HALIFAX – Alex Beaucage was born in Trois-Rivieres, Quebec. But he didn’t stay there long. In fact, it was only one week before the family shipped off to Germany, where his father, Marc Beaucage, joined the Augsburger Panther of the DEL. The elder Beaucage played for a variety of teams in the top German circuit for the next seven years, with Alex getting his first taste of minor hockey over there. Luckily, he had an English coach and went to a French school, but he loved the German crowds at his father’s games. Now, he’s facing the toughest crowd of his career: the home team’s fans at the Memorial Cup in Halifax.
Beaucage’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies take on the Halifax Mooseheads in the final after besting the Herd in the QMJHL championship series and the Memorial Cup round robin. Playing on a devastating line with Montreal Canadiens prospect Joel Teasdale and overager Peter Abbandonato, Beaucage exploded for 79 points in his second year with the Huskies, while notching a point-per-game during the playoffs.
“He’s a big kid and he improved a lot,” said coach Mario Pouliot. “He’s moving his feet more and is more physical on the forecheck. He’s really good with the puck and he has improved on making plays in motion and attacking the net. And he’s really good on the power play.”
The 6-foot-2 right winger isn’t just playing for a Memorial Cup this season – it’s also his draft year. Likely to go in the second or third round, there’s a ton to like about Beaucage, though he does need to iron out his skating before he gets to the next level. In the meantime, he’s soaking up all the lessons he can on a veteran Rouyn-Noranda squad.
“It brought me a lot of maturity, being with an older group,” Beaucage said. “Guys like Teasdale and (Raphael) Harvey-Pinard have a lot of experience in this league and it helped me a lot.”
After seven years in Germany, Beaucage and his family returned to Trois-Rivieres. Marc Beaucage kept his hockey career going in the LNAH, known to outsiders as the “Quebec Fight League” for some of the wild brawls and enforcers known in its history (not to mention the incredible documentary film “Les Chiefs.”). Alex got to watch his dad play for the Trois-Rivieres Caron & Guay, but he wasn’t there for fisticuffs.
“Yeah, it wasn’t about fighting,” he said. “I like it better like that. It was a pretty good hockey club – the talent in the league was pretty good. It changed a lot over the years, there’s a lot less fighting, but it is a tough league.”
Alex played for the local Trois-Rivieres Estacades before decamping to the other side of the province to Rouyn-Noranda, the old copper-mining town just across the border from Northern Ontario.
“For sure at the start it was an adjustment, but the group is really nice,” Beaucage said. “All the boys are really close.”
And Rouyn-Noranda knows hockey. The Huskies have won two of the past four QMJHL championships while featuring future NHLers such as Timo Meier, Philippe Myers and Jeremy Lauzon. While Beaucage isn’t the main attraction on the older team (that would be New York Islanders first-rounder Noah Dobson), he will take on more of a role next season as the veterans age out and his offensive breakthrough this year points to big things in the near future. For now, he’s watching NHLers such as Sam Reinhart and Filip Forsberg for models.
“I think Reinhart has really high hockey sense and I can model myself after him for that,” Beaucage said. “Offensively, Filip Forsberg has a really good wrister and he can pass the puck, too.”
If Beaucage can become a mixture of those two players, he’ll be a steal in the draft this summer. Even if he doesn’t hit that lofty measure however, he’s still going to be a very nice prospect.