Moving from McGill hockey to the American Hockey League (AHL), Louis-Philip Guindon is one of McGill’s greatest sports successes. After signing with the Laval Rocket on a player try-out, Guindon reflected on his history with hockey and how his time at McGill helped him in his journey toward the big leagues. Born in Montreal, Guindon fell in love with hockey from the moment he could hold a stick.
“I started playing when I was very young,” Guindon said in an interview with The McGill Tribune. “Every kid in Quebec plays hockey, that’s just how it is. All my friends were playing, so I played too.”
Guindon developed a passion for the netminding position soon after he laced up his skates for the first time.
“I observed goalies at a tournament when I started playing and realized that the position of goalie stands out the most on the ice,” Guindon said. “They are the stars, and that’s what I wanted to be.”
Although hockey first began as a rite of passage for Guindon, it quickly consumed his life. Like many high-level athletes, he did not pick up other hobbies or activities outside of hockey—that is, until he found himself at McGill. In university, reading and writing became creative outlets for Guindon, who learned to balance his athletic endeavours with his academic interests.
“I had a good excuse to be able to read and write [in school], since being on a McGill sports team requires their players to keep up with their studies,” Guindon said. “For the first time, I had an easy time balancing hockey and something else I thoroughly enjoyed.”
After his time spent with the McGill Redbirds, Guindon moved on to the Wheeling Nailers in the ECHL. After about a year with the Nailers, Guindon secured a tryout contract with the Laval Rocket in the AHL. Although this was a step up on a professional level, Guindon emphasized that this promotion meant more than just a career achievement.
“I was blessed to receive the opportunity to play on the Rocket,” Guindon said. “It wasn’t always something I was striving for specifically. I just want to be able to work hard and do my absolute best when I play hockey [….] Playing at a higher level gives me a greater challenge above anything else.”
As a goalie, Guindon had much to say about the position and his critical role in every game.
“Goalies make an impact on every moment of the game. There is a lot of pressure and everyone is watching you,” Guindon said. “You are the only player that’s on the ice the whole game and you have to make sure to keep your composure 100 per cent of the time and focus on your primary objective: Making saves.”
Instead of focussing on the future, Guindon prefers to stay grounded in the present moment.
“I take life day-to-day and I work hard for more opportunities to open up,” Guindon said. “If another chance comes along, I evaluate what to do and move forward from there. I am able to do my degree while playing hockey and I work hard in everything I do to have as many options for my future as possible.”
And it is clear that Louis-Philip Guindon has a bright future ahead of him. He thanks McGill for a large portion of his success, citing his time at university as essential in preparing him for his future in both hockey and everyday life. For now, Guindon will continue to strive forward in his hockey career—and only time will tell where he ends up next.