Life In Europe After Jr. B Hockey – Stephane Gervais – by C. Scott Holland
One of the most popular Flyers from 2000 to 2002 Stephane Gervais has shown that an education and playing hockey can go hand in hand.
The former Leamington Flyers right winger has continued playing Canada’s game long after leaving his mark on local Junior B hockey. And for the one-time Western Jr. B playoff scoring champion (2001/02), hockey and life have taken him down roads he may never have traveled.
The promise of having a good hockey career was evident when he was a teen. In 1999 the OHL Plymouth Whalers drafted him in the 14th round of the Priority Draft. The following season he began playing for the Leamington Junior B Flyers and played six games for Plymouth. He followed that up with another six regular season games plus seven playoff games for the Windsor Spitfires in 2001/02 on top of his second season with Leamington.
The 6′ 3″ Gervais said , “After leaving the (Leamington) Flyers, I went to the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, ” he said. While attending UBC he played four years of Varsity hockey and earned a degree in Human Kinetics along with a minor in English Literature.
It was while he played at UBC that he was converted from an offensive forward to a defenseman.
Upon graduating he signed a contract in France to play professionally in the Ligue Magnus (top league) with Les Dauphins d’Epinal. The 32-year-old has never looked back since then and his hockey career has escalated.
During his first season in France he said, “I led all defensemen in goals then in my second season I led all defensemen in goals and points!”
Playing in the elite league has certainly been agreeable with him and his offensive prowess, which he showed so often as a Leamington Flyers forward, hasn’t been lost.
His team won the Coupe de France (2009/10) and Coupe de la Ligue (2014/15) plus he has had two consecutive seasons of being named an All-Star (2008/09, 2009/10).
When asked about whether he’s still playing hockey he proudly stated, “I’m currently in my ninth season of pro hockey. I play for Les Bruleurs de Loups de Grenoble.”
But his storybook career hasn’t ended there.
He obtained French citizenship in 2010 and earlier this year (in May), he married a French girl, Marion. He may soon have company practicing his hockey skills at home since the couple is expecting their first child in the new year.
With a contract that runs through 2016/17 he’s assured of at least one more season of playing professional hockey and he does return to Windsor, Ontario often to visit his parents who also repay him with many visits to France.
Happiness has definitely followed him wherever he’s gone and his future is as bright as it was 15 years ago – and we are positive that any child of his will inherit some good hockey skills plus have lots of fun while growing up.
(Photo credit: Elite Prospects, Grenoble)