OJS Player Profile: Xavier Guillemette

by Warren Rappleyea

Since rejoining the Ottawa Junior Senators talented two-way forward Xavier Guillemette has become a key on-ice presence as the team battles to make the Central Canada Hockey League (CCHL) playoffs.

The 5-11, 175-pounder was a member of OJS’s Bogart Cup champion squads, so he not only adds experience to a relatively young roster, but he knows what it takes to win. In 18 matches this season, the 19-year-old has posted three goals, one of which was the game-winner against Carleton Place on Feb. 9, to go along with a trio of assists.

“I learned a lot and grew as a player on those teams,” Guillemette said. “My role now is very different. I previously was a guy who played 7 minutes or so a night whose job was to go out be smart and bang bodies to playing 18 minutes or more some nights. It’s great to have the opportunity and the coaches have trusted me by putting me in just about every kind of situation.”

Ottawa associate coach Stu Battrick said his confidence was well-earned.

“Xavier’s just an excellent individual on and off the ice,” the coach added. “He’s a real a quality kid and a great teammate. He’s got so much upside as a player. Xavier is extremely reliable on the defensive side of the puck. He’s also getting much, much better on the offensive side, which is why he’s playing power play. He’s still a very young guy. So there’s still a lot for him to accomplish with more than two years left in his junior career.

At the beginning of the season, Guillemette joined the Gatineau Olympiques of the QMJHL. He played in 17 games, contributing three assists for the Quebec-based squad before rejoining the Junior Sens in December.

Battrick said while he was glad to have Guillemette back in the nation’s capital, the move to Gatineau showed the youngster’s character.

“A lot of players are afraid to try something new,” Battrick said. “Xavier didn’t hesitate to take the opportunity to play in Gatineau. They’re in a rebuilding and it didn’t work out for Xavier. Still, he came back here and he never batted an eye. He showed up here with a positive attitude and he had an immediate impact, literally picking up where he left off last year.”

With the season winding down and a playoff berth on the line, the 18-year-old is confident OJS will make it to the post-season.

“We’re taking things day-by-day and we keep getting better as a team,” he said. “It’s a different situation for me from the last two years, but I don’t see it as being stressful or anything like that. It’s fun to have important games.”

With six regular-season matches remaining, Guillemette expects that his team will finish strong and he promises to do all he can to make that happen.

“As a leader on the team I kind of embrace being in the underdog role,” he said. “So do the rest of the guys. We all know how good this team can be.”