The X-Factor: Xavier Parent eager to get started
Who knew the fidget spinner fad would even have an effect on the Halifax Mooseheads and their top prospect from the 2017 QMJHL Entry Draft. It turns out the must-have gadget for youth everywhere was a good omen for the team and its fourth overall pick according to Xavier Parent’s father Stephane.
“He bought one yesterday that lights up. When he was using the spinner it was red and green, Xavier looked at me and said the Mooseheads are going to pick me,” he said.
Father, son and Mother Chantal were all smiles while mingling in the Halifax booth following the first round of the draft in Saint John. Parent was going through the usual motions of entering information for his education and going to the CCM booth to be fitted for sticks and skates, all while grinning from ear to ear.
The offensively talented forward is determined to make a name for himself in a Mooseheads uniform and coincidently is represented by agent and former Moose goalie Pascal Leclaire.
“He just told me that I’m going to love it there and that the fans are great,” Parent said.
Parent had an impressive stats line with Esther-Blondin in 2016-17 by scoring 55 points in 34 games and has proven to be a big-time scorer at every level. He believes that his speed will help him transition well to the QMJHL while he also wants to work hard to have a chance to continue to play the center position.
“(Speed) is what always allowed me to advance from level to level. I have a good game sense, but this summer I really want to improve my efficiency in the playoff circle. It’s one of the most important aspects of hockey. In your end, a face off win can save a goal; at the other end, it gives your team a chance to score, this is where I want to excel.”
Parent considers himself to be a team player and says he is not afraid of finishing the night with an ice pack on his leg.
“Blocking shots is important. I’m a leader. Even at the age of 14, I spoke up in the locker room when we needed a goal.”
Although smaller in stature at 5-foot-8 and 165 pounds he doesn’t let that hold him back. His small size, combined with his speed, is reminiscent of a certain Jonathan Drouin who had a brilliant career with the Mooseheads.
“I love being compared to him. Like me, he isn’t very big, but he’s got a heavier build. I want to put on weight this summer. Our stature is similar and our strength is for sure on offense.”
Carl Bouchard, the director of the QMJHL Central Scouting Registry, describes the Mooseheads prospect as an elite skater.
“He manages to explode and find in himself a second, sometimes even a third gear. Because of that, he is very difficult to guard against. His offensive assets are excellent, and he is above all, a play maker,” Bouchard said.
His Midget AAA coach Paul Bordeleau has warned him not want to impress the fans in Halifax right from the start.
“Xavier works non-stop and is very courageous on the ice. He’s not an individual player, he’s an excellent teammate but he tends to want to take everything on his shoulders. In junior, he will have to use his wingers more. In the QMJHL, he will not be able to beat three players all by himself to make his way to the net. He is determined to win, but will have to do it differently,” Bordeleau said.
Mooseheads General Manager Cam Russell expects his new recruit will have fans on the edge of their seats at Scotiabank Centre.
“Our scouts have been watching this guy for a couple of years now and he’s going to be an exciting player for the Mooseheads fans for a number of years. I’ll tell you, the way he plays and the excitement that he brings to the rink will be incredible to watch.”
For Parent and Mooseheads fans alike, training camp can’t come soon enough.
-With files from QMJHL