Johnny Hockey: Will Skate for Skittles

Johnny Gaudreau is the first athlete, of any sport, I’ve followed from their collegiate career into the majors.  I was first introduced to his greatness when the Boston College Golden Eagles competed in the 2nd Annual Three Rivers Classic college tournament hosted by Robert Morris University.  I went into the tourney an RMU fan but ended as a fan of BC.  From the second they stepped on the ice, it was clear to see that they were on another level of talent and the team to beat.  They shutout Bowling Green in the first round and defeated Penn State 8-2 for the championship that year.  After seeing his gameplay throughout the two games, it was no surprise that Gaudreau took home the titles of tournament MVP and my favorite college hockey player.

Going back to the beginning, the Calgary Flames ran a story on Gaudreau this season speaking to how he got his start on the ice.  His father, Guy Gaudreau, was the hockey director at the local ice rink and encouraged Johnny to skate by using a line of skittles.  From there Gaudreau spent every moment he could on the ice, perfecting his skills, and most importantly to him at the time, his goal-scoring abilities.  Gaudreau has commented on his goal-scoring mentality saying, “As a kid, I was pretty shameless about it.  I’d spend entire games cherry-picking along the blue line, waiting for the puck to pop out so I could go for a breakaway.”  Anyone who has watched a youth ice hockey game knows the type of player who was the team cherry picker.  They also know that it was those players who went on to play elite hockey and continue their careers at the collegiate or Minors levels.

Johnny Gaudreau played for the Boston College Golden Eagles for three years after making the decision to hold off on transitioning to the NHL after his sophomore year to be able to play a year with his younger brother Matthew Gaudreau.  He will certainly never be forgotten by the BC Men’s Ice Hockey program or their fans any time soon.  I could write an entire article series on his nominations, awards, and titles Johnny held with BC.  To highlight a few of them, he was the Hockey East Player of the Year in both the 2012-13 and 2013-14 seasons, an AHCA First Team All-American in 2012-13 and 2013-14, Hockey East Tournament MVP in 2012, USA Hockey National College Player of the Year in 2014, and probably most impressive was Hobey Baker Memorial Award winner in 2014, after being a finalist in 2013.  In his Junior and final year with BC, Gaudreau tallied 80 points playing in all 40 games with a +42 and a 31-game point streak, leaving him with the third-most total points for a season in Boston College history.

During his sophomore year at BC, Johnny had the opportunity to represent Team USA at the 2013 World Juniors Championships in Russia.  Team USA went on to win the gold medal, and Gaudreau was named to the Media All-Star Team and one of the Top 3 U.S. Players.  He earned Player of the Game accolades for his game play during the 7-0 win against the Czech Republic, with the hattrick.

Gaudreau was given the name “Johnny Hockey” during his collegiate career and unlike another college athlete (*cough Johnny “Football” Manziel cough*) he has lived up to the title.  He was drafted in the 4th round (104 overall) in the 2011 NHL Draft by the Calgary Flames, who may not have known it at the time that they drafted the future face of their franchise.  Being a small player, he has worked and proven himself to be an elite NHL player.  So far in his NHL career, he has put up 127 goals and 243 assists for 370 points in 376 games with a +27 and 108 of the points coming on the powerplay.  He’s on par for the current season to surpass his previous highest point total in a season at 84 points in 80 games from the 2017-18 season, as he currently sits at 82 points in 64 games thus far.  His young trophy collection holds the Lady Byng Memorial Trophy, awarded to Gaudreau for the 2016-17 season.  In his rookie season, he was also a finalist for the Calder Trophy.  He is also a 5-time NHL All-Star, deservingly so, helping the Flames to their first playoff appearance after a 6-year drought and now they sit in 1st place in the Western Conference and 2nd in the League.

Throughout his successful and fame-filled career, Johnny Gaudreau remains humble and grounded.  Growing up in New Jersey, he was a Philadelphia sports teams fan which is about the only negative thing I can find about him (#’BurghProud).  Family is clearly important to him as he put off his NHL career for a year to play at the collegiate level with his brother Matthew.  His dad always tries to make the Flames’ annual dad’s trip and you’re sure to see the Gaudreau family fan club in attendance whenever he’s in town playing the Devils or Flyers.  His dog, Bailey, is just as popular as he is in Calgary (see for yourself on her Instagram account @lil_bails13_).  Johnny ensures he gives back to the communities that support him through playing in charity games like the Comm Ave Classic between BC and BU alumni and riding in the Calgary Stampede parade.

While every NHL Star has their haters, Johnny Gaudreau is harder to hate than most.  Despite his size, he plays a big game, making up for his lack of height in heart and maybe one day Hart???  Over the years I’ve become a bigger fan of individual players rather than teams with Johnny Gaudreau always being in my top ten (he currently sits in #2 among active NHL players and #1 for forwards).  This article is pretty much one big THANK YOU to Johnny for introducing me to the BC Eagles and Calgary Flames.  It’s been an honor following his young career thus far and I can’t wait to see what he’s going to do next.

Thanks for reading JMSO fans!  Don’t forget to share your opinions, leave questions, comments, topic suggestions, and feedback in the comments/replies/DMs.  Keep it classy!

-A. Kam

 

Check out https://www.theplayerstribune.com/en-us/articles/johnny-gaudreau-hockey-calgary-flames for a great read with a lot more personal input and background on Johnny Gaudreau!

Other sources used:

https://bceagles.com/roster.aspx?rp_id=2165

https://www.nhl.com/player/johnny-gaudreau-8476346

https://teamusa.usahockey.com/worldjuniors2013