Three short years ago it didn’t look like Cam Thomson would reach his dream of playing in the QMJHL.
At 15 years old, Thomson struggled to find his footing at the U-18 AAA level.
There were glimpses of the future, but like many first year players consistency was an issue. Several scouts probably had Thompson’ ranked as an “E” Level prospect, or eligible for the draft.
At that time Thomson was small, not fully engaged , didn’t skate particularly well, but had good hands and a solid shot when he was able to get it off.
Obviously, that’s why scouts have to project, but Cam Thomson’s game completely transformed over the next in two years, but that didn’t make going undrafted any easier to process.
18 teams passed him over not once but twice.
You can call Cam Thomson a late bloomer, but in his case it was all about finding his confidence and finding his identity. It definitely helped that the young two way forward grew two to three inches and gain some much needed muscle, but that was just the beginning of his unconventional path to the QMJHL.
The Fredericton, New Brunswick products journey in the game is a perfect reminder to players and scouts that people and players games evolve and sometimes drastically change.
The scouting process isn’t an art form or an exact science.
There’s no guarantees when it comes to scouting players especially 15 year olds, things can change extremely quickly or they can take two to three years to play out.
When scouts see a young skilled player growing and progressing or a player that possesses one or two assets they need have to zero in or drill down on the person and players character to get to know what makes them truly tick.
Scouts can never really project a players will to compete and the intangibles they possess.
A player like Cam Thomson channels the adversity that confronted him along the way as fuel. That extra motivation can propel them to new heights.
Every year of Thomson’s journey at the U-18 level he improved by leaps and bounds. Every time he stepped on the ice you could see his skill and confidence grow. Every time out you could see his relentlessness. By his third season in the NB/PEI U-18 AAA League you could tell he wanted more than ever.
“Not being drafted after his second season especially in the MHL was very difficult for Cam to comprehend and accept knowing he had more skills then many, but it’s most likely the best that could have happened to him,” admitted Fredericton Caps Head Coach Eric Bissonette.
“Cam came back to the Caps with a very much improved work ethic and attitude and instead of pouting and screaming injustice, he decided to prove everyone wrong.”
“In his third season with the Caps his practice habits were at another level and the reason he was able to showcase his skills to the fullest was because he took upon himself to be the best he could be on both sides of the puck,” stressed Bissonette.
“Cam finally figured out that to play at the next level he needed to work on his 200 foot game which he did and he even played defence at times when we were short.”
“Cam did that with the best of attitude and with an off the chart compete level.”
Thompson grew as a player and person over his three seasons with the Caps, but his drive to prove he belonged coupled with his leadership qualities made him extremely attractive to QMJHL teams to sign as a free agent.
A few weeks after the Christmas break Thompson signed with the Rimouski Oceanic and as they say the rest is history.
“Cam’s leadership was in display through his practice habits and outstanding compete level in games,” Bissonette said proudly.
“Other players can learn a lot from that,” added the longtime coach.
Bissonette is incredibly proud of Thompson and what he’s accomplished.
“Take responsibility for your actions and work at your game.”
“That’s what Cam did.”
“Cam was very coachable in his third year and was open to constructive criticism.”
Where does Bissonette see his former standout heading in the game?
“I believe the sky is the limit for Cam.”
“Playing pro hockey is in his future,” he said.
“Cam is now willing and understands how important it is to invest in his fitness level. His IQ and skills are very high, but more then anything he has learned to be adaptable and fight through adversity which is so important when chasing a pro career.”
Cam Thomson went from relative obscurity to a productive middle six two-way winger at the QMJHL level in three short seasons. In 34 games this season, Thomson has scored 9 goals and added 12 assists.
The adversity and disappointment he faced never derailed his dream.
The constant setbacks never define his path in the game, if anything it only strengthened his persistence and perseverance.
Very few are talking about Cam Thomson’s path and subsequent success in the Q. There’s no question he’s a player to watch moving forward.
Thomson is the next player in a long list of New Brunswickers and Maritimers that went undrafted and signed as free agents to make an instant impact at the CHL level and potentially beyond.
Cam Thompson’s journey in the game reads more like a Hollywood drama than a hockey story.
From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows, Cam Thomson’s unrelenting pursuit of his hockey dream is truly inspirational. Through it all he rediscovered his love and passion for the game and will never forget the true value of hard work and dedication.
From QMJHL Draft write off to impactful free agent, the Hollywood ending is now his to write.