Getting a call-up to the NHL is the moment most professional players dream of. It marks their first time to show the world their skills and gives them an opportunity to show they belong.
What often isn’t seen are the opportunities that call-ups can lead to for players still stuck in the minors. Entering last season, JF Berube was in a battle for the backup job to Martin Jones in Manchester. After beating out Mathias Niederberger, Berube would be thrust into the starter role when Jones was called up to the big club.
From there, the former QMJHL goalie started 48 games and helped lead his team to first place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference before bowing out to John Gibson and the Norfolk Admirals. Berube spoke exclusively to MayorsManor about last season and his new two year contract…
On being a part of the black aces this past season:
“It was like being at school almost. You learn so much from the pros and just being around them. I was there and I was trying to soak it all in and take in as much information as I could. Just being on the ice and facing some pretty good players during practice was a good learning experience for me. I’m looking forward to the upcoming season to use the stuff I learned from that camp to my advantage.”
On signing his new contract:
“To be honest, I didn’t really think or talk about it with a lot of people. I was just trusting my agent to do a good job and try to get the best contract for me. All I was doing was working hard. I trust my agent and the people that are in charge of the contract aspect of the game. I was pretty much just waiting at home for a call and making sure things are getting done.”
On his relationship with Patrik Bartosak:
“Yeah, I know Patrik pretty [well] now. He’s a hard worker, so its always fun to be working out with someone that wants to improve and work on his game. He’s a good friend of mine and we get along pretty [well]. It’s a big thing. There’s always harder times in the season and I think we’re going to be there for each other. I’m very excited for the upcoming season.”
On who he thinks should be the next Monarchs captain:
“I think there’s a lot of candidates for that position. Obviously, I think O’Nei (Brian O’Neill) is probably the best candidate for the team. He’s someone who guys listen to, he’s a harder worker, and no matter how banged up he is, he always brings his A game. I wouldn’t be surprised if he was the captain this season. There’s a lot of good leaders, and its fun to be a team like that – you don’t only rely on your captain. If I would put money [on it], I would put money on O’Nei for sure.”
On Monarchs new head coach Mike Stothers:
“I haven’t met him or heard a lot of things about him, but I’m sure he’s a good coach. It’s always exciting to have some new faces on the team. Obviously, it’s sad to see Mark [Morris] go, but on the other hand, I think it’s going to be a new challenge for him and for us. I’m excited to work with a new guy.”
On if he keeps up with former Montreal Juniors teammate Jake Allen, who will be making the jump to the NHL this year with the Blues:
“Not really. I kind of lost track with Jake. Once In a while, we message each other. During the All-Star game last year, we spoke a little bit. We kind of lost track. I still look at his stats and how things are going for him. Obviously, it’s a huge accomplishment for him to make the jump this year. I’m sure he’s going to do a (good) job. He was pretty much a role model for me in juniors. He’s still improving, so it’s fun to see him take another step in his game.”
On his expectations for next season:
“For sure, I just want to be consistent. I think that’s the biggest thing for a goalie – to go every night and bring your A game and help your team win. That’s my main focus. I don’t have any stats targets. I just try to get as many wins as possible and give my team a chance to win every night. If I do that, my stats will follow. I don’t really look at my stats. I like to see if I helped the team or not.”
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What a beauty! Rouby on duty!!!