Benoit Olivier Groulx has experienced his share of highs and lows over the past four seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
The 2016 QMJHL first overall pick of the Halifax Mooseheads has certainly left his own unique mark on the QMJHL.
In four short years Benoit Olivier Groulx has become arguably one of the best two-way centers in the league.
It’s very fitting that Groulx who takes tremendous pride in being a complete 200ft player won the Guy Carbonneau Trophy for the Top Defensive forward in the QMJHL.
“It’s very rewarding,” said Groulx when asked about winning the prestigious award.
“I’ve been working on my defensive game since I was little,” Groulx said. “My coaches in the past would put me situations that helped me to get better at my defensive zone play.”
Groulx was quick to point out playing wing with two outstanding Moosehead forwards in Nico Hischier and Max Fortier during his rookie campaign which helped his development tremendously.
“I found myself playing with Max and Nico on the first line in the playoffs against Rouyn-Noranda that year playing against their top line, that was a huge part for me in my career.”
Now that his time in the QMJHL has come to an end Groulx can finally reflect on his journey in the game and the impact Halifax and Moncton have had on his career.
“As soon as I arrived in Halifax Cam Russell and the entire staff welcomed me with open arms.”
It’s hard to believe, but Groulx had four coaches in four seasons with the Herd.
The highly skilled gritty hard nosed center credits all of them with helping him develop in certain facets of the game.
“Having Andre Tourigny in my rookie season was great, he pushed me hard.”
“Andre believed in me and put me in situations that I could perform and he knew I could get better in those situations.”
“I have to give him a lot of credit,” Groulx said of Tourigny who’s now the Head Coach of the Ottawa 67’s.
“I was playing with great players which are still some of my best friends today,” Groulx said of his rookie campaign.
In Groulx’s NHL Draft year Jim Midgley took over behind the bench.
“It was a little bit different that year, we had a really good team and Jim was a great coach for me in my draft year.”
“Jim took a little bit of pressure off my shoulders that season and I’m really grateful for that,” explained Groulx.
Midgley’s time as Mooseheads Head Coach was unfortunately short lived.
Eric Veilleux was hired in hopes of winning the President Cup and Memorial Cup on home soil.
“My third year playing for Eric was honestly my best year as a team and as a player.”
“Eric put me in great situations to lead the team and I believed in him.”
Losing to Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in both the President Cup and Memorial Cup finals definitely took a toll. Nevertheless, Groulx tried to use those devastating defeats to learn more about himself as a player and person.
“We had a great team that season, a couple of my best friends were on that team.”
“It was pretty bad losing the two cups, but I think I learned a lot from from my teammates and other players during that time.”
During arguably the lowest point of his junior career Benoit Olivier Groulx used that adversity and raw emotion to grow and learn.
The mark of a true pro and high character player and person.
Halifax will always have a special place in Groulx’s heart.
“It was the best four years of my life, it was a great experience,” said a reflective Groulx.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Groulx said when discussing the City of Halifax and the Mooseheads organization.
The writing was on the wall for Mooseheads to tear down their championship caliber team from a season ago.
Perhaps the most surprising aspect of the rebuild were the Mooseheads trade partners their longtime rivals the Moncton Wildcats.
Groulx and longtime Moosehead teammate Jared McIssac were traded to the Moncton Wildcats in hopes of finally getting their hands on a the President Cup and potentially the Memorial Cup.
Before the trade became official Groulx was yet again confronted with adversity being the final cut from Canada’s World Junior team.
Groulx joined the Wildcats roughly a week later and played like a player possessed to win.
Groulx and McIssac were the perfect fit for a Wildcats team with championship aspirations.
Groulx solidified the Cats top six while bringing the gritty edge and shut down presence to the teams identity.
Gabriel Fortier, Mika Cyr and Groulx found instant chemistry and looked poised to be a very lethal line come playoff time.
The Moncton Wildcats and Groulx were well on their way to a long playoff run when the unthinkable happened.
Groulx’s final opportunity to claim junior hockey supremacy came crashing down when the season was cancelled due to the horrific COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was a great three months with the Wildcats,” Groulx said proudly.
“All the guys welcomed me with open arms.”
“I felt like I was a part of that team for a lot of years.”
“I think we could have accomplished a lot things during the playoffs and it’s very disappointing,” admitted Groulx.
In 275 career games including playoffs Groulx scored 112 goals 38 of which were on the power play. Groulx added 154 assists, 278 PIMS and was a +56 during that time.
Groulx faced the opponents top lines, played in every situation imaginable game in, game out throughout his stunning four year Q career which truly speaks volumes to the pride skill, character, and compete level the Anaheim Ducks prospect possesses.
His final season in the QMJHL may have ended in bitter disappointment, but the Ducks Prospect is eager to start the next chapter of his career and accomplish his lifelong dream of playing in the NHL.
“I’m looking forward to my summer and get ready for next year.”
“I have a big summer in front of me right now.,” Groulx said.
“We are still in the unknown right now, but with five to six months to train and get ready I’m trying to take it day by day.”
“I’m trying to do a lot from home right now and watching a lot of video from this year and last year.”
“I’m not sure what’s going to happen at training camp or when that might be, but I have a big training summer so I’m going to be ready for my camp.”
Groulx was one of the Ducks final cuts a season ago after turning in an outstanding training camp where he also signed his Entry Level Contract.
“I had a great camp last year so I want to build on that for this year.”
“I don’t know what’s going to happen if I’m going to start up there or in the American league, but one thing is for sure I’m going to be ready.”
A true professional on and off the ice, Benoit Olivier Groulx undoubtedly has left his indelible
mark on the QMJHL and the city’s of Halifax and Moncton.