For The Community Press
HEARST – It’s every young hockey player’s dream to grow up and play your favorite game with a bunch of your buddies. Along the way, you hopefully earn a few accolades, get better through hard work, move up to a highly competitive team and win some championships. Who would’ve thought that that reality would hit two former Kapuskasing Flyers during their rookie season with the NOJHL’s Hearst Lumberjacks?
Sebastien Doucet and Jacob Comeau were members of the 2017/2018 Kapuskasing Flyers that battled hard in the Great North Midget League. After seeing their midget career come to an end in March almost two years ago, they both had plans to push on through life with a hockey stick in their hands.
Returning to their hometown of Hearst, both young men were able to earn a spot on the Hearst Lumberjacks’ roster. Upon the arrival of the regular season, Comeau was sidelined indefinitely with a potential career-ending injury. His long-time teammate treaded onwards with his new team as he watched from the sidelines.
Days became weeks and then became months, all passing by quicker and quicker as the Jacks were picking up steam heading into the playoffs. Meanwhile, Jacob kept himself busy assistant-coaching the Kap-Hearst Regional Express Bantam BB squad alongside his father Alain and his younger brother Mathieu, who was a player at the time.
Fast forward to a month ago, the Hearst Lumberjacks are NOJHL Champions after only two years in the league and both Doucet and Comeau were there to live it all. The later made a quiet comeback in early February, playing a total 19 games with the Jacks alongside his good friend.
Doucet happily explained that “I didn’t think at the start of the year that we would’ve won the big game. Me and Jacob are really close and it was fun to win the championship with him.”
Having watched the team as an outsider all season, Comeau had high hopes for his comeback with the Jacks.
“I saw that everyone was close and the guys really got along. So, I can say with certainty I’m delighted to join that type of team,” he says. “It was a really good experience and I enjoyed the time I was given during the playoffs. The ambience in Hearst is really fun to have.”
Jacob successfully donned the orange and black jersey to achieve the impossible, fighting through many hardships to play the sport he loves.
“When I started playing, the team was doing well but never did I think we could win a championship during my rookie year. I really hope this situation repeats itself in the coming years.”
Despite going on to the Dudley Hewitt Cup in Cochrane and losing to the Oakville Blades 2-0 in the finals, Doucet understands why playing in Hearst was the perfect choice.
“It’s definitely a plus to play for a hometown team. The community and the fans are all behind us. It’s definitely a good choice to have joined them. […] I believe that in the entire NOJHL, Hearst is the best place to play because of the fans that show up at the rink.”
Both players hope to return the Hearst Lumberjacks next season.