Cloutier: Introducing Cloutier’s Corner
The Goalie Guild is excited to introduce you to our newest goalie blog. “Cloutier’s Corner” is the personal blog of Canadian goalie Logan Cloutier, who is fighting to earn an NCAA D-I scholarship. Logan currently plays for the Kahnawake Condors in Quebec, and has battled through a season-ending knee injury and a concussion. You can follow him on Twitter at @lcloutier30 and follow his blog as he tries to earn that magical college scholarship!
Growing up in Kamloops, British Columbia, I was first introduced to hockey by my best friend Morgan Zulinick, who lived across the street from me.
While we were growing up, we would go outside and play road hockey for hours upon hours, non-stop until our parents forced us to come inside. Though I loved scoring goals, my favourite thing was playing goalie. Every day, Morgan and his older brother Jesstin would come outside and we would win Stanley Cup after Stanley Cup, playing as our favourite teams and players. Morgan and his brother quickly got me hooked on the game and soon I had convinced my parents to let me start hockey.
I started at age 10, and played my first year as a forward with limited success. I begged my parents to let me try goalie the following year, and next fall at tryouts I made the rep team. From that moment on, I was hooked and wanted to be the very best goalie that I could possibly be.
As the next couple years progressed, it became clear that this was my sport, and I had to do everything in my power to continue playing as long as possible at the highest level I could. I give lots of credit to all the goalie coaches I worked with at such a young age, as I was extremely lucky to have them spend time with me.
But the most influential person for me over my career has been Morgan’s older brother Jesstin. He passed away from cancer at a young age, which hit me hard. He had been one of the very first people to get me going, and without his motivation, I probably wouldn’t be where I am today. He had a very promising career ahead of him as a goaltender, and though his brother Morgan now plays Division 1 at the University of Wisconsin, I feel like it is my duty to play for Jesstin.
Over my minor hockey career, I encountered a lot of bumps a long the way, so I guess it would be safe to say that I was a very unlucky goalie. After my Bantam AAA year, I went unselected in the WHL Draft, but was invited to both the Kamloops Blazers and Vancouver Giants rookie camps.
I opted for the Giants camp and though nothing came of that opportunity, I continued working with the goalie coach of the Giants for a couple years afterward. My second year of Midget hockey, I left Kamloops in order to play at the Okanagan Hockey Academy on the Midget Prep / Major Midget team.
Playing with skaters like Matt Needham and Curtis Lazar, I was a little bit out of my element for most of the season. It was only toward the end of the season that I started playing well and felt that I could play at that level. Though I may not have played a lot of games that year, I had the best coaching of my life. Robert Dirk, our head coach, really taught me a lot, and working with Tyler Love, the goalie coach for the Portland Winterhawks, helped me tremendously.
Following my season at OHA, I signed with the Wenatchee Wild U-18 team of the NAPHL. I got off to a good start, but only a month or so into the season, I suffered a season-ending knee injury. This was a devastating event for me as there was a chance I wouldn’t be able to play again.
I didn’t know what I was going to do until I got a call from the Kahnawake Condors of the Quebec Junior AAA Hockey League. They said they had a spot open for the following season, they had seen me play and wanted to know if I would like the spot. Of course I accepted, and after a long winter of rehab and a tough off-season getting back in shape and game-ready, I came to Montreal.
When I first got to Montreal, I had no idea if I would be able to play in this league. But after camp and our first few exhibition games, I had no doubt in my mind that I could play here. It seemed as though missing a year had actually improved my game. I felt rejuvenated and mentally fresh. My first regular season game came on the road, and after 41 shots by the other team, our team pulled off a 2-1 victory.
As the season went on, I continued to play well and started getting more playing time. But in my fifth game of the year, I was run over by an opposing player and suffered a concussion. Five weeks later, I got my first start against one of the top teams in the league. Though we lost 5-2, I played a great game and felt very good for my first game back. The following weekend, I got the start against the best team in the league. With a record of 19-2 at the time, it was a very intimidating game to play and we ended up losing 5-4. My next start was a 5-4 shootout loss against the third place team in the league.
Although my record isn’t great, I am getting valuable playing time against some of the top teams in the league. With a current team record of 11-15-4, it’s clear that we are not the strongest team in the league. Though I would prefer to be winning, I understand that playing against the top teams and averaging more than 40 shots a game will only benefit me in the end.
My goal is to achieve an NCAA Division 1 scholarship, and though I have had interest from some QMJHL teams in my time here, I have declined any offers to pursue my dream of playing Division-I. I’m really looking forward to this opportunity to bring The Goalie Guild readers some of my experiences, and keeping you updated on my season!
“Cloutier’s Corner” is the personal blog of Canadian goalie Logan Cloutier, who is fighting to earn an NCAA D-I scholarship. Logan currently plays for the Kahnawake Condors in Quebec, and has battled through a season-ending knee injury and a concussion. You can follow him on Twitter at @lcloutier30 and follow his blog as he tries to earn that magical college scholarship!