By Morris Prokop on November 17, 2021
Whitehorse native Simon Isabelle was recently named CCM player of the week and Player of the Month in the Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL)
Isabelle, 20, tallied three goals and three assists in three games to win the Weekly award. He led the league with 23 points (9 goals, 14 assists) in 13 games in October to capture Player of the Month honours.
The CCHL is considered a Junior A level and a feeder league for Major Junior A and the NCAA hockey programs.
The 5’10”, 161 pound Right Winger (as per eliteprospects.com) was born in Whitehorse, but after two years, his family moved to Quebec.
Two years ago, his parents decided to move back to the Yukon and live in Whitehorse.
He is currently taking a class at the University of Ottawa in the Civil Engineering program.
Isabelle explains how he ended up in Ottawa.
“Two years ago I was playing in Quebec … and my coach decided to quit, so – I really liked that coach and so I decided to quit the team too and join the – he referred me to the Ottawa Junior Sens so that’s why I’m here now.”
Isabelle is proud of the awards.
“It’s pretty nice to receive those awards. I’ve been putting in some work so it’s pretty nice to have some results; pretty proud of it.”
Isabelle says his team enables him to play at such a high level.
“For sure we have a pretty good team, so it’s easier for me to play with those guys, because I know they’re good for me too, but I work hard during the summer … so that might be why I’m doing good right now.”
During the summer, Isabelle is in the gym, and on the ice at least four times a week.
“I work hard on the ice and in the gym.”
Does he work on power skating?
“More like skill stuff and do pickup games … to keep the shape.”
Isabelle plays on the number one line in Ottawa. This is his second year in Ottawa, although, according to eliteprospects.com, Isabelle didn’t play any games last season.
“Last year we didn’t really play much because of COVID … we only played exhibition games against … the same team.”
Not surprisingly for a scoring leader, Isabelle has some notable strengths in his game.
“I’m pretty good with the puck. I have a good hockey IQ. I love to pass it. I’m good in face-offs too. I think I can skate pretty well, too.”
Isabelle is more of a passer than a shooter. He models his game after Matthew Barzal, a centre with the New York Islanders. He is an assistant captain with the Junior Sens.
“I always liked to be a leader on teams … I’m pretty proud of it this year,” related Isabelle.
As with all young players, Isabelle has room to improve.
“Defensively sometimes … that’s what I’m working on this year. I’d like to work on my shot too, a bit and be more dangerous.”
He has had some major influences in his life that contributed to his success.
“I’d say my dad,” relates the young phenom. “My dad pretty much coached me all my life and he’s the one that coached me when I was really young and he started me really young, so he helped me a lot.
“I’ve got a few coaches I can think of in high school …. but I’d say my dad for sure.”
Another coach Isabelle lists as a key contributor to his career is Louis-Philippe Blanchet, who coached Isabelle during his time with the Saint-Hyacinthe Lauréats of the QCHL (Ligue de Ligue de Hockey Collégiale du Québec).
Isabelle is listed as a Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) commit. He is planning on playing there next season, and is looking at a four-year stint there. Isabelle would continue to pursue a career in Civil Engineering at RIT.
What about if someone offers him a pro contract?
“I would consider it for sure, because I love hockey, but I don’t know, I guess we’ll see.”
As for how far he wants to take his career “I don’t know, honestly, I pretty much just go with the flow. I’ll see after my years at RIT. If I do good, I might go in Europe or something, but right now I don’t really know. I’m just excited to go next year and go to the United States and play hockey.”
Needless to say, Isabelle would like it if the NHL or Team Canada came calling.
“For sure, I would like that, but I need to work hard a lot to go there because I’m getting old now.”