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The patience of Alexis Gravel | The Press

Good things come to those who wait for. Alexis Gravel wants to be a professional hockey player. But there is no rush.

Posted at 6:00 a.m.

Katherine Harvey Pinard

Katherine Harvey Pinard
The Press

The 22-year-old goaltender, who played with the University of Quebec at Trois-Rivières (UQTR) Patriotes last season, recently took part in the Seattle Kraken development camp. Initially, it was the Tampa Bay Lightning that he was to participate in.

“The day before I left, my agent called me and said, ‘Eventually you’re going to Seattle, we think there’s a better chance for you to get a contract there’. he explains at the end of the line. They have just arrived in the league, so there were more open doors. »

Things went well. The goalkeeper left the Emerald City feeling like he had shown the Kraken leaders what he could do.

They said they were happy with me and that I had risen in their esteem. I thought that was positive.

Alexis Gravel

Currently, his agent is in talks with the Kraken. He tries to come to an agreement. The former Halifax Mooseheads therefore does not know where he will play next season. Surprisingly, he feels he should return to the Patriots. “But if Seattle offers a great contract, I would have to ask myself whether I take it or not,” he said.

In other words, Gravel is “open to go, but on good terms”.

Incredible journey

Barely 11 months ago, Alexis Gravel was invited to the Canadiens’ rookie camp under a trial contract. Two weeks later, he was cut off and found himself at the Laval Rocket. However, the squad in front of the net was already full.


PHOTO MARTIN TREMBLAY, THE PRESS

Goalkeeper Alexis Gravel during the Montreal Canadiens rookie camp last September

He then received a call from the Americans of Allen, in the ECHL, with whom he presented himself. But the experiment only lasted three weeks due to the unexpected return of the club’s first goalkeeper. Rather than become a nomadic player who roams all sides, all sides, Gravel decided to join the UQTR Patriotes in order to continue his bachelor’s degree in business administration.

“I thought to myself, ‘It doesn’t make sense, doing this all my life. Go and do your studies, spend three or four years with the Patriots, ”he then told The Press.

This decision, Gravel has never regretted it.

When he arrived with the Patriotes, he shared the net with Tristan Côté-Cazenave. At the holidays, the team had played only seven games, three of which were with Gravel in front of goal. With the league forced on hiatus due to COVID-19, Côté-Cazenave left the team to join the Reading Royals of Pennsylvania in the ECHL. The door was wide open for Gravel, who defended the goal in all of his team’s games thereafter.

In the grand finale of the Canadian Championship, the Patriots beat the Alberta Golden Bears 5-4 in second overtime. The keeper was smoking hot, blocking 66 shots in the win.

I had found it hard when I had lost the two finals [de la Coupe du Président et de la Coupe Memorial] against the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies [en 2019], so I had like a second chance. I was really happy when we won. It did good.

Alexis Gravel

If he arrived at the Patriotes without too many expectations last November, the masked man ended the season as champion of the Queen’s Cup and the Canadian University Championship.

“I really enjoyed my year, not just because we won. Overall, it’s a really good program. »

“That’s why if the option to go pro is there, I’ll think about it, but I’m in no hurry to leave at all,” he adds calmly.

In a good situation

The university circuit is not the most followed by recruiters of professional teams. Alexis Gravel is not afraid that his years in it will slow him down in his goal of playing for professionals, on the contrary.

“I think it’s a good league for the springboard to the pros. […] I wouldn’t see it as a cemetery. Guys want to improve. They don’t have to, but they train, keep in shape.

My dream is the National League, but let’s be realistic, I have a better chance of going to Europe or playing here in the minor pro, in the ECHL or the American League. That’s the goal, anyway. Playing pro is not necessarily the NHL.

Alexis Gravel

The Cerberus does not make scenarios. With his scholarships acquired when he played in the QMJHL, he is not “badly taken”.

“I am in a good situation. I’ll see if Seattle offers anything no worse. But otherwise, I have no problem coming back to the Pats. »

The future will tell if his patience will bear fruit.

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