In his second season with the Wichita Thunder, the play of defenseman Jeremy Beaudry is proving to be beauty on ice, helping to ignite an offense that has produced eight goals through the first two games of the 2017-18 ECHL season, helping the Thunder to a 2-0-0 record.
Introducing Jeremy Beaudry
When you grow up near Quebec City, it is easy to see how a young boy would find that the ice rink would become a second home. Not only is the climate ideal for the sport, but boys who are three and four-years-old are as likely to have a stick and puck in their closet as a kid in Texas is to have a football. It is a passion that goes well beyond a love for the sport.
While many will play, few will become true artists on the ice. Only a select group will become so skilled that they make the toughest sport on earth look as beautiful as a ballet, with grace and artistry that turns an end-to-end rush into a showcase of speed and finesse, while still being able to level a hit on an opposing forward with the same ferocity as that of a cheetah chasing down a fleeing gazelle.
It is that kind of artistry that led Wichita Thunder Head Coach Malcolm Cameron to sign Jeremy Beaudry to help man one of his defensive pairings, as well as play significant minutes on the power-play, aiding the team’s 2-0-0 start to the 2017-18 ECHL season.
A Family Passion Continued
It wasn’t long after he could walk that Jeremy Beaudry found himself on the ice. With an older brother who was already playing hockey, Jeremy wanted the rink to become his own sanctuary.
“I’m from a family with two brothers. I’m the second one. My older brother started playing hockey. My mom would say that I was born at an arena so I started playing hockey at three years old, that I was just passionate about it.”
While he participated in other sports, Jeremy found that hockey was where his true passion lay. He just loved the action and the success he was having.
“I felt that just being on the ice, skating, scoring goals, it was all that I wanted to do., I just loved the intense play.”
What made hockey enjoyable for him was that he was playing because that is what he wanted to do. His parents encouraged him to be involved, but made the decision to take to the ice 100 percent his.
“It was my choice. My parents always asked me which sports I wanted to do and pushed me to whatever was my choice. Every time I just wanted to go back on the ice and play hockey. Even when they asked me which sport between soccer and hockey, I would chose right away to play hockey. I just knew it was a good choice for me.”
The Quarterback on Ice
Most young boys relish the idea of being the next Sidney Crosby, Wayne Gretzky, or Connor McDavid. They see themselves putting up huge goal scoring numbers as a forward, maybe even having their name spoken in the same breath as the greats of the sport one day.
However, that was not the pathway for Jeremy Beaudry. He always saw himself as a defenseman, and knew that this was the ideal position for him to play
“I’m an offensive defenseman, so I like to score, but I like to defend, too. When I was young, my coach was like, ‘Go on offense,’ and I tried but I never liked it. I always said that I would like to go back to defense, I was a defenseman. In juniors we had a lot of injured players and I had to help the team, so I played a couple games as a forward, and I did fairly well actually, but after of two or three games I was telling my coach that I really wanted to go back, I really felt more comfortable on defense.”
It is not just about comfort that has led him to want to play defense. Jeremy is a natural leader on the ice, and playing defense has enabled him to guide the team, especially on the power-play.
“Sometimes people compare me to the quarterback so even on the power play I have to start the play from our D zone. You have to see the play, make the pass, make the plays, break out of the zone. In the offensive zone, you have the play really well at the blue line to bring some offense to get the puck toward the net.”
Beauty Is in the Name
If there is a name that truly fit a player’s style of play, it is Beaudry. This surname means beauty, fine presence, or upright in French, and has proven to be a fitting name for the Wichita Thunder defenseman.
Jeremy Beaudry had starred on the ice as a kid and, in 2010-11, he joined the Victoriaville Tigres in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). He appeared in one game that season, but rejoined the team the next year and helped the Tigres to reach the playoffs. In 35 games, he scored 5 goals and added 6 assists, finishing the season at +1.
In 2012, he moved to the Sherbrooke Phoenix and split time between the Phoenix and the Quebec Remparts. In 56 total games, the defenseman scored 18 goals and added 13 assists. He also posted an impressive +28 combined with the two teams, and helped the Remparts reach the playoffs, adding 2 goals and 4 assists in 11 games.
The 2013-14 season was spent with the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles. Jeremy appeared in 60 games, scoring a career-high 19 goals and adding 34 assists. He also posted an extremely impressive +44, helping his team reach the playoffs for the second season in a row.
The following season, the defenseman joined the Riveriere-du-Loup in the Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey for nine games, before finishing out the season with the Brampton Beast in the ECHL.It was also his first year attending the University of Québec Trois Rivieres, where he would eventually earn a business degree.
The University gave him the opportunity to star on the ice as well, appearing in 64 games in his three seasons, where he would score 19 goals and add 32 assists. He posted a +38 in his three seasons, including a +22 in 26 games in 2016-17.
Bringing the Lightening to the Thunder
After finishing out the 2016-17 season at the University of Québec, Jeremy Beaudry joined the Wichita Thunder for the last 14 games of the ECHL season. Beaudry joined the Thunder along with forward Ben Duffy. The 14 game audition gave Head Coach Malcolm Cameron time to evaluate both players and the Coach knew that Jeremy was a perfect fit to remain with the team.
“The reason I brought Duffy and Beaudry in was to get a head start on recruiting for next year,” Coach Cameron explained to Mike Hutmacher of the Wichita Eagle. “They’re both good players put in a tough spot in a rookie lineup. But for the most part, I see real good potential in those guys.”
What Coach Cameron really liked about Jeremy Beaudry is that he added a lot of speed and skill to the team, especially on the power-play. The Coach assembled a quick, aggressive lineup this season, and that has fit right into the wheelhouse of the Thunder defenseman.
“I’m pretty fast, I’m a fast skater. I have a good vision and I got a strong shot. Malcolm sets up plays to I can use it, so that’s how I score some of my goals, like on the power-play, the one timer.
The focus on speed had Jeremy excited entering the season. He knew that this was going to be a team that generated a lot of scoring opportunities, and has been excited to see what this group is able to do on the ice.
“Malcolm really did a lot of good work during the summer to get a team that’s a fast offensive team and I think that is going to be a great year for the Thunder. All the guys are excited. We have a great group off the ice and on the ice, and it will be exciting to get the lineup together and play.”
While enjoying his role on the team, Jeremy is also loving the opportunity that playing professionally offers.
“I like traveling. I’m from a little town in Québec and now here I am in Kansas. So, it’s really nice to be able to travel all over the world. I went to Europe and met some guys from everywhere in the world, and playing in front of like 10,000 fans, the emotion inside is so nice, you just want to go on the ice and give 100 percent and have fun.”
Thankful for the Opportunity
While Jeremy Beaudry has the opportunity to live out his dream, he recognizes that had it not been for the sacrifice of his parents, he would not be playing hockey today. They have become the inspiration for his success.
“My parents they have helped me all my life to be able to do this. I appreciate what they’ve done for me. Every time that I needed something they always got it for me. I come from a small town that’s like 45 minutes from Quebec City in Canada, so to play youth hockey I had to go at least 30 minutes to every practice during the week and for games during the weekend. So they did a lot of things for me. I give 100 percent for them because of all they have done for me. My parents have helped me, so I have to work hard for them.”
While his parents have been a big inspiration for the Thunder defenseman, he wants to reach the highest level of the game for himself as well. It is not easy to put in all the work to be a professional hockey player, but Jeremy is more than willing to work as hard as possible to do whatever it takes to play in the NHL one day.
“My goal is to play hockey, so every day you have to wake up and think like that if I want to be good on Friday, I got to do things all week long. You have to see your goal, you have to believe in your goal. You have to give yourself an objective at the end of the week and you just have to work hard to reach that goal.”
It seems that no goal is too high to attain for Jeremy Beaudry. The Wichita Thunder defenseman is two games into his second season with the team, and is at +1 so far. Thanks to his commitment to hard work, he may very well be taking to the ice for the Edmonton Oilers one day. Now, wouldn’t that be truly beautiful?
By Robert Pannier