LAKELAND- The city of Fairbanks in the state of Alaska reminds Nicolas Beaudoin of St. Paul and Bonnyville.
“They have a really big community there…and I can see a lot of places I’ve never been to,” Beaudoin said, sharing his excitement and explaining how he’s looking forward to taking the next step of his life – and his hockey career. .
The St. Paul native plays as a forward with the Bonnyville Pontiacs and recently announced his commitment to play NCAA Division I hockey with the University of Alaska-Fairbanks (UAF) in a few years.
And although he’s away from home, Beaudoin says he “totally agrees”.
Committing to the UAF and playing for a Division I team is a dream come true for Beaudoin.
“It’s been a goal of mine for many years now, so achieving it is just special,” he says, explaining that committing to the UAF is another check mark on his list. “Now I can focus on my improvement and making sure I’m ready for the next level.”
Beaudoin says his family, including his siblings, are “beyond proud and excited” for him to take the next step.
He says his older brother, Jean-Marc, was one of his biggest inspirations.
“My older brother also played in Division I with Quinnipiac University, and when he heard the news, he was just proud,” Beaudoin said.
“[Jean-Marc] showed me everything in life and showed me how to work hard, respect others and be the best man possible, every day, while giving the best of yourself in everything you do and staying humble.
With his brother, Jean-Marc, being the eldest in the family, and Beaudoin being the youngest, “we have quite a big age difference, so I always looked up to him as a kid,” says Beaudoin. , adding, “I want to be like him.
His other siblings were also supportive, “so for me to have this opportunity to play…they’re just beyond excited and proud.”
According to Beaudoin, his “large family”, which includes a total of two sisters and four brothers, has always had a “huge” impact on his life – pushing him to be the best version of himself.
Even in hockey, for example, after each game, Beaudoin’s father continually checks on him to discuss how he is doing and what he could do better.
“That’s why I am the person I am today. It’s because of my family,” says Beaudoin.
When asked what he loves most about hockey, Beaudoin replies, “I love the competitive factor of the game,” explaining that hockey challenges and pushes him. “I really like the process of having to compete every day,” not just in games but also in practices, she says.
Beaudoin encourages other young people to get involved in the sport that interests them, even if it is new.
“You can always try new things in life and see if you like them, right?”
Welcomed by the Pontiacs
After finishing his minor hockey career, Beaudoin spent time on the ice with the St. Paul Canadiens, working on getting faster and stronger, before officially heading to Bonnyville to join the Pontiacs Junior A.
“When I arrived at the Bonnyville Pontiacs, they welcomed me with open arms and I hope all the kids will experience that,” he said. “It’s like that [sports] should be because that’s what I love about the sport,” he says, noting the community that is created and the friendships that are made.
According to an Oct. 23 Bonnyville Pontiacs press release, Pontiacs associate general manager Neil Langridge said Beaudoin signed with the Pontiacs organization at the age of 17 which “turned a lot of heads. “.
Langridge said Beaudoin is “a true example and proof that all you need to succeed in life and in sport is a relentless work ethic and a drive to pursue your dreams.”
“When he finished the season with the Jr. B Canadians, he continued to develop and push himself to make the most of every situation and was a driver and a force in the NEAJBHL,” Langridge said. Beaudoin was even named NEAJBHL Rookie of the Year for the 2021-22 season.
Beaudoin says he will continue to train and improve, so he can be “effective at the next level” with UAF. “It’s one step at a time, but that’s what drives me every day,” he says.
For now, he’s looking forward to what the Bonnyville Pontiacs can accomplish in the near future, and he’s confident in the team’s current roster, coach and potential for the 2022-23 season.