Marchand not taking anything for granted

Rob Wallator/CHL Images

A 6’0″, 172Ib. former 10th round pick goaltender who has cleared waivers, played in both the QMJHL and OHL and was claimed off waivers by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies early in the season, Chase Marchand is the classic underdog story of the guy you want to root for.

A long and winding junior hockey career has brought him to Red Deer, where on Sunday, he’ll play his final game of junior when his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies compete for their first Memorial Cup.

An overager this season, Marchand has bounced around the junior ranks in recent years, making stops in Amherst, Cape Breton, Mississauga, Victoriaville and now Rouyn-Noranda, finally finding his groove with a Huskies team that has relied on him throughout the season.

Marchand played to a 29-7 record this year, earning the QMJHL’s Jacques Plante Trophy while setting a new Huskies franchise record for goals-against average (2.42) and new QMJHL playoff records with six shutouts, a 1.35 goals-against average and a shutout streak of 223:23.

Fresh off a 36-save victory over the Red Deer Rebels in Friday’s Semi-Final, the Upper Tantallon, Nova Scotia native was quick to deflect the praise sent his way.

“I really can’t put it into words, the success I’ve had individually and the success we’ve all had as a team,” he said. “I know I wouldn’t be here right now or would have achieved the things I have without my teammates and coaches who have helped every step of the way.”

Thoughtful and reflective in his responses, Marchand took the opportunity to share his approach to the game, one that has brought him to where he is today, one win from hoisting the Memorial Cup.

“I think my past life has taught me a lot and the things that happen, the ups and downs are what shape me as a person. I think I understand the game of hockey a little bit better because of the rough parts of my hockey career.”

In addition to the adversity he’s faced in his on-ice endeavors, Marchand has overcome challenges away from the rink.

After every Huskies win, he’ll point skyward, a salute to a brother who passed away four years ago.

“I know he’s not here in person, but he’s still watching the game,” he said. “I thank him because I love him and just because he’s not here I know he’s watching over me and he deserves a salute.”

Marchand has formed a close bond with Huskies goaltending coach and former five-year WHL veteran Joey Perricone, someone he cites as his mentor and friend.

“He’s the kind of person who will sit down with me and watch video for hours and hours and help me get better,” he said. “He works so hard at what he does and he makes the people around him better people. I love Joey as a goalie coach and as a person and I wouldn’t be where I’m at without him.”

Sunday’s game is the biggest of his career, but the 20-year-old who has modeled parts of his game after former QMJHL goaltenders Alex Dubeau and Zach Fucale, takes the game, and life in general, one shot at a time.

“I think the most important thing for me is just never take anything for granted. Just go one shot at a time and enjoy it, and that way even if you’re not successful, you’re still successful.”

Marchand and the Huskies write the final chapter of their storybook season on Sunday, tangling with the OHL champion London Knights at 2:30pm MT/4:30pm ET on Sportsnet, TVA Sports 2 and NHL Network.

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