can translate to the next level.
Nevertheless, no one has ever questioned Guay’s skill and passion for the game he loves.
Guay like so many other highly skilled diminutive forwards are always prepared to prove the critics wrong and surpass their expectations.
What about advice to other up and coming players looking to have an impact even when their size is called into play?
“My advice to them would be to never stop dreaming.”
“If they have the right mindset, anything is possible if you give your hundred percent.”
“They don’t even need to listen to the ones hating on them because there are so many examples of athletes who people thought they were too small to be in professional sports and those athletes still performed very well during their careers.”
“You need to go all in, even if you’re not the biggest out there,” confessed Guay.
For now Guay’s focus remains on getting in the best shape of his life in order to take full advantage of the opportunity at an NHL Training Camp.
Of course thoughts of what could have been still linger, but Guay is focusing on all the positives.
“This year with the Phoenix will be one to remember, so many good memories were made with the boys in the locker room, on the ice or even outside or the rink.”
“Our team energy was very fun and you could feel that energy when you were around our team.”
“We all liked to hang out together and it transferred well on the ice ,” Guay said.
“The boys always stood up when times got tough and it was a great season overall. Our competitiveness was key during the year and we also had a lot of talent all around. The fans were great all year long and they always cheered for us,” explained Guay.