Alexis Daniel was on the outside looking in.
Daniel like countless other 2020 QMJHL Draft selections thought his opportunity to showcase his talents would have to wait until next season due to COVID-19 restrictions limiting the Wildcats to only invite thirty four plus two imports to their Training Camp roster.
Daniel was clearly caught in a numbers game.
That all changed when he got the call from Wildcats Director of Hockey Operations Ritchie Thibeau in late August.
One can only imagine what Daniel, an 11th round selection (201st overall) had to experience over that time.
From a phone call that no player ever wants to hear saying that they weren’t invited to Camp, to receiving the call to attend.
Anything can happened when an opportunity presents itself.
All any player ever wants is an opportunity. An opportunity to lay everything on the line.
Alexis Daniel took full advantage of the opportunity he was given and is now an official member of the Moncton Wildcats after officially signing with the organization yesterday.
Daniel’s story of perseverance and persistence is quite extraordinary considering he was also passed over and went undrafted at fifteen.
“It means a lot to me, it’s like a dream come true,” Daniel said of becoming a Moncton Wildcat.
“I’ve been watching the Wildcats my entire life.”
“We had season tickets, so it’s pretty special to be able to wear that jersey,” said Daniel proudly.
“It’s something I didn’t even think of when I was little, it’s the NHL for me,” he said.
Alexis Daniel outworked many other potentially higher profile players to achieve this accomplishment.
They say an opportunity can change the course or direction of a player’s life, that’s certainly the case for Daniel who is coming off an outstanding season with the Moncton Flyers.
In 37 games with the Flyers, Daniel scored 23 goals and added 21 assists. He also played 7 games with the Edmundston Blizzard of the MHL scoring 2 goals and 1 assist.
Daniel played in the Flyers top six last season and was very effective versatile presence for the team.
Daniel’s explosive speed, relentless forechecking presence and accurate shot definitely caught the eye of the Wildcats coaching staff during Camp and preseason action.
Daniel is quick to credit Rick Leger and Derek Cormier at Pro Evolution Hockey for helping him improve.
“I’ve been training with Rick for the past four summers.”
“It’s been great and all the boys that are there are really focused and have the same goals,” explained Daniel.
“That aspect pushes you a lot to get better every day and to give it your all.”
”Derek has tons of experience in the game and has gone through everything that we are currently going through as players right now, so it’s good having him there.”
“Derek is a great coach, he gives you great tips and I’ve learned a lot from both Rick and Derek this summer.”
From undrafted, to drafted, to uninvited, to signed, Alexis Daniel has earned the right to suit up for his hometown team which is amazing considering the adversity he has faced throughout his journey in the game.
“It means a lot, my family are very proud and excited,” Daniel said.
“I think it shows that it doesn’t matter if you’re not drafted or if some people don’t believe in you, to keep working and good things can happen.”
Hockey dreams are often shared, this story proves that hockey dreams do come true especially if you’re willing to take full advantage of an opportunity and never give up on your dream.