Continuing ProSprtsBlogging’s series of features with some of the top young talent in Quebec, today’s conversation is with dynamic forward (and client of Allan Walsh!) Frederic Gamelin. Gamelin was drafted #5 overall in the QMJHL draft by Baie Comeau, after completing a very successful season with the Chateauguay Patriotes in the Midget AAA league. Despite his small stature, Gamelin is a workhorse on the ice and has tremendous vision that allows him to make anyone on his line look like an elite player. To really understand what Gamelin has to offer, I will share a story with you.
Out of all of the athletes that will be profiled on ProSportsBlogging.com, Fred Gamelin is the only one who I have never personally met. I have seen him play, and I know some of his teammates, but he and I have never so much as said hello. After agreeing to do this interview with me, I emailed Fred some questions to answer, and upon pushing “send”, I realized that he is francophone. I am perfectly bilingual and felt badly, so I told Fred in a follow up “email me your answers in French so it can be easier for you, and I will translate them.” Gamelin responded to me within a few minutes “no, I will answer in English, it’s ok.” That exchange told me that everything I’ve heard about him was true. He’s unselfish, a great team player, and is more concerned about the well being of others than himself.
Frederic Gamelin is a great hockey player on the ice, and is a class act off of it; and I consider myself fortunate to have had the opportunity to interview him and talk hockey.
PSB: Going into the draft, you were ranked as the 11th best player, yet Baie Comeau decided to draft you 5th overall. Were you surprised to go that high, or did the Drakkar give you an indication that they might take you?
FG: I had pretty good interviews with Le Drakkar, and when they traded their first overall pick for the fifth one, I knew that I had good chance to be their pick. For me the most important thing was to be drafted by a team that would be a good fit for me, and I am confident that Baie Comeau is that place.
PSB: I asked one of your teammates (Sam Hodhod) the following question and I would like to get your answer as well. You are listed at just under 5’8, which is considered small for the average hockey player. What do you do to compensate for not being as big as big as some of your opponents?
FG: I can’t control how tall I am, but what I can do is find solutions to compensate. In my case, the solution has been to develop my individual skills to be able to compete and to be better than the bigger guys. My skating ability and my stick handling allow me to play in small areas and that way I can protect the puck without getting hit. My ability to find passing lanes is another big part of my success.
PSB: Speaking of your teammates, it is no secret that you had a lot of talent up front on your Chateauguay Patriotes team this past season and your role was of a pass-first player. Is that a role you have always been comfortable with and do you expect to play that same style of play at the next level?
FG: Yes, I have always been more of a passer than a scorer. It’s not because I don’t like to score, it’s just because it’s a role that I like and that I play well. I don’t want to change my style, Le Drakkar drafted me as a playmaker and I think that’s what they are expecting me to do next year and however long I play for them. This past season, I had the chance to play with Luca Ciampini who has just been drafted second overall last weekend; and our chemistry as “passer-scorer” was almost perfect. I hope to recreate that chemistry with my teammates in Baie Comeau.
PSB: On a similar subject, when people watch you play, what do you hope they remember about you?
FG: Surely not my hitting game! Just joking! Hopefully, that I’m a great passer. It’s probably the thing that I’m best at and I hope that’s what the people are seeing.
PSB: Is there a particular player in the NHL that you try to play like?
FG: I would compare my game to Scott Gomez, or Nicklas Backstrom even though I don’t have his size. Some people have told me that I look a bit like Adam Oates.
PSB: What aspect of your game do you hope to improve this summer, so that when you show up to Baie Comeau next year, you will be even better than the Fred Gamelin that they drafted in the top five?
FG: I want to put on some weight in order to be stronger next year because I know that the guys are lot bigger in the Q. I also plan on trying to improve my shot.
PSB: What is the best lesson you have learned, or advice you were given, that you always think about and remind yourself of?
FG: When you jump on the ice, you have to be thinking one thing – you are the best. Don’t worry about the other players; play confident and play your own game. That’s the way I think and it’s worked well for me.
PSB: What do you hope to accomplish in the next few years?
FG: I want to be a part of the solution in Baie Comeau. I don’t only want to put up points; I also want to be a leader by encouraging the other players. I know that it will be challenging, but I am confident that I can have an impact next year and help the team to reach the top. For the year after, my dream is to be drafted into the NHL like every other player, but I know that if I do my best and continue to sacrifice myself for my team, I can reach that goal.
PSB: Fred – Merci beaucoup et bonne chance. (Tried to get him to speak French)
FG: You’re welcome. (Didn’t work!)
OTHER “FUTURE STARS” PROFILES:
June 11 – Luca Ciampini (Halifax Mooseheads)
June 10 – Dillon Fournier (Lewiston Maineiacs)
June 9 – Ben Masella (Deerfield / Montreal Juniors)
June 8 – Patrick Walsh (Quebec Remparts)
June 7 – Sammy Hodhod (Shawinigan Cataractes)
About the Author
Written by Corey Krakower
I am the Director of NHL Content & Habs writer for ProSportsBlogging.com; I have spent 8 seasons behind the bench as a minor hockey coach; and I am the future GM of the Montreal Canadiens (according to my mom). I spend my days managing the Harrow Sports brand in my hometown of Montreal and I moonlight as a Hockey Advisor for Pi Athlete Management. Most importantly, I'll throw anyone under the bus for a laugh.