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Logan Mailloux, rising star

Jean-François Houle gathered all his players at the centre of the ice at Place Bell. A routine scene for an early January training session. Together, they form a circle in front of the head coach. The Laval Rocket coach, rather than announcing instructions for a new drill, uttered the words, “Logan, you’re going to the All-Star Game!”

The reaction was immediate. The tall, 6’3″ rookie defenceman disappeared beneath his teammates, who came to embrace him in celebration.

At the age of 20, the selection for the All-Star Game crystallized the quality of Mailloux’s first season at the pro level. With 29 points, including 10 goals before the All-Star break, Mailloux is on track for the best production by a rookie defenceman with the Montreal Canadiens farm team since P.K. Subban in 2009-2010.

In short, his participation in the All-Star Game is anything but undeserved. 

Once in San José for the All-Star Game, at the Barracuda’s home, Mailloux had a blast with a number of spectacular skills, scoring a goal and certainly would have scored the tournament’s most stunning goal had the puck not crossed the red line half a second after the horn.

All this, while he was on the ice with the other stars of the American Hockey League. All in all, a dream weekend.

“It was really cool to be here and meet a lot of the players in the league and bond with them,” said the man who was playing in his first All-Star Game since minor hockey.

Always improving

However, becoming the Rocket’s blue-line general didn’t happen overnight. In fact, his head coach emphasized the progress made by number 24 this season.

“He’s made great progress. At the beginning of the year, he needed to adapt to the league and that wasn’t easy. But I think all that has stabilized and he’s shown me a maturity in wanting to learn. And right now, things are looking up. He’s picking up points, he’s been elected to the All-Star team, so I think he’s on the right track.”

However, Houle was also keen to calm things down, and took it upon himself to make sure that the defender kept both feet on the ground.

“What’s going to be important for him is to carry on like this, he said. In professional sport, you always have to start all over again. You can’t be satisfied. Logan’s obstacle for the second half of the season is not being happy with what he’s done. He has to try to do even better than this first half of the season.”

So where did he improve in the first half of the campaign? 

“I’m killing plays a lot quicker. I’m more physical and I feel like it’s showing in my game. I’d say it’s been night and day since the start of the season. I know I have the tools to generate offence and I try to use them when I can,” noted the Belle River native.

“I wouldn’t say I was shy at the beginning of the season, but I felt like I was more hesitant before making certain offensive plays. […] I’ve become more confident and I feel I’ve progressed both offensively and defensively,” he explained.

A new crowd favourite

LAVAL, CANADA – DECEMBER 22: Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins v Laval Rocket at Place Bell on December 22, 2023 in Laval, QC, Canada. (Photo by Laurent Corbeil / Arena du Rocket Inc.)

And that extra dose of confidence carried over into other hockey spheres, too. 

Named first star of the game after the Rocket’s 5-2 win over the Manitoba Moose on January 12, Mailloux decided to speak to the Place Bell crowd in French. Fans instantly chanted Mailloux’s name to show their support.

“It was one of those games where I felt good and I still felt good after the game. So I felt like I was letting myself go. So yes, it was cool. The fans loved it,” he admitted after the match, in French.

Mailloux mentioned that spending the summer of 2022 in Montreal and interacting with several French-speaking teammates helped him get back into the swing of things linguistically. “I speak French in the dressing room with the guys, and they’ve taught me a lot of idioms I didn’t know before,” he confided.

The story doesn’t say what these expressions are, however.

What we do know, nonetheless, is that while Logan Mailloux may not be a rising star, his star is already shining brightly.