A fresh start for Brandon Gignac
Brandon Gignac comes from a family that loves hockey. At a very young age, it was all he could think about. He, along with his parents and brother would tune in for every Montreal Canadiens game on television. Hockey quickly became his sport and priority. He played all of his minor hockey in Quebec, going through Georges-Vanier High School in Laval and being part of the Phénix of Esther-Blondin. In 2013, during the QMJHL draft, he was selected by the Shawinigan Cataractes, a team with which he played his four seasons at the junior level.
“I’m very happy to have stayed with the same team for four years, it’s flattering and it will always be precious for me to have been part of the Cataractes organization.”
He had some great times in Shawinigan. During the 2016-17 season, he had the chance to play a few games with his brother, William, leading to great memories for him and his family. In his third year, the team made it to the President Cup final, where they were defeated by the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, which included his current teammates JC Beaudin and Alexandre Fortin.
“When it happened, I was angry because we hated Rouyn, but now we’ve moved on. It’s in the past, today we play on the same team and we have fun together.”
In 2016, in Buffalo, at the NHL Entry Draft, Brandon was selected in the third round by the New Jersey Devils, an organization with which he played four seasons, mainly in the American Hockey League.
In his first year in the pros, after playing 21 games for the Binghamton Devils, he suffered a season ending knee injury that came at a very bad time. It was tough physically and mentally, but he worked hard. He wanted to get back in the game, to prove to the organization that drafted him that he “had it in him”.
“It was a big challenge for me and on the other hand it taught me to appreciate hockey more, because all the time I had away from the game, thinking about coming back to the game and coming back with the team, working hard to show that my knee was okay, it made me appreciate hockey more.”
The following year, he played his first NHL game. He laced up his skates on March 9, 2019, at the famous Madison Square Garden for a matchup between the Devils and the Rangers. Despite the loss that night, it was a great special moment for Brandon to finally play in the NHL.
His time with the New Jersey organization ended last season with a stint in Jacksonville of the ECHL where he scored 27 points in 35 games.
He arrived in Laval with a new lease on life. As soon as he arrived, Gignac felt good about the team and the city. This season, he changed a lot of things in his routine, wanting to make sure he had fun and was able to give his best everyday.
“Now I just want to stay positive, no matter what happens. Sometimes in our routines there are little things that happen, and it was playing on my mind. I was in too deep, it was crackpot. I had to do everything, everything, everything perfect. Now, I say to myself: whatever happens, happens. Now I’m getting into the game, I want to have energy, to have fun playing. That’s when I play my best, when I have fun.”
He knows the Rocket are loaded with talent and experience and that he will have to work hard all year to make a place for himself. He likes the coaches’ approach. The very human side proposed by Jean-François Houle and his assistants gave him confidence and he is happy to play hockey for the team and organization he grew up cheering for on television.