Justin Robidas: Growing up in NHL arenas
Justin Robidas did not have a youth like the others. From his birth until the age of 11, rubbing shoulders with NHL players on a daily basis was routine. Now 19 years old and wanting to make his own way in professional hockey, the Remparts forward realizes how lucky he was growing up.
The son of former defenseman Stéphane Robidas was born in Plano, Texas, in March 2003, the end of his father's first season with the Dallas Stars.
He then grew up in southern state until his dad was traded to the Anaheim Ducks in the 2013-14 season.
“After every Stars win, we were allowed to go into the bedroom , remembered the hope of the Carolina Hurricanes, Thursday. On PD days, I always went to the arena with my dad and the equipment attendants took care of me during practice. »
Now in the shoes of an NHL prospect who dreams of a career there, he concedes that his youth was nothing ordinary.
“I was lucky enough to be around guys like Mike Modano and when I was younger I didn't really realize it. It was normal for me. Growing up, I saw how excited young people are when they come to watch junior hockey. For me, going to see juniors wasn't wow… Even an NHL game was back to normal. I now realize that I was extremely lucky to be a part of this. »
TRAPPED BY RIBEIRO
Robidas then smiles when asked if he has a particular memory or if there is a player who marked him with the Stars, during his ten years in Texas.
“One day, Mike Ribeiro came to see me and asked me to get something from his locker in the locker room. On my way there, I stepped on the logo in the center of the chamber. Mike had done it on purpose to annoy my father, who had to pay a fine, he recalls laughing. My dad ran off to try and catch me before I stepped on the logo, but it didn't work. I saw all the guys in the room laughing and I remember I started crying. »
IMPRESSED IN HIS TURN
Growing up in an NHL environment, however, didn't completely desensitize the Carolina Hurricanes' fifth-round pick in the 2021 draft.
During his first pro camp, he admits he was impressed.
“Sometimes, when I was young, I embarked with them [the Stars players], but I was 11 years old and the goalkeepers gave me chances! There, you arrive on an ice with guys from the NHL and you want to prove yourself and show that you have your place. That feeling, of “wow”, it was really present. To have the chance to be on the ice with them, you see how strong it is, and how high the level of play is. »
IN CONTACT WITH HIS FATHER
Stéphane Robidas ended his career at the end of the 2014-2015 season which he spent with the Toronto Maple Leafs. If he was not with him for this last season – his mother, his sister and he had returned to Quebec – Justin still saw him having to retire earlier than he had planned, due to injuries. Now an assistant coach at Martin St-Louis with the Canadiens, his new role allows him to make peace with the end of his playing career, says Justin.
“He had to stop at because of an injury, so he never got to say goodbye to the game. I think he missed the lifestyle and the team feeling. He really likes it and he loves to pass on his passion. »
Robidas and the Remparts will be in Chicoutimi to face the Saguenéens on Friday night. Charles Savoie, Vsevolod Komarov and William Rousseau will return to play.