by Tim Morris
David Bérubé knew where he wanted to spend his last year in junior hockey; in the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL).
The league has a well-earned reputation as a developmental league for college-bound players. And, in the CCHL, the Ottawa Junior Senators have a well-deserved reputation as one of the league’s premier teams.
“It (Ottawa) has a winning tradition,” said Bérubé. “I heard so many good things about the organization, and when I got here, I could see why right away. Now, I want to help the team win again.”
The Junior Senators have won both the Bogart and Fred Page Cups the last two years as well as winning the CCHL’s Yzerman Division regular season championship seven years running.
While Bérubé was looking to join the Junior Senators, it turns out Head Coach and GM Martin Dagenais had an eye on him.
Bérubé, a native of Price, Québec, was playing in the Québec Collegiate Hockey League for Sainte-Foy Dynamiques when Dagenais was scouting him. The speedy forward/center led the Quebec lead in scoring with 52 points in 36 games on 17 goals and 35 assists.
In February of this year, both Bérubé and the Junior Senators got what they wanted and he signed with the CCHL club for the 2019-20 season.
As a native of Québec, there were two transitions for the 20-year old. One, was getting accustomed to a higher-level of play on the ice and the other was living in an English-speaking Province. Bérubé was surprised, however, to see that most people he met in the city of Ottawa were able to speak both French and English, so that helped him a lot.
To get ready for his new club, the 5-8, 165-pound Bérubé went to the gym every day. Bérubé pointed out that in the CCHL “the guys are bigger, I have to be a step ahead and use my speed.” Fortunately, his skating skills have always been his strengths along with his hockey IQ.
In addition, veteran Junior Senator players have helped their newcomer feel right at home.
The one language the Junior Senator players have in common is hockey and Bérubé’s play on the ice has spoken loud and clear. Dagenais said of Bérubé that “he’s probably our best puck distributor right now” and added that ‘he’s a good kid with a great attitude, therefore, he’ll just keep getting better.”
Bérubé takes pride in making things happen, of thinking pass first. “I’m more of a playmaker,” he explained. “I will take a shot when it’s there. Sometimes I have to tell myself to shoot more.”
Being a step ahead is the key to Bérubé’s playmaking. He’s able to keep the puck on his stick that split second longer which allows the play to develop in front of him. He anticipates where his teammate is going and leads him with a crisp pass. As he becomes more familiar with his teammates, the assists figure to pile up.
Bérubé played for good teams during his prep school years but not one quite like the Junior Senators. He marvels at Ottawa’s depth of talent. Something, he noted, he’s never experienced before.
In the Junior Senators’ first 19 games, Berube, who has been playing center, has 15 points on five goals and ten assists.