#OnFire – Hache

New D man Justin Hache stands at 6’2” in his socks. The 24 year old Canadian joins us from a successful season playing for SønderjyskE in the Metal Ligaen in Denmark, where he scored five goals and registered 28 assists over the regular season and play-off games.

 

Justin played six seasons of junior hockey in Canada before moving into the AHL, where he played a season each for Portland Pirates and Springfield Falcons. In 2016 he moved to Tucson Roadrunners and his career took a slightly different path. He explained, “I was on an entry level contract with Phoenix Coyotes in Arizona. For the first two years I was steady in the American League, there’s a lot of stability and that was awesome. In my third year they sent me down to Rapid City Rush in the East Coast after a little while, so I asked for a trade. I ended up going to Dallas Stars, so I played in the American League again for Texas Stars and then they sent me to Idaho Steelheads in the East Coast for play-offs. it was a difficult year, moving around a lot. I knew that the next year my contract was probably going to be something where I didn’t get that stability again and it was not something I was interested in. When you get down to the East Coast, it’s very hard as your contract is on a two week basis so it’s hard mentally and I was ready to move on and try something different.”

 

I wondered why he chose to play in Europe “I felt like Europe was a more attractive place to play and I could get more stability,” he explained. “I had my fiancé with me, and the year before in North America I played on four different teams and I was sick of moving around.” Of living and working in Denmark he said, “There was a little bit of a culture shock. most people can speak English so the language is not an issue. everyone was really nice to me and the organisation was awesome and everything went smoothly.” I wondered in that case why he didn’t stay in Denmark, what was behind the decision to move on again? “I was just looking to see what the best opportunity would be for me and I felt that this team would be a great fit for me and so far it feels like that was the right decision. I like it a lot here in Coventry. The first few days with no car or wifi were tough, but now that I’ve been here for a while I’m finding my way around. I like the city, there’s a lot to do and I feel like there’s a lot to see so I think it’s going to be a great year.”

 

When he signed to play for the Blaze, Head Coach Danny Stewart said, “Justin gives us top pairing defenceman. He’s good in all areas, on and off the puck. He will play crucial minutes for us and in all situations. He is a big body who adds grit and size to our back-end. He has played at very high levels and comes to us still at a young age with room to develop further. I’m excited about him and how he completes and compliments our defence.”

 

Justin comes from the New Brunswick area of Canada, where few professional hockey players come from, so it is unsurprising that his hockey hero growing up was from the same part of the world as him. “When I was younger there was a guy from where I’m from. He was called Luc Bourdon, and he passed away in a motorcycle accident. He was a very good prospect for the Vancouver Canucks and he’s a guy I always looked up to when I was younger. I was sad when he passed away. He was a D man as well. He wasn’t that much older than me, but I liked his game. We were from the same area – there’s not that many players move on to pro hockey from my part of Canada so it’s kind of a big deal.”

 

I asked how he ended up playing as a D man. Was it a conscious decision or did he really have aspirations to be a sharp shooter when he was younger? “I don’t know. I feel like I’ve been a d man forever. I was bigger than everyone when I was younger, so it became a normal position for me and I’ve just kept doing it. Now, I’m a solid, stay at home defensemen who is consistent in my zone and also has the ability/flexibility to contribute in all situations. I’m a calm & poised player but also have that passion & grit needed to bring home a win!”

 

Most of our North American players like to take the opportunity to travel while they are here, and it seems that Justin is no different. “I’d love to go to London, and lots of different places in England. I’d like to see Scotland as well. Last year when I was in Denmark I went to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, but now I get to see a different part of the world, which is nice.”

 

As we know, all hockey players find a job to keep them busy over the summer months, but Justin has one of the most unusual that I have come across. “In the summer I fish lobster back home. It’s a little bit different. It’s physical work and there’s a two month fishing season which is during the off season for hockey and it works perfectly. When I played junior hockey I started at university, but put it aside when I started to play professional hockey. In the future it’s something I’d like to do, to go back to school and get my degree. I’m not putting school away forever!”

 

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