They are just waiting to be scouted. And to be sure, there are a number of jewels who are hidden off the highways in the hockey nooks of northeastern Ontario.
Hockey News North recently profiled 2002 birth year forward Kobe Barrette and 2001 birth year forward Riley Brousseau of the Timmins Majors of the Great North Midget Hockey League. And now, we take a look at 2001 birth year pivot Mathieu Parent of the Kapuskasing Flyers.
Parent is not big. But he can shoot, he can score, he can dish off a pass and he can play in transition — and all while at high speed.
Standing in at 5-foot-8 and tipping the scales at 150 pounds, Parent has skills and smarts and speed to burn. Just ask his coach, Kapuskasing bench boss Glen Denney, who goes on and on (and on some more) about his young center.
“Mathieu is an extremely gifted kid with the puck, has good vision and a phenomenal hockey IQ,” Denney began, in voluminous words of praise for the prolific Parent, who is the Flyers leading scorer through 30 games with 14 goals, 30 assists, 44 points.
Denney will go as far to compare Parent to center Damien Giroux, a Sudbury native and Great North grad who is in his second season with the Saginaw Spirit of the Ontario Hockey League.
“Mathieu’s physical and mental preparation is second to none. He actually reminds me a lot of Giroux in stature, in-game tenacity, skating style and off-ice preparation,” said Denney, in comparing Parent with Giroux.
And that is not all that Denney has to say about Parent in honest and flattering terms.
“He has a sneaky quick release that I believe he could still use more. With that said with Mathieu, his greatest asset is his professional attitude in his preparation. And for those that know me I don’t throw that out there lightly,” Denney continued.
“I’ve had the good fortune of being involved with the Flyers for 10 years and also watched the preparation of several of the NOHA’s top talent through Team NOHA over several years and Mathieu’s physical and mental preparation is second to none,” Denney opined.
Denney also made mention of Parent’s strong compete level.
“All good players have several things in common but for me it’s competitiveness and mastery,” stated Denney. “Mathieu isn’t the most vocal young man but he absolutely hates to lose and if he has what in his mind is an off-game, he’s straight back to the gym or immediately in contact with the coaching staff about what he can improve.
“He doesn’t stop when he’s tired, he stops when he’s mastered the skill and as a coach it’s really motivating to see someone who puts in that type of focused effort,” Denney added.
The veteran Kap coach concluded by saying that Parent is a “great fit” for the way the game is now played.
“In today’s game where the game is about speed and not size, both physical and mental, Mathieu is a great fit. What ever organization decides to give him an opportunity is getting a tremendous asset on both sides of the puck and with his work ethic and attitude he’s going to continue to develop into a very complete hockey player,” Denney wrapped up.
PHOTO: Mathieu Parent, in action for the Kapuskasing Flyers.