Raphael Lafontaine knew the importance of education thanks to his hockey role model.
Following in the footsteps of brother Nicolas who previously skated in three seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and Chicoutimi Sagueneens, the younger made it a point to follow his lead in always emphasizing the value of school.
“I was lucky because I have an older brother who played in the ‘Q’ who decided to focus on school before hockey,” Lafontaine told Junior Hockey Magazine as part of its CHL Leaders segment. “That was my information since the beginning of my career. I knew that it was a safe bet.
“Like other hockey players, my dream was to play professional hockey but in the back of my mind I knew that school was my first priority. I am thankful to have had the ‘Q’ and the CHL prioritize school before hockey, and that is why I went this direction.”
Nowadays, Lafontaine holds an exciting position as a Supply Officer with Public Services and Procurement Canada, an opportunity that allows him to use his educational background from Concordia University where he obtained a bachelor of commerce degree in Logistics, Materials, and Supply Chain Management, in addition to the countless life skills he learned over five seasons and 184 career contests with the Gatineau Olympiques, Acadie-Bathurst Titan, and Sherbrooke Phoenix from 2010-15.
“Junior hockey life prepared me to face the reality of adult life by being more independent and responsible,” Lafontaine explained. “Those five years brought me good learning in terms of several life factors. It gave me the opportunity to meet all kinds of people from around Quebec and the Maritimes. I developed leadership and acquired all different kinds of experiences that another person would not.”
While life in the junior circuit provided Lafontaine with many of the skills he uses today, it was the CHL scholarship program that paved the way for his life after hockey.
“The program is really well structured and it helped me focus on school before hockey,” Lafontaine concluded. “During my bachelor degree, the program gave me financial ease so I could focus on school and not stress about money. If a player manages his scholarship well, you can easily get out of school with a free degree and no financial debt.”