Adrien Hervillard’s road to Kamloops

Philipp Ciossek, Contributor Ω

Adrien Hervillard - Photo courtesy TRU WolfPack Athletics


The British Columbia Intercollegiate Hockey League (BCIHL) hockey season might be over, but for TRU hockey goalkeeper Adrien Hervillard, there is no rest, not once. Sweat is dripping from his forehead, his body is aching from hits he takes as he practices ju-jitsu and muay thai kickboxing in the Infusion Fitness Studio in Kamloops. This is his off-season.

Face-to-face sparring in a boxing ring with a single opponent is different than being on the ice. Evading, blocking, striking, kicking and you have no pads, blockers or mask to protect you. He is enjoying it. It is different. It is not hockey and maybe that’s what makes it so appealing.

Hailing from Paris, France, Hervillard just finished his first season with the TRU WolfPack men’s hockey team of the BCIHL. When Hervillard signed with TRU in 2012 he was the first international hockey player to do so.

Being the rookie in goal for TRU, Hervillard hasn’t played much during the 2012-13 BCIHL season. He saw two starts and two substitutions in 24 regular season games. The rest of his time was spent on the bench or in the stands.

Goalies Shane Mainprize and Riley Wall were on the ice during most of the games throughout the regular season and playoffs. This didn’t stop Hervillard from improving and adapting his game to the BCIHL and working hard on his skills and mental game during practice for next season.

“Riley and Shane taught me various things about playing goalie in the BCIHL,” he said. “I really appreciate that.”

“Adrien is a hard worker, very determined and driven for success,” said TRU’s goalie coach, Richie Kohorst. “He improved a lot during last season. His aggression in the net is the most visible difference; he is coming out more and is challenging players to make their moves.”

He is also very well accepted in the locker room, said forward Jake Howardson.

“He is a dynamic goaltender, who never gets spooked or is out of position. He has the ability to elevate the team around him. Whenever we are at the rink he is extremely positive and does what needs to be done.”

For Hervillard the team always comes first, which doesn’t mean he isn’t up for the challenge of being the starter next season. Mainprize and Wall will complete their degrees in April 2013 and retire from the university hockey team. Hervillard sees this as his chance to be the starting goalie for the upcoming 2013-14 season, even knowing TRU will sign at least one more goalie.

Adrien Hervillard makes a glove save on Nov. 30, 2012 against Simon Fraser. - PHOTO BY ALLEN DOUGLAS

Adrien Hervillard makes a glove save on Nov. 30, 2012 against Simon Fraser. – PHOTO BY ALLEN DOUGLAS

“I want to be the starter,” he said, “but in a team sport, you have to think team first. And I am willing to make all the sacrifices for the success of the team.“

He also has high expectations for himself.

“I won championships in all the leagues I played in, from novice to junior and I want to win the BCIHL championship next. I want to be recognized as a champion.”

He won’t shy away from sacrifices, this is his way of life, being ready for anything. But on the other side he is humble, does his part and is a team player.

With the 2012-13 BCIHL over, Hervillard is already preparing for the upcoming season. Currently he is on a four week recovery schedule — which means no skating on the ice or physical exercises in the gym —  before returning home to France for off-season preparations. In France he will have a strict schedule of physical exercise, cardio and mental training, before his planned return at the beginning of August.

WolfPack hockey practice and exhibition games for next season are scheduled to begin in the middle of August and go through September, before the official start of the 2013-14 season in October.

In Kamloops, Hervillard is splitting his time between studying and playing hockey. He’s enrolled in the TRU bachelor of finance degree.

“Studying and playing hockey makes sense to me,” he said. “It is a choice I made and I’m enjoying doing both at TRU and I want to finish my degree here.”

Having the possibility of graduating with a bachelor’s degree gives him more possibilities for the future outside of hockey, should the dream of making a living with hockey fail. Whenever asked about why he is bothering with studying and achieving good grades, it is the idea of providing his future family with a solid life.

For him, hard work and full use of the day are mandatory. Hervillard has a very clear idea about his future in the world of hockey. He wants to sign a professional hockey contract in North America, be it in Canada or the U.S. There is of course a backup plan. Signing a contract in one of the European elite hockey leagues, like the Finnish SM-liiga or the Swedish Elite League is also an option.

“You have to be a believer to achieve your dream, you only have 24 hours each day for that,” Hervillard said.

Asked about concrete plans what he wants to do after his sports career, Hervillard is uncertain.

“I don’t know. Currently I’m just focusing on hockey; I want to live my dream right now, but the possibility that something unexpected might happen isn’t escaping me.”

In France, Hervillard split his time between playing hockey and working on his high school education. After making his way through all levels of French youth hockey and completing high school, Hervillard decided to leave Europe and moved to Canada in 2010 off-season

His first steps into Canadian hockey were from 2010 to 2012 in the Greater Metro Junior A Hockey League (GMHL), a Canadian developmental junior A ice hockey league. He played 35 games for the Elliot Lake Bobcats and the Mattawa Voyageurs in Ontario. During his two-season tenure he won the GMHL championship with the Bobcats in 2011 and was selected to play in the GMHL 2012 all-star game while playing for the Voyageurs.

Following his two seasons in the GMHL, Hervillard received offers to play in the NCAA. He had to turn down offers from teams located in Minnesota, Massachusetts and New York due to their high tuition costs.

Playing two seasons in a Canadian junior league made him an interesting choice for the TRU hockey team. Former WolfPack goalie coach André Larchoue, who knew Hervillard from previous goalie camps in Canada, recruited him for the TRU hockey team in 2012.

Hervillard honed his skills through various goalie camps all over the world, Canada, Sweden, France, U.S. and even Switzerland. François Allaire, former Toronto Maple Leafs goalie coach, knows Hervillard from several camps.

“Through the years, Adrien really progressed and improved technically,” Allaire said. “He controls now most of the situations I show him on the ice and some of them are not easy. The future is difficult to evaluate, there are so many factors involved. But I think Adrien will make the maximum of his North American experience. After this stage, if there isn’t any opportunity here [in North America], he will probably interest teams in Europe.”