#OnFire – Doucet

Unedited – as published in OnFire, Sept 2017


Guillaume Doucet made the unusual decision to move from the Elite League and Challenge Cup Champions, Cardiff Devils, to spend a season with one of the new teams to the league, Milton Keynes Lightning. He’s had a varied experience as a player, having played in the UK, France and Denmark since leaving McGill University.


Why did you want to come and play hockey in Europe? Doucet explained, “I knew I wanted to try the experience of living in a different country with different cultures, food and people, to meet new people and travel the world, and I thought that playing hockey would be the best way to do that. I knew I wanted to travel from a young age, so as soon as I graduated from playing college hockey in North America I tried to find a spot over here. I ended up in France and I loved it. My plan was to come to Europe for one or two years and I’m still here, six years later!


Which has been your favourite country to live and work in? “I think that hockey wise, job wise, the UK is a good fit for me,” said Doucet. “It’s more suited to my style of play, as it’s more North American, which is what I am good at. I was able to have two good seasons here with Cardiff, so now it’s easier for me to get a job, and I know people here, so that helps. Culture wise, France was nice. The food is good, the scenery is awesome and I love France. I met my girlfriend in Denmark, so Denmark was nice too. She was here with me last season in Cardiff and she’s here with me this year too.”


As you mentioned, you had two good seasons with the Devils, getting over 30 points each season, so why did you choose to move on from a trophy winning side? “It was not an easy decision. We had a great season last year, and I enjoyed my time in Cardiff,” he said. “I was at a point in my career where I wanted a little more responsibility, a little more action. The way that Pete approached me and what he was trying to build here in Milton Keynes was something that I felt that I could help and be a part of. It’s a good challenge to start from something new and turn it into something good, something successful. It was a hard decision that became easy as I thought about it. The location being so close to London means I can try something different, something new. I play hockey to try new things, so I thought it was a good fit.”


How is your experience of playing in the Elite league going to help the team? “I have already been using my off-ice experiences to help the players who are new to the country to sort things like paying their council tax and getting Wi-Fi! Hockey wise, I’m hoping that I can play like I usually play, and help them with the little things. I feel like I know most of the guys in the league, the rinks, and most of the refs. I’m hoping that I can prevent some stuff and help when the issues happen.”


Are you excited for the team and looking forward to the season? “Building something from scratch is exciting. It’s a completely different ball game to the team last year, I’m not sure people realise the Elite league is so different. That’s going to be something I’m looking forward to, and the challenges that we will have to face.”


Finally, some people have been keen to write off the chances of both of the new teams in the league before the players have even stepped onto the ice. How do you feel Lightning will do this season? “I think we have a chance to win the conference,” Doucet said. “In this league, on any night anybody can beat anybody. If you don’t show up, I don’t care who you are, you are going to lose a game. This is what the Elite League is now. On paper, Coventry and Manchester have a good team. It’s not going to be easy for us to win the conference, but if you don’t have high expectations you are not going to achieve anything. We have to expect to win the conference and we’ll see what happens. It depends on how well the team gels, there’s a lot of factors to think about.”


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