It’s been an incredible few months for new Moose Assistant Coach Eric Dubois and his family.
A veteran player and coach, Dubois is not only making the jump from coaching in the Quebec Major Junior League to coaching in the American Hockey League, but also witnessing his son climb the ladder to the NHL.
The date was June 24. The location was Buffalo’s First Niagara Center. The occasion?
The 2016 NHL Entry Draft.
After the Toronto Maple Leafs selected Auston Matthews first overall and the Jets picked Patrik Laine second, the Columbus Blue Jackets made Pierre-Luc Dubois the third name called.
It was an honour for the talented forward out of Cape Breton of the QMJHL, and part of a thrilling and draining time for dad Eric and mom Jill (and sister Daphné).
“It was fun. For parents, it’s very emotional to go through the Draft. I was probably just as tired as him at the end of the day.”
A long-time pro defenceman, with 11 years of experience coaching in the Quebec League, Eric can joke about the “toll” the Draft took on him and Jill. He can offer important perspective too.
“A lot of kids put too much pressure on themselves, or their surroundings put too much pressure on the kids when it’s their draft year thinking it’s the biggest year of their life, but it’s not. It’s just another year that you have to get better,” said Dubois. “I’m very proud of him for realizing that, and staying focused on the task – just play hockey, have fun and do your best every day.”
JOINING THE MOOSE – AGAIN
Now son and father are about to take their careers to another stage at the same time.
While Pierre-Luc pushes for a roster spot in Columbus, Eric returns to Winnipeg to grow his coaching game. His first stint in Winnipeg was as a part of the first-ever edition of the Moose in the 1996-97 season.
“I was reaching the point where I needed another challenge and I always thought I could help, especially the defenceman, to reach another level,” said Eric, who had 25 points in 80 games in his lone season in Moose colours. “I had some good friends over there. I remember Scott Arniel, Vincent Riendeau, Freddy Braithwaite, and Greg Pankiewicz…Zinger (Jets’ Senior Vice-President and Director of Hockey Operations/Assistant General Manager – Craig Heisinger). I have some good memories”
TEAMING UP WITH VINCENT
Eric’s role with the Moose sees him as part of the staff led by Head Coach Pascal Vincent – also someone Dubois has a history with.
Eric was a junior hockey teammate of Vincent’s years ago, and the two were on opposing benches in the Quebec League for six seasons.
“His teams were always prepared, played hard. He always had one of the top teams in the league. And, the experience he got in the NHL the last few years – I thought it would be a good experience for me to learn from a guy like him,” said Dubois of the new Moose bench boss.
Eric looks forward to working with Vincent, fellow assistant Mark Morrison, Developmental Goalie Coach Rick St. Croix, and Video Coach Richard Bue and can’t wait to help Jets’ prospects work towards their goals.
“I think that’s the best part of my job – to give my experience to those guys to help them reach the next level. To help them accomplish that – that’s the most gratifying thing for me.”
Dubois and the Moose open the home portion of their schedule Tuesday, October 18th at 7pm when they host the Bakersfield Condors at the MTS Centre. Visit moosehockey.com/tickets to get in on the action.
Photo Credit: Le Soleil/Pascal Ratthe