James Malatesta “fell in love with Quebec”
The aura of Patrick Roy and his persuasive side? The seriousness of the Ramparts? The charms of Quebec? It was all this and especially his two-day training camp experience that convinced James Malatesta to continue his career in the Canadian junior at the Remparts.
The 16-year-old was back on the ice at the ExpoCité Youth Pavilion Wednesday morning, two weeks after his first 48-hour run. In a 180-degree turn, the native of Kirkland, on the West Island of Montreal, chose Tuesday to abandon the university hockey track in the United States to engage with the Quebec Major Junior Club.
A big addition in attack for the future of the Remparts, but even for the present. Roy has already confirmed that he will play on the first line alongside veteran Félix Bibeau and Pierrick Dubé. Malatesta will carry the number 11.
“I fell in love with Quebec City!” He summed up simply, at the door of the locker room. “I was not planning to play in the QMJHL. I came to the camp because it’s Quebec, that I have good memories of having played at the Pee-wee Tournament at the Videotron Center and by simple respect to coach Patrick, to whom I said that I would come. ”
“But once here, I fell in love! And when I left, I kept thinking about it, “said the man who had yet promised at the Kimball Union Academy, a high school preparatory to universities located in New Hampshire. “One team could change my mind and it was Quebec.”
Seventh round pick
That’s the crux of the matter. While Malatesta had always said he would not play in the QMJHL, the one who was ranked 11th hope by the Recruitment Support Center for the final draft ultimately ended up in the fold of the Remparts as far back as the seventh round, to 116th overall rank. Has the player chosen his team?
“Seventh round. It’s no more complicated than that, “retorted the Remparts general manager and head coach. In the sense that the 17 other formations of the circuit had all the leisure of fishing Malatesta before the Remparts.
“In my opinion, there are some who will have discussions [in the other clubs] … If the player comes out at the end of the second or third round, you can think that it is arranged. But in seventh, a lot of players are gone. So for me, they can all close, “says Roy, admitting to have spent a lot of time and effort on this issue since June 8.
“There are many things in our favor when you want to convince a player,” says Roy. “He played Peewee, our facilities, our type of organization and the people who work there. We do not take anything lightly! We have a proud organization and take care of our players. And Quebec, it’s a beautiful city! “Lists the boss.
The fact that Malatesta will be able to attend an anglophone school as much to finish high school as it is later in college also leans in the balance. A scholarship disbursed by the QMJHL was another positive element to convince him to stay here.
“But maybe I have some advantage over some teams, and that’s me,” said the former Stanley Cup winner and four-time NHL record holder. “I have an experience, I am passionate and I have something to share with young people,” he summarizes, realistic.
Roy points out that Quebec City is not the only destination for recalcitrants like Malatesta. Saint-Jean, Moncton and Halifax also play on this field, while the upcoming arrival of Russian Vasily Ponomarev in Shawinigan surprises many.