Winning the Memorial Cup is the pinnacle for Canadian Hockey League players and only a select few have the opportunity to do it twice. Rafael Harvey-Pinard hopes he can join that elite class by leading his hometown Chicoutimi Sagueneens to glory in Kelowna come May.
Before heading west, however, the task at hand is emerging from an ultra competitive QMJHL where the Sags currently rank third overall behind Sherbrooke and Moncton chasing their first league title since 1994.
Harvey-Pinard is up to the task and returned home for an overage season with that very goal in mind after winning with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and then realizing another dream in being selected by the Montreal Canadiens in the seventh round last June.
He currently leads his team in scoring with 71 points in 55 games and knows his experience, as well as his play, will be critical for success down the stretch.
Here’s what Harvey-Pinard had to say about that, and more:
It’s very competitive in the QMJHL standings but the Sagueneens are one of the top teams, how do you feel about the team’s play this season and chances of winning?
I think we’re playing good on the ice but we can still get better. We have good chemistry in the room so I don’t worry that much, and we’re going to be ready for the playoffs.
For you personally, what’s it been like playing for your hometown team and serving as captain?
It’s very special to play in front of my family and my friends. I’m really proud to be captain of that team and to play my last junior year in Chicoutimi.
How did it feel to be selected by the Montreal Canadiens back in June?
It was an honour for me for sure. For every kid in Quebec it is a dream to be drafted by the Montreal Canadiens so for sure I am going to remember that day for the rest of my life.
What was it like returning to Rouyn-Noranda and receiving your Memorial Cup ring?
It was a special night for me. I have so many good memories in Rouyn-Noranda so it was very emotional for me. Sharing that moment with my good friend Felix Bibeau was something very nice too.
What did you learn the most about your success last season that can help the Sagueneens heading into playoffs?
I think that the most important thing I learned last year in Rouyn-Noranda is that playoffs is a new season so you have to go game-by-game and don’t see too far so live in the present moment. Also I think I can bring my experience here in Chicoutimi in the room and on the ice.
The 5 Questions series appears every Sunday.