Profile: X-Men goalie carries team to AUS victory and on to nationals
On March 8, 2017, StFX men’s hockey completed their AUS season in a comeback game against UNB with a score of 5-4, clinching the championship title for a second year in a row. The roster upset the top-ranked UNB Varsity Reds in front of a sold out rink with 2,500 people in attendance.
Protecting the net in an undefeated seven game stretch is goaltender Chase Marchand. The goaltender made 31 saves in the final game aiding the X-Men in securing the division banner for another year, a stat worth noting since the Varsity Red goalie only stopped 23 shots in his defeat. In his 19 regular season games Marchand maintained a 0.913 save percentage, advancing that to 0.925 in playoffs to lead the league.
Marchand is a freshman hailing from Halifax, Nova Scotia. Before arriving on the StFX campus the athlete played across multiple teams in the QMJHL including the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles, Victoriaville Tigres and ending his major career with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, as well as a brief stint with the Mississauga Steelheads in the OHL during the 2013-2014 season.
On his decision to migrate his hockey career to Antigonish, Marchand commented, “I chose to play at X over other schools because of the culture, the history that X has, but also because all of the great things of heard about X from players and former players.” It is clear that the reputation of the program was able to appeal to this Atlantic talent.
Since the majority of his teenage years were spent with hockey at the core and everything else evidently playing second fiddle, Marchand has noticed a marked transition to student life:
“It’s very different in the way that you have to manage your time more effectively. While playing in the Q I would do online courses and go on road trips for a week, where we would do hardly any schooling, and then catch up when I [got] back, while here at X you need to stay on top of your schooling every day. Because your time is more valuable.”
Despite a new set of teammates and altered perspective on the sport, the upcoming chance at a national title is nothing new for the Halifax native. After helping lead the Huskies to their first QMJHL title last year, Marchand faced the London Knights at the Memorial Cup championship game, falling short in overtime to a 3-2 score.
Although Marchand’s hockey career appears to be a continuous fairytale, the elite athlete faced his largest challenge off the ice. While finishing his midget career at 16 years old, Marchand received unexpected news of his older brother passing. In commenting on the influence of his brother, he commented:
“I think my brother had big influence on the way I play, in a way that the situation helped me understand how delicate your life can be, and to not take anything for granted. As well as cherish the moments you have today, and do everything you can to grasp the opportunities you are given.”
It is evident that Marchand embodies this rare perspective of the game and life from his calm aura on the ice and superior ability to thrive under crucial moments of pressure.
There’s no denying his incredible glove saves and lateral movement have gotten X to this point in their success, but what is worthy of equal attention is his humility and steadfast nature persisting throughout his entire journey in hockey.
Marchand will be between the pipes for the X-Men on Friday, March 20th at 7:00pm as the guys take on McGill University in the U Sports quarter final game.