Over the past few months, Sherbrooke Phoenix forward Joshua Roy has been silencing his mules one by one, and he’ll have the chance to continue his momentum in the Junior Team Canada camp.
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When the Montreal Canadiens picked Saint-Georges-de-Beauce in the fifth round in the last draft, few were betting that Roy would receive an invite from Hockey Canada to the World Juniors before the first-round pick of the Blues from St. Louis Zachary Bolduc, among others.
Now all hopes are high for the man who, before Thursday’s games, was QMJHL’s top scorer with 39 points in 21 games.
“I don’t go there with a tourist mentality. There are a lot of good players but I’m here to make my place. I’ve been invited to camp and that means I have a chance to make the team. What I want is to keep the momentum going. Since camp in Montreal, things are going really well. And I change people’s opinion of me. Confirmed during an interview with magazine In the Videotron Center.
Although he’s exploded offensively this year and become a transformed player, particularly thanks to his great awareness of his physical condition, Hockey Canada still does his homework before sending him his invite.
“They’ve come to see him a few times over the past three weeks,” admitted Stephan Julian, Phoenix’s coach and general manager. Want, don’t want, his reputation following him and Hockey Canada wanted to see it with their own eyes. I think the story interested them, too. Players often ask me what they can do to be better and I always tell them that progress is everything. Hockey Canada understands that Joshua is progressing and I think they’ve seen his work ethic have changed.”
This reputation did not follow him for nothing. Last season was not easy for Roy. After 15 matches with the Saint-Jean Sea Dogs, he came home and asked for a trade. His wish was finally granted when Julian agreed to concede three first- and second-round picks to Sea Dogs in favor of Roy.
When he arrived at Sherbrooke, Roy received a good slap in the face when he realized that his physical condition was not ready. With the help of Julian and the Phoenix staff, the striker implemented a rigorous training and nutrition plan over the summer. He arrived at boot camp lighter at 25 pounds.
“When he got there we made a plan with Josh and told him that if he followed him he was going in the right direction. Every week he had to report to the assistant coaches and have a follow-up with a physical trainer. We also made sure he was well fed.”
This makes all the difference.
“I was able to back off more easily and feel faster on the ice. I am able to outpace defenders, which I was less able to do before. Everything has helped me since I am in better physical shape.”
Return on investment
In the end, Roy returns Phoenix what Julian expected when he agreed to pay top dollar to get it.
In his eyes, despite everything that was said about young Beauceron, it was a calculated risk.
“When you push three picks from the first and second round to a player, you make phones before you hit the enter key,” the hockey man joked. We had good relations with the residents of Saint-Georges-de-Boss who knew him. For me, it was important to know that she was a good human being who wanted to learn. He is a man who needs training. He doesn’t have to be pressured, but he is told what to do and he will do it.”
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