Being a Goalie can be a lonely – for a player and parent – and it’s that much more challenging when you are 5 hours from home.
Clement Labillois, now 15, left home at age 12 to live his dream of playing hockey at the AAA level for the Albatros du Bas St-Laurent. Despite the distance, his father Justin travels to many games: “I try to follow him as much as I can. It’s not always easy to have your son away all week, but when there’s a hockey tournament, or some special game, I try to go there and share that with him.”
Last week, Justin drove 8 hours to see Clem play in the Belairdirect Cup at Isatis Sport St-Hyacinthe. Clem’s Albatros AAA team was clinging to a 1-goal lead late in the game when the other team emptied their net: “I saw the goalie go to the bench, I play the puck a lot, I got out of my net and when I saw that the wingers were on the boards I took the opportunity to shoot the puck towards the net.”
This was unchartered territory for Clem, who hadn’t scored a goal since he moved to goalie permanently at age 6. He’s never even attempted a shot during a game.
The tournament also shared a version of this story – click here to read.
Clem’s shot was a direct hit and gave his team a 2-goal lead: “My teammates were all over me because they knew it was going in. When I saw it went in the net, it was like “I’ve done something very big.” In the moment, I didn’t know that it was pretty amazing, I didn’t realize it, but after the game I was out of my mind.”
If there was anyone more excited than Clem, it was Dad: “I was actually the happiest man in the world not to miss that goal because it could have been very possible that I wouldn’t have been there. But in that case, I was. I saw it live and I couldn’t believe it.”
As Justin described, Clem’s job wasn’t done after scoring the goal: “One of the things I was impressed with was how he was able to refocus, because there was still a minute of play left and he had some pretty good shots to stop after the goal. He had to forget about it quick and get back to his goaltending job.”
After the win, Clem was offered the Crystal Puck, given to the Player of the Game. Since he had also been chosen in the previous contest, Clem offered it to one of his teammates who scored two goals in the game. His son’s goal was special, but to Justin, this gesture was “something that I am even more proud of as a father.”
Some choose to stay alone in the spotlight. Clem however, showing maturity beyond his years, elected to share the moment: “I just want to thank my teammates because without them scoring the first 3 goals the opportunity wouldn’t have come so I just want to thank them because they played great that game.”