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It's been one crazy year for Harvey-Pinard

The Canadiens prospect still can't believe all the things he was able to do in 2018-19

by Pierre-Antoine Mercier, translated by Dan Braverman @CanadiensMTL / canadiens.com

MONTREAL - After experiencing the bitter feeling of not getting drafted last year, Rafael Harvey-Pinard doubled down on his effort and the least one can say is that those efforts paid off.

The young Jonquiere native was well set-up in front of his TV on Saturday, June 22 for the 2019 NHL Draft. And the wait finally paid off for Harvey-Pinard and his family.

"When we heard my name, we all jumped up with cries of joy. We were so happy and there were a lot of emotions for the whole family," explained Harvey-Pinard. "I still have trouble expressing all I've been feeling. It's been a perfect year for me."

Tweet from @RafaelPinard: C'est un honneur et une fiert�� d'avoir ��t�� s��lectionn�� par les @canadiensmtl ! Merci �� tous ceux qui m'ont aid�� �� atteindre mon r��ve de petit gar��on!It's an honor to be drafted by the @canadiensmtl. Thanks to everyone who has helped me to reach my childood dream! pic.twitter.com/cVTtU0nOki

Of interesting note is that the Canadiens actually traded their seventh-round pick in 2020 to the Philadelphia Flyers for the 201st pick in 2019 to ensure they could select the 20-year-old centerman.

It's a dream outcome for Harvey-Pinard after going through the adversity of not being drafted in his first year of eligibility, which stung even more because he was on-site for that 2018 Draft in Dallas.

"I would say that last year, I was more at the Draft for the experience. I didn't have a lot of expectations. I wasn't ranked and I hadn't met a lot of teams. It was the same thing this year," mentioned the Habs prospect. "It's still expensive to go there, so we decided to watch from home this year. In the end, we maybe should've gone," he added with a laugh.

Despite last year's setback, Harvey-Pinard rolled up his sleeves and got to work, and earned himself a development camp invitation with the Vegas Golden Knights.

Video: Rafaël Harvey-Pinard on the Draft

A perfect season

If the 5-foot-9, 161-pound forward finally realized his dream in getting drafted by Montreal, it's surely a result of the incredible season he had with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL).

Harvey-Pinard and the Huskies won everything this year, first by finishing first in the Canadian Hockey League (CHL) with a 59-8-0-1 record and 119 points. In 66 regular season games, the Rouyn-Noranda captain amassed 40 goals for 85 points.

The centerman's success carried over into the postseason, where he scored 13 goals for 27 points in 20 contests to lead the Huskies to a President Cup win. Harvey-Pinard finished the job by helping Rouyn-Noranda win its first Memorial Cup in team history. He finished the annual tournament with one goal and six points in five games.

It goes without saying that 2018-19 was a memorable campaign for all Huskies players.

"It was a perfect season. We couldn't ask for better - as much in the regular season as in the playoffs. It was really an incredible season," expressed Harvey-Pinard. "We also had an excellent group of players. We had good chemistry. It was really fun."

Il y a 4 ans , je me suis fait repêcher par les Huskies de Rouyn-Noranda. Pas facile de dire aurevoir à sa famille et partir à 10 heures de route de chez soi ! À ce moment-là , je n'avais aucune idée de tout ce qui m'attendait. Avoir le privilège de gagner à la fois la Coupe du Président et la Coupe Memorial , ça n'arrive pas souvent. Et bien , je l'ai vécu cette année et laissez moi vous dire que c'est , et de loin , les plus beaux moments de ma vie! Je suis arrivé à Rouyn en ne connaissant pas beaucoup la ville, mais maintenant je peux facilement dire que c'est rendu une deuxième maison pour moi. J'ai eu la chance d'avoir une famille de pension incroyable qui m'a acceuilli comme si j'étais un membre de la famille. Merci pour tout Guylaine et JF ❤ J'aimerais également remercier l'organisation des Huskies de Rouyn-Noranda au grand complet ; les propriétaires qui en font tellement pour le club et pour les joueurs , tous les coachs que j'ai eu la chance de cotoyer pendant mes 3 années avec l'équipe et tous les membres du personnel avec qui j'ai développés des liens spéciaux. Vous resterez toujours l'organisation de très grande classe qui m'aura permi de débuter mon rêve de petit garcon de jouer dans la LHJMQ. Aussi , un énorme merci à tous les fans de l'équipe qui sont tout simplement exceptionnels, continuez de supporter l'équipe comme vous savez si bien le faire ca fait une énorme différence pour les joueurs! Finalement , je voudrais remercier mes coéquipiers qui sont devenus petit à petit des vrais frères pour moi. Nous avions un groupe de joueurs que je décrirais par : PARFAIT ! Vous resterez toujours important pour moi ca c'est certain. C'est avec le coeur très gros que je quitte Rouyn , mais je peux dire que je pars la tête haute et en gagnant! Merci pour tout Rouyn-Noranda. ❤🏆🏆 Maintenant je suis très fier et honoré de pouvoir terminer ma carrière junior avec l'équipe que j'ai suivi toute mon enfance , les Saguenéens de Chicoutimi! Très excité que ca commence au mois de Août 🤩

A post shared by Rafaël Harvey-Pinard (@rafpinard) on

A tidal wave of encouragement

As can be expected, after his name was called by Montreal, Harvey-Pinard's cell exploded with messages from his friends, fans, and from one future teammate in particular. Actually, they were already teammates, but they could find themselves donning the same team colors once again at the next stage of their careers.

That teammate is Memorial Cup MVP Joel Teasdale.

"He was one of the first ones to text me. He welcomed me to the team and said he was very happy for me," recounted Harvey-Pinard. "Lots of people texted me. I would say even that a lot of Canadiens fans wrote me. It was fun and a great moment."

Harvey-Pinard's next challenge will be with the Chicoutimi Saguenéens, where he's already been named captain of his new team.

Photo credit: Jean Lapointe

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