Eric is a heartfelt man before being a great hockey skills improver. That's his secret!
A Real Hockey Guy
Today, I am proud and privileged to introduce myself to you as a professional hockey skills coach and entrepreneur who helped hundreds of hockey players of all ages to achieve their goals. After all these years of learning experience in the hockey field, I must come to the evidence that there is no such thing as a coincidence.
We are all the masters of our existence and we guide ourselves through trials and errors to gradually build who we are and what we want to achieve. Therefore, if several organizations retained my services as their development director, their technical consultant, their head coach and their chief operating officer, I owe these opportunities to my long and fruitful career, and above all, to the mistakes I assumed through my professional development.
It goes without saying that in order to better understand my aspirations and what drives me to excel in my coaching of hockey skills techniques, I must share with you the highlights of my career. Since I’m a real hockey guy, I have no doubts that my story will interest you for its originality and for the shared lessons that inspired me and many others over the years.
When I was 15, I played for the Angevins de Bourassa in Saint-Léonard in the Midget AAA Québec League.
I was selected to play on the provincial all-star team.
Draft: Team's 1st pick, 6th overall
Exactly a year later at the age of 16, which is the youngest age at which a player can play in the QMJHL, I was drafted by the Drummondville Voltigeurs. That same year, I played 2 exhibition games against the Russians.
Draft: Team's 1st pick, 6th overall
A year later at 17, I was chosen to participate in the prestigious Team Canada camp after rigorous physical selection trials. In result of my great performances, I played in the National All-Star game in Hamilton and also played 2 exhibition games against the Russians.
That year, I broke 3 team records that are still valid today:
Most career points for a defender (230)
Most lifetime assists for a defender (191)
Most assists in a season for a defender (64)
It was during the official QMJHL season-ending ceremony that I was nominated for the Second All-Star, representing the top 10 players in the league. It was after an exemplary season that I was drafted by the Montreal Canadians. I had a serious back injury that forced me to withdraw from the heat of the moment.
Draft: Team's 9th pick, 185th overall
The head scout for the New Jersey Devils gave me a chance when he joined the Nashville Knights of the East Coast Hockey League. I played about ten games for them, but eventually had to give it all up.
It goes without saying that this bitter failure has changed my whole life. It even changed it to the point that for the next 20 years, I stayed away from hockey mostly because I couldn’t get over that failure. But after this period of self-imposed punishment for not achieving my dream of playing in the National Hockey League, I finally returned to the world of hockey through skills coaching.
So it was at the age of 41 that I got my first skill coaching position for the Complexe Sportif Guimond and I quickly became the Chief Operating Officer there.
Then, it was after the unexpected success of my original technical coaching approach, my unique mentality and the rapid results that my students obtained that I had the idea and the temerity to start my own personalized program at the age of 43.
That same year, I also returned to team coaching by becoming Head Coach of M15 Division 1 for the Ulysses Program. I also became the technical consultant for 4 different teams.
After that, as unbelievable as it may sound, I have given over 5,000 individual and private development sessions in the last ten years!
And most recently, Jonathan Aspirot, my 5-years long time student signed a contract with the Ottawa Senators in the NHL.
So I’m the living proof that the future is for those who believe in their dreams and those prepared to do whatever it takes to achieve them. That’s why my enormous success is no accident because in the years that I played in the QMJHL, I was recognized as a complete player.
Even today, people still tell me about my famous fight with Gino Odjick where I beat him. They are mostly surprised to learn that I also had 246 penalty minutes in that season and that I broke 3 team records that I still hold today after 30 years! I even finished the year with a +52 differential and was in the Top 3 for most hits as a single player in the league (which my body reminds me of it today...).
I have always been recognized for my exceptional technique and my great aggressiveness. Nonetheless, despite all these accomplishments of my youth, I had a significant weakness. I wasn’t mentally prepared to play in the NHL. No one had taught me the mental strength I needed to fulfill such a highlight career and unfortunately it put an end to my natural talent.
But it is well known that the greater is the hardship, the greater will be the positive results that will emerged from it once we understand our mistakes. But it is well known; the greater the hardship, the greater the positive results. They will emerged from it all once we understand our mistakes. My failure in the NHL was no exception to this rule and it allowed me to become a different and better human being. In fact, the secret to my success and my intensity in teaching lies in the downward part of my career curve. Let me explain.
When we come so close to achieve a dream after many long years of hard work and sacrifices, all we have left afterwards is the question: "Did I really had-have what it took to succeed to play in the National Hockey League?". And believe me, even after 20 years, this question continued to haunt me.
What more should I have done? Have I been telling myself lies all these years? How many people have I disappointed? etc. But the worst torture of all was that I would never be able to prove to myself that I was good enough to play in the National Hockey League, unless I help a youngster achieve it by teaching him everything I know.
And this is what saves me from my perpetual torments: my intense desire to help as many young hockey players as possible to reach their dream of playing in the NHL and stay there. For me, my hockey skills coaching isn't just about a livelihood, it's a life mission.
Under these circumstances, I’m now fully aware that I don’t teach hockey like others and that this difference is what makes me unique. And I’m so proud of that because I discovered that it’s not all professional hockey players that can become great skills coaches.
I quickly see any player’s skating weaknesses in real time. That’s my gift. After that, it’s only a question of applying the right corrections because hockey is not about winning, it’s about improving. Then those improvements lead to winning!
It may sound a little bit paradoxical, but my failure is what really made all the difference in my coaching life. If I had become a player in the NHL, had become a millionaire, if I had signed thousands of autographs, If I had been applauded by tens of thousands and been seen by millions of viewers, I don't think I would have today the same intensity showing three or four kids how to crossover or skate backwards.
So instead of devaluing myself and fearing that I wouldn't succeed, I had no other choice but to trust my own hockey skills, so I could finally overcome my NHL failure and leave no doubt in my mind that I had what it takes to become an NHL player. And that was confirmed lately by my student Jonathan Aspirot whom I’ve been coaching for the past 5 years and signed a contract with the Ottawa Senators in the NHL!
To sum up what the hockey guy in me believes in: find a mentor as quickly as possible, be prepared, be willing to do whatever it takes and in response, life will guide you through the successes and failures it takes to achieve what you really want. God bless hockey and the great fun we all have playing it!