Felix Bebo | When money can’t buy happiness

“Hi Jan. Listen, I’m a little confused about my future in hockey. All to say I might want to get into training. I just want to have a chat so you can give me some advice.”

Posted at 5:00 am

Catherine Harvey Benard

Catherine Harvey Benard
Journalism

This is the text that Felix Bebeau sent to his former coach with Chicoutimi Saguins, Yannick Jean, on May 11.

At the time, the 23-year-old striker was still with the New York Islanders’ parent club, Bridgeport Islanders, as the Black Ace in the MLS playoffs.

The response he received came as follows: “Hey guys. Good to hear from you. Call me tomorrow, we’ll talk about it. »

Three weeks later, on May 30, Yannick Jan and Sagwen announced the arrival of Bebo as assistant coach for Sajen. This is the same Bibeau who, in 2019, won the Anniversary Cup with Rouyn-Noranda Huskies a few months before he was selected in the sixth round of the National League draft. The one who, in May 2020, signed his first professional contract for two seasons in the MLS. With the NHL as a dream.

Only here: after two years, there is no more passion and motivation. Simply.

YAN DOUBLET’s photo, LE SOLEIL archives

Felix Bebo (centre) with Rowen Noranda Huskies, in 2019

loss of motivation

As a teenager, Felix Bebeau had to deal with “severe knee pain” caused by Osgood-Schlatter disease. Every summer, he had to go through training in excess. “It wasn’t hard for me to do it because I was passionate about it,” he says. My goal was to play in the National League. »

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The pain subsided during the four years he was young, but he reappeared in his first MLS campaign in 2020. So he received a platelet-rich plasma injection at the end of the season, which caused him to miss two months of training. Then, this season, he has repeatedly sprained his right ankle, causing him to lose a total of six to seven weeks of activity.

“I know I’m young, but my body is bigger than it is,” says a Mercer resident.

All that, plus the ‘stable and stressful’ lifestyle of professional hockey – last season he spent 150 days in the hotel on the back and forth between ECHL and MLS – was a passion of his.

“This way of life is not for everyone. […] It’s starting to weigh on me. In the morning it was less easy to go to the ring, and I was less motivated. »

“You listened to my heart”

So much so that he began to question himself.

Félix Bibeau is not the type to hide in the sand. After two professional seasons, Pittman’s circuit seemed more or less accessible.

PHOTO PHILIPPE BOIVIN, PRESS

Felix Bebo

One of my traits is that I am honest with myself and I am very realistic in life. I will not play in the National League.

Felix Bebo

“It was getting more difficult. [de faire les sacrifices]. When you get signals like that, that’s when you realize that you might not have been there for the right reasons. I was getting paid well, but I wasn’t necessarily happy. When it is said that money does not buy happiness, it is true. »

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“You have listened to my heart.”

It’s still early in the off-season; Bebo had received an offer from the Islanders or other teams from the NHL, ECHL or Europe. On May 11, he was in bed at the hotel when he decided to write to Yannick Jane. A few days later, the offer was on the table.

“For two weeks, I was in my head. I didn’t tell anyone before I made my decision. […] I wanted to listen to myself. As my mom tells me, “Look in the mirror and you won’t be able to lie to yourself.” This is exactly what I did. »

in a familiar area

Bebeau had 32 games under Yannick Jean before the pandemic broke out and his successful junior career ended, after being taken over by the mid-season Saguenes at Quebec Reparts in 2020. In Chicoutimi, he finds himself in a familiar place with an experienced coach who, like him, launched his career At an early age.

I told Yannick [Yanick Jean, entraîneur des Saguenéens de Chicoutimi] That I have one condition: to continue studying. He looked at me and said, ‘That’s fine, because, too, was my condition.

Felix Bebo

The Sags, who are in full rebuilding, will speak 6 times out of the first 27 picks in the next draft. Bibeau knows what it takes to win, he did it at Rouyn-Noranda. His mission at Chicoutimi is to create “a team that men don’t want to leave, where they feel good.”

At the moment, his contract is only for one year, to see if he likes it. But he is not worried: his passion for hockey is still there, it is completely different. And then, who knows, maybe that’s the path that will lead him to the National League.

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