Jonathan Bernier is entering his first season with the Colorado Avalanche after signing with the club on July 1 as a free agent.
The goaltender is coming off a solid campaign with the Anaheim Ducks, where he posted a 21-7-4 record, 2.50 goals-against average and .915 save percentage. He compiled a 12-1-2 mark over his final 15 games, leading all netminders in wins from March 1 until the end of the season. Bernier also went unbeaten in his last 13 starts (11-0-2).
A 2006 first-round draft pick (11th overall) by the Los Angeles Kings, Bernier began his career in the Kings minor-league system before making the jump to the NHL as a full-time backup behind Jonathan Quick from 2010 to 2012. He was on the Los Angeles squad that won the franchise's first-ever Stanley Cup in 2011-12.
Between his stints in Southern California, the Laval, Quebec, native also played three seasons and 151 contests with the Toronto Maple Leafs (2013-2016).
Bernier talked with ColoradoAvalanche.com during training camp about signing with the Avs and his experiences in the NHL.
What about the Avalanche made you want to sign here?
"I believe they have a lot of talent. Obviously, it's a young team, but I kind of experienced it in Toronto and unfortunately I couldn't stay there long enough. But it is kind of unique to go through a rebuild and stay with the guys and go through ups and downs. It makes the team a lot tighter that way, and it's a fun journey."
How have your experiences helped you become the player you are today?
"I definitely think I'm a better player than when I started at 19 or even 21 in L.A. I think with the age, you're reading the game a lot better. Obviously, you need to put twice as much work into it to get as fast and powerful, but at the same time I think the game is a lot easier to read."
How did you get into hockey?
"My brother played. He's four years older than me, so I think it was an easy path to take. I started as a D-man and then became a goalie when I was 6 or 7 years old."
Was your brother a goalie?
"No, he was a forward and I think that is the reason why I'm a goalie. He used to shoot the puck at me all the time. Finally, I decided to become a goalie."
What did you learn from winning the Stanley Cup with the Los Angeles Kings in 2012?
"It definitely takes everybody in the room, from coaching staff to players, and it takes a lot of timing as well. I think everything needs to fall perfectly, no injuries, timely goals, timely saves. There is definitely a lot of luck, but if everyone works in the same direction, that is how you win."
What did you do with your day with the Stanley Cup?
"I went to the rink where I grew up playing hockey. I had it there for a few hours and then went to city hall. Then we had a big dinner at a restaurant where I grew up and partied a little bit with it after."
What is your offseason training like?
"I usually take a week off from the gym. I'll stay in the city for a couple weeks or a week and then as soon as I get back home I start working out. I usually take a month and a half off from the ice, get my body healthy. Usually you have a few injuries, so it's nice to stay off the ice and take care of those. It's pretty simple. It's a year-round sport now and you have to train 12 months out of the year, and that's what I do. I work out in the morning and then get on the ice in the afternoon."
What has been your favorite vacation spot?
"There is a lot, but Hawaii was probably one of my favorite. Turks and Caicos, the French island, I was there a few years back. It was pretty awesome. It's unfortunate with what happened with Hurricane Irma, but it was a beautiful spot."
Do you have any hobbies outside of hockey?
"I play a little bit of guitar. I surf a lot in the summer. I'm a dad, so that takes a lot of my time."
Where do you spend your summer?
"Up north in Montreal."
What kind of surfing do you do?
"I surf behind a boat. That is the thing we do back home since obviously we don't have the ocean, which I had for a few years in my career."
If you weren't playing hockey, what would you being doing for a living?
"I think I would be a businessman. My dad was in construction, and I think I would be in that kind of business but more on the business side than working with my hands."