In Caroline Côté's family we like pee-wee. Her grandparents housed them for almost twenty years. Her uncle too, and Caroline has been doing the same for 18 years now. Even her young children already wish to follow the family tradition.
Even though her grandparents have hosted several teams over the years, since 1981 Caroline's family has only been involved in training the Boston Junior Bruins.
"It’s been twenty years that we have had the same coach (Carol Cashman) with the Junior Bruins, it’s easier to organize from year to year. I lived with my grandparents and I always lived with pee-wee at home, so it was natural to take over, "she said in an interview with The sun.
"My boys and my cousin already tell me that when I have had enough, they are ready to continue the tradition."
Caroline appreciates the new energy that pee-wee bring to the family home during their stay. She also finds it beneficial that her children have a very good command of English, by dint of working with these young American players.
She regularly surprises them playing online with pee-wee, which shows that the friendship continues well beyond the tournament.
This long-standing relationship with the Junior Bruins was not limited to hockey.
Each spring, the Côté family visits the Junior Bruins to celebrate the end of their season.
But these are not the only celebrations to which Caroline’s family has been invited. "We witnessed the marriage of former players, baptisms, graduations. Parents even contact me because they want to house my boys, just to reciprocate. They are very impressed with our volunteer involvement, ”she said. "We are part of their family".
This closeness between the Côté family and the Boston organization is also reassuring for parents, who sometimes send their children to a tournament in another country for the first time.
"There are children who have rarely slept elsewhere than at home, and there they find themselves in another country with a French-speaking family, it is a completely different environment."
Questions about Bergeron
Who says Bruins, says Patrice Bergeron. When young people arrive in Quebec, they inevitably have a lot of questions about the native player from L’Ancienne-Lorette.
“They often ask me if I know him personally. They have a little vision that Quebec is a small village where everyone knows each other. "
"I brought them to Le Sagamité restaurant, and I told them that this is where Patrice Bergeron celebrated his wedding reception, and there they are all impressed."
The joys of Quebec
Each year, Caroline is impressed to see how much young people appreciate winter activities in Quebec.
"The manager explained to me that in Boston, there is not a lot of snow. So to see so many is often a first for them. They go to the Valcartier Holiday Village, they go dog sledding. Activities they wouldn't do at home. "
She regularly invites pee-wee families to visit Quebec during the summer to see another side of the city.
In addition to hosting, Caroline Côté has also been captain of the Junior Bruins for five years.
RIMOUSKI OCEANIC YOUTH INSPIRED BY LAFRENIÈRE
Few teams from the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) are represented at the Quebec Pee-Wee Tournament. Among them is the Rimouski Océanic, whose representatives are very proud to wear the same uniform as their idol Alexis Lafrenière.
The captain of the Océanic is more than dominant this season, and his performances suggest that he will be the very first choice in the next draft of the National Hockey League (NHL) in Montreal.
For young people in the Bas-Saint-Laurent region, Lafrenière, who participated in the tournament in 2014, is the example to follow. "For me he is a great source of inspiration. He's good, he has hands and a whole throw, as well as being fast, "said Pierre Lambert.
In addition to the young Quebec sensation, young people can also draw inspiration from another former oceanic color holder: Sidney Crosby.
"I am proud to wear the Oceanic uniform because Sidney Crosby is also an idol," said Pierre. His teammate, Noa Lévesque, says he is “inspired” by the professional career of the captain of the Pittsburgh Penguins.
According to the young Eliot St-Pierre, Alexis Lafrenière could well follow in the footsteps of Crosby.
"I think Alexis could have a similar career at Crosby. He doesn't look like a player who sits on his talent. "
Being one of the six teams to represent a QMJHL squad is also a very motivating factor for these young hockey players.
"It's no longer the fun to represent QMJHL teams. In addition, we did a practice with them (Oceanic players) before the tournament. And during their next match, we were introduced to the crowd, ”says a Pierre Lambert visibly marked by this experience.
These three young players born in Bas-Saint-Laurent live a dream by participating in the Pee-Wee Tournament. Another of their dreams will one day be to wear the Oceanic uniform but at the junior level.
The L’Est-du-Québec Océanic folded 4-0 in their inaugural game against the Shawinigan Cataractes.