Valuable life lessons learned over four seasons in the QMJHL helped lay the groundwork for Alexandre Couture’s shift into the working world.
Today, the former junior hockey defenceman works in public services with Vitalite Health Network, a New Brunswick-based organization that helps administer and deliver public health-care services across 11 hospitals and 30 clinics in the province.
Couture, who serves as the regional coordinator of access to information, is in his ninth year with the organization after beginning in a languages role in 2010. A native of Ham Nord, Que., Couture became bilingual during his days in junior hockey, where after three seasons with the Victoriaville Tigres he was dealt to the Halifax Mooseheads, home to a predominantly English-speaking community.
“I really enjoyed my last year playing in Halifax. It was a big market and a big organization in the ‘Q’. It is where I learned English,” Couture told Junior Hockey Magazine as part of its CHL Leaders segment. “It was a very influential period of my life. I learned a lot about myself and about life in general during those years.”
After four seasons in the junior circuit, Couture was ready to return to the classroom, but not before trying his hand at the pro ranks, as the Florida Panthers prospect suited up for two seasons in the ECHL with the Peoria Rivermen and Pensacola Ice Pilots.
“I just wanted to validate things so I gave myself two years in the minors just to see where this could bring me,” Couture detailed. “Then I came to the conclusion that I had to think about the next steps. My parents always told me and my two sisters that we are responsible for our own development, so in that sense we must find what we need to do to improve ourselves. I always had this so-called Plan B and for me that plan was going to university.”
Couture ultimately attended the University of Moncton, where he earned his degree in political science before adding a master of public administration to his repertoire. It’s an educational background Couture puts to use today in his current role, and something that became possible thanks to his time in junior hockey that granted him access to the CHL’s scholarship program.
“For many junior players, it can be an incentive in their decision to go to university,” Couture said. “Once you start, soon enough you realize that that new chapter is far from free, so any financial help makes the process a lot easier.”
Listen to Alexandre Couture’s full interview with Junior Hockey Magazine here.