Devin Brosseau is in a new league, a new province, speaking a new primary language and yet is looking right at home.
The St. Lambert, Que., native is tied for the Nanaimo Clippers lead in points, with eight (four goals, four assists) through their first seven games, with hometown boy Brendan Taylor. However, it has been three games since Brosseau has added to that total.
The six-foot-two, 185-pound forward is hoping to bust out of that mini slump this weekend when the Clippers host the Cowichan Valley Capitals tonight at 7 p.m. and the West Kelowna Warriors on Saturday at 7 p.m. "I think I started on the right foot, but sometimes you meet teams that are a little different, so there you have to adjust some more. But it should be better in a few games," said Brosseau, 18.
Clippers head coach and general manger Mike Vandekamp brought Brosseau in via trade in mid August for future considerations from the Longueuil College Francais of the Quebec Junior 'AAA' Hockey League.
Last year, Brosseau scored 37 points (18-19-37) as an 18-year-old rookie with Longueuil as they won their league and advanced to the Fred Page Cup in Truro, N.S. The move out here meant he has had to get used to a whole new style of play.
"Back home it was more of an open play where we could use our skill," he said. "You've got to skate harder here, the battles are way harder one-on-one and more physical."
So far, Vandekamp likes what he has seen so far from Brosseau.
"He's adapted well," he said.
"He's a smart hockey player to begin with, he's a committed player, he works hard in practice, he wants to get better. .. I think a lot of his development is going to come a little bit more long term through physical development, getting bigger and stronger, that's really going to help him and that doesn't happen overnight."
Making the adjustment easier has been the instant chemistry he has found with linemates Taylor and rookie winger Sheldon Rempal out of Calgary.
"We know each other, we know where to look for each other on the ice, so we try to use that to our advantage," said Brosseau.
On big barrier he has had get over was language. Back home in the Montreal suburb, everyone spoke French. Except his mother was from Ontario, and so learning English and speaking it at home was emphasized. It has certainly helped him out over the last two months in Nanaimo as he speaks with the faintest of accents.
"With the boys here has now been a moth and a half, so your talking gets better, your understanding gets better and that's the way to improve," said Brosseau, who is also going to Woodlands Secondary School.
Brosseau isn't the only Clipper looking for better stats this weekend. The entire team is hoping to bounce back from their worst performance of the year, a 4-2 loss to the Langley Rivermen on Sunday, a confounding loss that followed their best performance of the year, a 4-1 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks last Friday.
The big word is consistency. "You've got bookends their - you've got your best game and you're worst game on the same weekend," said Vandekamp. "From a confidence stand point, it's important for us to go out there and at least play well."
© Copyright 2013