Elaire LeClair Represents Future of Ottawa Gee-Gees Hockey Program

Mark Staffieri@@MarkStaff100Contributor IINovember 25, 2012

Photo taken by Richard A. Whittaker, Obtained from Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/whittakerrichard/6377889991/
Photo taken by Richard A. Whittaker, Obtained from Flickr http://www.flickr.com/photos/whittakerrichard/6377889991/

As the Ottawa Gee-Gees look to build a national championship contender, a key building block is forward Elarie LeClair. Currently, she plays on a line with Gee-Gees captain and Red Bull Crashed Ice World Champion Fannie Desforges. Although Desforges’ accomplishments at Red Bull Crashed Ice were worldwide news, LeClair keeps it in stride. “I have always seen her more as a teammate. I knew her before that (Red Bull Crashed Ice), so I never look at it that way. Although it is fun when people know her for that.”

Playing at the College Edouard-Montpetit in Quebec, LeClair earned gold and silver medals with the school at the provincial level. In addition, LeClair played for the Quebec Under-18 team and won two silver (2007-08) medals and one bronze (2009) medal at the national level.

In 2008, she had the opportunity to participate with the Canadian National Under-18 team. "It was an awesome experience. Especially after my first year with the Team Quebec Under-18s. I was not expecting it at all but it was just a good experience. It is the highest level. You find out how you need to compete, and learn about the importance of nutrition, sleep and training."

While LeClair has had a big hand in the Gee-Gees' resurgence, her nomination to the 2011-12 RSEQ (Resource des Sports Etudiants au Quebec conference) All-Rookie Team, LeClair approaches her honor with great humility. “It brings your confidence up. I feel that I just got credit for what I did, which is playing my game. Some people notice that I played good.”

During the 2011-12 Gee-Gees season, the highlight was scoring the game-winning goal against the McGill Martlets during a postseason tussle. Of note, the goaltender for McGill was Canadian national team member and all-time CIS shutouts leader, Charline Labonte. “To have scored on Labonte was awesome. My heart stopped beating,” joked LeClair. “After the win, everyone was like, do we celebrate or get back on track? The win was definitely awesome!”

One of the reasons that she joined the Ottawa Gee-Gees was attributed to her familiarity with head coach (and former Quebec resident) Yanick Evola. “Yanick used to coach me in high school. I started playing for him when I was about 12 or 13 years old.” Her experience playing for Evola reassured her that competing for the Gee-Gees was the right move. “I knew what kind of coach he was. His background was that he would start teams from nowhere, and bring them to the top.”

Despite starting the season ranked 10th in the CIS National Rankings, the Gee-Gees start has not reflected their ranking. “Although we are 2-6 right now, we are closer as a team. Right now, we are still getting to know each other.”

All quotes obtained first hand unless otherwise indicated.