An undrafted free-agent, 20-year-old Guillaume Gelinas was hoping to make a big impression in this year’s MasterCard Memorial Cup, but an injury suffered in his second game almost derailed that opportunity.
The Guelph Storm's Chadd Bauman kneed Gelinas early in the Val d’Or Foreurs' second game Monday night. He painfully — and futilely — crawled towards the bench. In the next game, a winner-goes-to-the-semi-finals contest against the Edmonton OIl Kings, he tried to take the pre-game skate, but couldn’t shake the pain enough to play.
Friday night, in a rematch of that game but with much higher stakes, Gelinas is suiting up and ready to play.
“I want to help the team win. We win as a team and I want to do everything I can,” he said. “If it’s 10, 12, 20, or 50 shifts, I want to be out there and contribute wherever I can.”
Gelinas led the QMJHL in defensive scoring with 23 goals and 69 assists in 67 games. He added 27 points in 21 games during the QMJHL playoffs.
He’s a big part of the Foreurs’ attack. And, for Gelinas, he knows it’s now or never.
“It’s the Memorial Cup. It’s my last chance to win it, so I want to play,” he said. “It was really hard to see my teammates play without me, but I was very happy to see them win.
“It’s just pain. I can deal with that.”
As an undrafted free agent, Gelinas is aware that he has no better opportunity to impress the hockey world.
“There’s a lot of people watching. I’m looking for a contract,” he said. “For sure it’s good for me to play against the top players and top teams in Canada.”
If he performs well here, it just shows the kind of player he is, Gelinas explained.
“Playing under pressure. There’s a lot of TV, people watching, so playing against the top players in Canada — not just the Q — it’s a great experience,” he said.
As he searches for a team, Gelinas explained that he’s going to spend the summer working out. Listed at 5’10" and 185 pounds, Gelinas knows that he needs to add some strength to prove any doubters wrong.
“I’m a small player, so I need help with my strength,” he said. “If I’m going to play against those big 6-foot-4 forwards, I need to improve my strength so that I can push back a little bit, and battle.”
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