Using one's size to his advantage is something that hockey players master as they prepare for their professional careers. While bigger players use their large frames to physically impose their will on an opponent, smaller players rely on speed and agility to make the most of their stature.
Rafael Harvey-Pinard has settled into his 5-9 frame, and the 19-year-old forward has accepted all that comes with being a smaller player.
The Jonquiere, Quebec, native was invited to Golden Knights development camp after completing his second season with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL). His success with the Huskies hinged on his ability to out-skate opponents and keep improving on his offensive game.
In order to continue the overall growth that he wants to see in himself, Harvey-Pinard said that he hopes to reach new heights in an area he already excels in.
"Every player can improve his skating," Harvey-Pinard said. "That's what I'm trying to do every time I'm out on the ice."
Harvey-Pinard broke out last season as he scored 26 goals and piled up 50 assists for 76 points in 67 games in Rouyn-Noranda. He finished 15th in the QMJHL in scoring and helped the Huskies to the No. 7 seed in the league's playoffs, but a loss in game seven of a first-round matchup against Sherbrooke brought his career-year to a close.
Though the season ended sooner than Harvey-Pinard would've wanted, his ability to stay disciplined on and off the ice helped him have a stand-out year.
"It was all because of my hockey sense and the fact that I am always working," Harvey-Pinard said. "I am always giving my 100 percent."
Development camp is meant to be a learning experience for each player to see what it's like to be a professional hockey player.
"I learned a lot from the talks about nutrition and sleep recovery," he said.
Harvey-Pinard enjoyed learning about how to set himself up for success off the ice, but the individual instruction that he received on the ice will help him take another step forward in Rouyn-Noranda next season. With another summer of hard work in front of him, success as a smaller player at an elite level is in the cards for Harvey-Pinard.
"I have to improve my skating and my shot too," he said, "this camp helped both of those a lot."