People are finally starting to take notice.
A few weeks back Marc Andre Gaudet was the Titan rookie that no one was talking about, now he and the entire Titan team are the talk of the town and the Maritimes Division.
The quiet confident soft spoken seventeen year old defenceman is taking all of his early success all in stride.
You see Marc Andre Gaudet understands the game. He understands and appreciates all the highs and lows and how everything can change in a blink of an eye.
The shy ultra competitive kid from St Ignace, New Brunswick is as calm, cool and collected off the ice as he is on it.
“It’s been great,” Gaudet said of his first foray in the QMJHL.
“I have been having a lot of success and it’s been fun with the boys.”
“We just have to keep it up,” Gaudet said proudly.
Gaudet looks like he has ice in his veins which is an exceptional skill and attribute to possess as a young defender playing in every scenario with the upstart Acadie-Bathurst Titan.
How has the young highly skilled two-way defender balanced the nerves thus far?
“Last season with the Moose I had a lot of minutes playing against a lot of good players.”
“Getting called up to the Titan twice last season helped out a lot for this season,” confessed Gaudet.
“It’s a lot faster and you have be stronger,” Gaudet said of playing in the QMJHL.
Gaudet is quick to credit countless others for his early success in the Q.
“It sure helps with Rick(Leger) in the gym, Derek(Cormier) and Dan (LeBlanc) on the ice,” admitted Gaudet.
“Dan helped me a lot with my skating and all my positioning on the ice especially in the D-zone.”
Gaudet has certainly taken full advantage training with the Pro Evolution Hockey staff over the past few summers.
“We had a great group of guys this summer which definitely helps.”
“All of the guys work hard and want to get to the next level.”
“That aspect really pushes you to get better,” Gaudet said.
Every player and their family make sacrifices to reach their full potential.
Every player and their family want to get to the next level.
For Gaudet and his family that meant long hours in the car making the two hour round trip to Moncton during his Bantam years and moving away from home living in Bathurst for the past two years.
Gaudet’s journey to the QMJHL might be considered linear to some, but his two years with the Northern Moose of the NB/PEI Major Midget AAA League has undoubtedly set him up for success.
There’s no question Marc Andre Gaudet lives and breathes the game of hockey.
Hockey is a way of life. Gaudet’s a student of the game through and through always wanting to find a way to improve each and every day.
Gaudet had that opportunity living with Moose Head Coach Charlie LeBlanc for the past two years.
There’s no question every time It’s easy to see Gaudet is compelled to play for every single person that has helped him along the way as soon as he steps on the ice.
“Charlie is a huge factor for where I am today,” said Gaudet.
“We were on the ice a lot over the last two seasons and he helped me a lot.”
“Charlie helped me a lot during that time to really complete my game.”
How hard was it living under the same roof as his Midget AAA coach?
Was there ever an escape from the game?
“It was a good experience because Charlie had all the video so we watched a lot of tape.”
“It was like Charlie was my teacher, he taught me and showed a lot, which really helped me.”
“The first year living with us he was very quiet because it was his first time living away from home,” said LeBlanc.
“99% percent of the time he was sitting on the sofa with us after supper until he went to bed.”
“He was like our son,” LeBlanc said.
“Marc Andre wasn’t a kid that would go to his room and shut the door.”
“He was part of the family,” LeBlanc said proudly.
“Last season as a sixteen he did spent a little more time in his room doing his homework, playing a little XBox, but for us Marc Andre was always just part of the family.”
LeBlanc is extremely proud of Gaudet’s accomplishments in the game so far. Just how competitive and how smart is Gaudet?
“I think it translates into growing up in a sports family and a disciplined family.”
“He’s as smart on the ice as he is in school.”
“He has great grades in school.”
“Marc Andre has a great work ethic.”
Gaudet’s athletic prowess isn’t reserved to just the ice. He’s a very accomplished golfer.
“It’s a take a lot of patience and work to play golf at the level of Marc Andre.”
“I think if you have that much patience and master the golf game, and if you can translate that to the game of hockey and your competitive spirit you are going to be a very very good hockey player.”
LeBlanc isn’t surprised at all when it comes to Gaudet’s success in the Q.
“I just think Marc Andre has to have an opportunity to make mistakes and grow and learn.”
“He wasn’t very big or strong his first year as a fifteen.”
“His first year I put him in situations where he had zero chance of success.”
“Marc Andre had to play against experiences seventeen year olds. Sometimes he would get scored on and come back to the bench and ask what could he have done to prevent it.”
“I just told him he didn’t do anything wrong, that he had just got out muscled.”
“He stick was in a good position, his body was in the right position.”
“Instead of using it as an excuse, or crutch and saying oh this sucks or I suck, or this or that, he learned from that, built off of that and took it as a challenge,” LeBlanc said.
“By the end of the year he was way better and by his second year he just kept going up hill, he was the best defenceman in the league,” stressed LeBlanc.
“I’m not surprised by his success with the Titan, this is only the beginning for Marc Andre’s story,” said LeBlanc proudly.
What has Gaudet learned about himself as a person and player throughout his journey in the game and making the jump to the QMJHL?
“I’ve had a lot of people around me that have helped me.”
“They believed in me, which made me believe I had a chance to go,” explained Gaudet.
All of the sacrifices and unwavering support of his parents isn’t lost on the mature highly skilled defender.
“They have played a huge factor,” said a reflective Gaudet.
“It’s been two and half years since I left home. My parents supported me all the way.”
You could almost see his smile through his mask during the interview when Gaudet spoke about his parents.
“From driving me to every practice in Moncton when I played Bantam to now, they have played a huge factor to where I am today.”
Every player wants to win and be part of a winning team.
It makes it that extra special when a young player or players contribute to those winning ways.
“It’s a great group of guys and everyone helps each other out.”
“If you make a mistake, everyone is there to pick you up and tell you what to do to help you with your game.”
“It’s a great atmosphere,” Gaudet said proudly.
“There’s a lot of positivity on the bench which really helps for the young guys.”
There’s no question Greg Leland’s calming presence on the bench has paid dividends for a very young skilled Titan backend.
“Greg has really helped us a lot.”
“In practice he helps us to get better and on the bench during games like I said he’s really positive.”
“He points a few things out, but his positivity helps especially for me being a young kid.”
All the sacrifices, all the long drives on the always treacherous Highway 11 during the winter months, living away from home for the past two years are paying off.
Hard work, dedication and an unrelenting love and passion for the game continues to fuel Gaudet’s remarkable path in the QMJHL.