When the final buzzer sounded on Monday to end the Sherbrooke Phoenix’s season in the QMJHL playoffs, the last thing on Joshua Roy’s mind was getting a chance in professional hockey.
After the game, he was told that he was heading to the Laval Rocket for their Calder Cup run on a tryout contract.
“I wasn’t expecting it,” Roy said on Wednesday when he spoke to the media. “It was at least some good news. I was sad [that we were eliminated], but to have this chance I was very happy.”
The Montreal Canadiens’ fifth-round pick in the 2021 NHL Draft had a dream season, winning the QMJHL scoring title with 51 goals and 68 assists in 66 games. He added eight goals and 15 assists in 11 playoff games, and is looking forward to soaking in his first professional hockey experience.
“To see the guys will be beneficial for me,” Roy said. “They are pros. To see how they carry themselves off ice and on the ice will be good for me.”
Roy is in a similar situation to Riley Kidney, who has practiced with the team since his team was eliminated in the previous round.
“It will be very good for him to be in our meetings, meet the players,” said Rocket head coach Jean-François Houle. “If he has a chance to play, we’ll play him. Right now our forwards are going very, very well so I don’t think he’ll be in the lineup in the coming days. There could be injuries, but just having the two young players here in this environment is very important.”
Roy said that he will be practicing with the team, and intends to travel to Springfield with the team when they leave on Thursday. He doesn’t know if he’ll get a chance, but is prepared for the opportunity if it comes up.
“I’ll be ready if JF tells me I’m in the lineup,” Roy said.
It has been a whirlwind year for Roy, who earned an NHL entry-level contract after impressing the front office during the team’s rookie camp. His season stayed hot, and he earned an invite to Canada’s World Junior camp. Now, he has a chance to enjoy a professional playoff atmosphere. It’s clear that the team’s new front office has been satisfied with his progression.
“They’re showing they have confidence in me and they have been happy with my season,” Roy said. “Most things on the bucket list have been checked off but the ultimate goal is playing for the Canadiens one day. That’s what I want. These are just little steps towards that and the big step is to play for them.”
Roy admits that he was watching the Rocket’s games on TV when he had the chance, even during his own team’s run.
“The atmosphere seemed incredible,” he said about the Place Bell crowds.
The Eastern Conference final kicks off on Saturday night in Springfield as the Rocket play the Thunderbirds. Unlike the previous two rounds, this series will be a best-of-seven series. To limit travel, the format is a 2-3-2 format instead of the NHL’s 2-2-1-1-1 format, meaning that after the first two games, Games 3, 4, and 5 (if necessary) will be in Laval before the series would go back to Springfield for as many games as are necessary.
All games will be broadcast on RDS and 91.9 Sports FM as well as streaming on RDS Direct and AHL TV. Home games will be on TSN 690 radio.