Present at the Team Canada selection camp for the World Junior Under-20 Championship, Mavrik Bourque was finally among the last players to be cut. If the news was difficult to collect at the time, the Plessisvillois took a step back to find the positive angle to approach this chapter of his career.
“I retain a lot of positive. There were so many big names at the camp. I showed up there with the simple idea of showing what I had in my stomach. I am proud of what I have accomplished. The more the camp progressed, the more I had confidence and the more I improved. I believed in it until the end. I believe I deserved my place on this team, but at the end of the day they have decisions to make. Each year this team has the chance to win gold. I wish them one way or another, ”argued the 18-year-old skater.
Along the way, cases of COVID-19 disrupted the course of the camp, forcing all players to self-isolate for a period of two weeks in their hotel rooms. Bourque doesn’t believe, however, that those two failed weeks had a big impact on decisions. “As André Tourigny mentioned, if Sidney Crosby has a bad week in camp, they can’t cut it. The fact that I had less time to prove I belonged may not have helped. In the end, I gave what I could in the time that I had. When we came out of our isolation period, I had trained a lot on my bike, so I was ready for anything. ”
Bourque concedes, however, that when the news was shared with him, he had to take the blow. “In the first 15 minutes, it spanked anyway. The rest of the day went well. The next morning, I was in Quebec, I felt that I had done well enough to have my place. I want to make sure they’re going to keep an eye on me. ”
For the Dallas Stars’ first-round pick, this was one of the very first times he’s been turned down on a team. “It’s funny because in my head, it was the first time that I was cut off. I was, however, cut in my first year at AAA peewee camp. However, I never realized that I had been cut. When we drove back with three or four guys at the time, we found out that they had sent the AAA guys to one room and the AA guys to another, where I was. Finally, that year, I scored three goals in my first game, we won the Dodge Cup and the Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament. It wasn’t too disappointing! ”
Another chance next year
Only 18 years old, Bourque will certainly have the chance to recover next year. With what the coaches told him following his entrenchment, there is reason to be optimistic in the case of the captain of the Shawinigan Cataractes. “Of course I believe it. Alan Miller, Scott Salmond and André Tourigny, the three people met me, told me a lot of positive things, that I had made their decision difficult. Yes, they mentioned to me that I would have a chance to pick myself up next year. Obviously, if I get there telling myself that I’m sure I’m making the team, it won’t work. I will use this cut as motivation. I now have a year to prove to them that they were wrong to cut me off this year and that I will take it back. ”
With 12 of the 15 forwards selected this year already aged 19, that will leave several positions to fill next year.
Over the next few weeks, Bourque will continue to train in Shawinigan before returning to his family for the holiday season. With National Hockey League (NHL) activities set to resume soon, there is also a possibility that Bourque will have to travel to Texas in order to take part in the Stars camp. He will then return to Mauricie to continue the season with the Cataractes.