Kyle Aucoin and Jacob Perreault never got to see their dads play for Team
Canada, but they have heard the stories.
Now presented with the opportunity to represent Canada themselves on the
national stage, the duo are following closely behind the footsteps of their
famous fathers – retired NHLers and Team Canada alumni, Adrian Aucoin and
They are among the 112 Canadians participating in Canada’s national
under-17 development camp in Calgary this week, learning the practices and
expectations of the Program of Excellence on and off the ice.
“[It was] probably my happiest moment, when I found out I was coming here,”
says Aucoin. “It’s been an unreal experience so far; I am excited to keep
going for the next few days, continue to learn and hopefully improve.
“I have always dreamt of having the Maple Leaf on my sweater. That would be
the ultimate dream.”
Heading into the camp, the boys were offered some parental guidance and
insight into the Canadian Way.
“[My dad] just told me to always be ready to learn and improve, to just
work your hardest every time, and do the things that he has taught me,”
says Aucoin. “My dad has been my biggest role model through my whole
career; I have always looked up to him.”
Adrian Aucoin was a frequent contributor on the international stage for
Canada, winning gold at the 1993 IIHF World Junior Championship, taking
home silver from the Winter Olympics a year later and helping Canada to a
fourth-place finish at the 2000 IIHF World Championship in Russia.
Yanic Perreault claimed a silver medal in his lone Team Canada appearance,
scoring eight goals and adding three assists to lead the red-and-white in
scoring at the 1996 IIHF World Championship in Austria.
“Our relationship is pretty tight – he is my coach and pretty much my best
friend,” says Perreault. “Every time he has a chance, he gives me tips to
just get my game better and how to be the best that I can be.
“He coached me for at least 10 years just growing up and still was the
assistant coach after that and just did some extra with me just to keep
getting better and I loved the experience. He taught me everything that I
know; he is one of the reasons why I am here today.”
Products of the Chicago Mission program, Aucoin and Perreault share their
fathers’ positions – Kyle patrols the blue-line like Adrian, while Jacob
does his work up front (and undoubtedly has his dad’s penchant for face-off
success – Yanic led the NHL in face-off win percentage eight years in a
row) – and a connection as Canadians living south of the border.
“We are pretty close,” Perreault says. “We were the only Canadians last
year on our team which brought us even more together.”
“He is definitely one of the hearts of the locker room, keeps everyone
positive and happy,” Aucoin says of Perreault. “All year on the ice he was
just unbelievable and an easy guy to play with.”
The two found success individually and with their team – Perreault led
Chicago Mission in scoring during the High Performance Hockey League (HPHL)
season, and the team finished 15-1-4 in the HPHL before claiming the USA
Hockey 16U national championship.
Now comes the opportunity to develop the skills necessary to become one of
the 66 Canadians who will represent the country at the 2018 World Under-17
Hockey Challenge this November in Saint John and Quispamsis, N.B.
The torch has been passed from fathers to sons for their chance to showcase
their teachings and talents, and embody the Canadian Way – “It means just
compete … for yourself, for the country, for your teammates,” says Aucoin –
on international ice for the first time.
Both players have long been driven by a love of Canada’s national winter
sport, a love seen in dressing rooms from coast to coast to coast that
unites Canadians regardless of the language they speak or the province they
It is the humble hustle at every level of Team Canada – from under-17
through the Olympics – that is something passed on from generation to
generation, and produces a fair share of sons following fathers into the
highest levels of the game.