Cree Goaltender Trevor Cooper Joins Elite Ranks with Lac St-Louis Lions

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A young Cree hockey player took a huge step in his budding hockey career this fall with the news that he had cracked the lineup for the Midget AAA Lac St-Louis Lions.

After attending a grueling training camp with no guarantee of a roster spot, Ouje-Bougoumou’s Trevor Cooper received the good news that he would play goal for the Lions, joining an illustrious group of current and former NHL players who honed their craft in Montreal’s West island, including Montreal Canadiens’ star Jonathan Drouin, Arizona Coyotes sniper Anthony Duclair, and two-time Stanley Cup winner Martin Lapointe.

It has been a tough road for this hockey-mad teenager. At 6’ 8” tall, Cooper is an intimidating presence between the pipes. But with just a few years of experience as a goaltender, Lions coach Jon Goyens believes that Cooper has plenty of room to grown his game.

“Any kid of Trevor’s physical stature will always be labeled a project,” explained Goyens, who has amassed over two decades of coaching experience.

“But we have never selected a goaltender based on size. In Trevor’s case, we picked a goaltender who has demonstrated smarts and commitment, and has come a long way due to hard work, and studying YouTube videos.”

Cooper’s hockey journey started three years ago, when he expressed a clear desire to compete at an elite level. The 16-year-old got his first taste of elite competition while playing for the Bantam BB Pirates in Dollard-des-Ormeaux before advancing to Bantam AA, and then moving on to Lac St-Louis Midget Espoirs Predateurs last season.

The experience at Lions training camp proved challenging for Cooper, who was one of 12 goaltenders to enter tryouts this past spring, and the last one standing among the six to attend fall training camp.

“I did have a lot of competition for my roster spot”, explained Cooper in conversation with the Nation. “They were all very skilled and talented goaltenders attending camp. Luckily, I was able to persevere through my hard work and training.”

That hard work has remained a requirement in as the regular season has gotten into full swing. Cooper took the loss in his first two appearances in the Lac St-Louis goal, but coach Goyens was far from discouraged by his young netminder’s performance.

“Trevor faced the best team in the league in his first start for us,” said Goyens, referring to the Lions’ 6-4 loss to the Magog Cantonniers on September 16.

“We are a team in its infancy, and Trevor has given us a chance to win.

It was only a matter of time before Cooper would lead the Lions to victory, with a 26-save performance in Lac St-Louis’ 5-3 win over the College Charles-Lemoyne Riverains on September 29.

As a young man coming of age in the Montreal area it is no surprise that Cooper looks up to Canadiens superstar goaltender Carey Price, whom he admires for both his elite skill set and legendary clam demeanor on the ice. But Cooper also recognizes the obvious comparisons between him and Dallas Stars netminders Ben Bishop, who also stands 6’ 8”, and can provide insight into how to approach the game as a tall goaltender.

While hockey is clearly Cooper’s passion, the mature teen also understands the importance that education plays for him, both now and the future. With that in mind, the Secondary V student has set his sights on using his rapidly developing skills to eventually earn a spot on a college hockey squad.

“Education is important,” explained Cooper. “Very few players make it to the NHL, so education is my backup plan.”


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