A Way of Life

Hockey is a way life for Elliot Desnoyers.

The game has been part of his life as long as the skilled two-way winger can remember.

“We have always been a hockey family,” Desnoyers said proudly.

Photo Credit Vincent Ethier QMJHL

“My dad, uncle and step dad all played the game and since I was born our lives have always revolved around this incredible sport.”

Passion, dedication and an unwavering commitment to the game has defined Elliot Desnoyers journey in the game.

Desnoyers lifelong dream of playing at hockey’s highest level continues to fuel that journey.

Young aspiring players often talk about sacrifice and their commitment to their craft, for Desnoyers there is no sacrifice, it’s just a way of life.

The hard nosed skilled forward’s arrival in the Hub City couldn’t be scripted any better.

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

The upstart Moncton Wildcats were opening their new state of the art arena while building toward something special.

Desnoyers’ gritty in your face style of play, skill and tenacity in all three zones played a major role in the Cats culture and identity.

The young rookie would eventually find himself playing in a top six role a season ago.

Desnoyers was the perfect fit for the Wildcats and their plan to build a championship caliber team.

In 61 games as a rookie the versatile winger scored 12 goals and added 19 assists.

The 2018 1st round pick wasn’t flashy, he just got the job done time and time again.

Desnoyers consistency, accountability and willingness to pay the price to make a play are definitely his strongest attributes and will continue to serve him well in the future.

High expectations confronted both Desnoyers and the Moncton Wildcats entering the 2019-2020 season.

The St. Hyacinthe, Quebec product would be confronted with what some players call the most stressful year of their lives, their NHL Draft year.

Desnoyers’ role changed substantially as the season progressed with Cats solidifying their roster with elite level forwards in effort to make a run at the President Cup and potentially the Memorial Cup.

It’s easy for NHL Draft eligible players to sometimes get lost on a deep teams, but it was clear that Desnoyers was a significant part of the Cats lineup.

“I think I handled it pretty good,” confessed Desnoyers.

“I improved a lot and learned from guys that already attended camps.

“It was a great opportunity.”

“For sure it was maybe harder to get the visibility of the scouts with such a deep team, but my main goal was to give it all out there when I was on the ice.”

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

“I think that was the important aspects that scouts were looking for,” explained Desnoyers.

Desnoyers put up similar numbers to his rookie campaign in a ever changing role seeing time on all four forward lines for the Cats.

Desnoyers was ranked 175th overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting on their final list.

“No I don’t really look at stuff like that,” Desnoyers said when asked if paid close attention to the NHL Draft Rankings.

“I find that stuff to be more of distraction than anything,” admitted Desnoyers.

“Instead of looking at that I stayed focused the entire year on how I could improve as a player and help my team win.”

What would it mean to Desnoyers to get drafted in the National Hockey League?

Photo Credit Daniel St Louis

“Being drafted would just be the start of my main goal.”

“I live, breath and sleep hockey everyday and the dream to be drafted would be such a honour,” confessed the eighteen-year-old.

Near the end of the season Wildcats Head Coach Daniel Lacriox had Desnoyers playing through the middle on the Cats fourth line potentially getting the versatile two-way skilled forward ready for a shut down role come playoff time.

Desnoyers found the most magic with two other Cats just after the midway point of the season.

Jacob Hudson, Philippe Dauost and Desnoyers arguably made up the best 3rd line in the QMJHL.

https://firstdownsportspodcast.com/2020/02/02/what-makes-a-great-line/

“It was great,” Desnoyers said of playing with Hudson and Dauost.

“I think we were just three kinds of players that went together perfectly.”

“Communication played a big role and it helped us a lot,” Desnoyers added.

Lacroix’s decision to break some lines up in late February and early March was believed to be experimental in nature.

There was no doubt the lines were going to be reassembled come playoff time.

Nevertheless, Desnoyers’ speed, skill, physicality and consistency made him the perfect candidate to play up and down the line up.

Whether it was in a top six role or bottom six role as a winger or center everyone in the rink new what Elliot Desnoyers was going to bring every time he stepped on the ice., everything he had.

The Moncton Wildcats and Elliot Desnoyers were well on their way to accomplishing the team’s goal before the horrific COVID-19 pandemic caused the cancellation of the season.

“For sure it was pretty tough for everyone on the team.”

“We all had high expectations and we all felt like it was our year,” stressed Desnoyers.

“This year was a special year to learn from my teammates and staff. The Wildcats is such a professional organization and I took every opportunity I had to act like a sponge, to learn and improve,” Desnoyers said.

“To be honest I’ve never seen such great chemistry.”

Photo Credit Elliot Desnoyers

“Everyone was so committed to winning and this was what we were at rink everyday and I think that’s why we had so much success.”

With the abrupt end to the season Desnoyers’ focus has now shifted to the Draft and next season.

“We are doing pretty good, everyone is safe and we keep trying to do the most to stay busy,” Desnoyers said when asked about his family during this unprecedented time.

As for staying in shape well, it’s a just a way of life for the young aspiring player.

“To stay active and in shape I’m working out six days a week with an online training program, running and shooting pucks.”

Desnoyers unique perspective on the game is truly inspiring especially when asked what coach or coaches helped him get to this point of his career.

“There’s not one coach that helped me more than others.”

“I think that hockey is a process and we always have to learn to be able to move forward and each and everyone of my coaches brought me something.”

As for next season Desnoyers goal is pretty clear.

“My goal is to become a major part of my team and help them win every night.”

“I’ll give it my all.”

“I’m going to arrive more than ready than at the start of this season.”

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