By Mike Still
For over half a decade, men’s hockey forwards Philippe Gadoury and Felix Page have been united by the sport of hockey.
“We met in high school,” says Gadoury. “We were going to a school that was focused on hockey. We met there, played hockey together and that’s how we built a relationship.”
That relationship has seen the duo from Quebec travel together to New York, Ontario and now Nova Scotia – all for the love of the game.
Gadoury and Page’s first trek together occurred in 2011, when they attended a private school known as Hoosac, in New York. They were there for three reasons: to hone their hockey skills; attain their grade 12 education, since high school in Quebec only goes to grade 11; and improve their English.
The year they spent south of the border was an immense success, both on and off the ice. Athletically, the pair played in 19 games and combined for 72 points, while improving their English.
“I didn’t know English at all before we went there, and it was pretty tough at first, but we liked it a lot and had a great time there,” says Page.
The following year, the pair returned to Quebec where they played a year of college hockey for the Andre-Laurendeau Boomerang – winning the league championship in the process.
Both players had a huge offensive impact. Gadoury recorded 35 points in 31 regular season games, while Page tallied 29 points in 32 games.
From there, the duo spent the 2013-14 season in Ontario, playing for the Nepean Raiders of the Central Canada Hockey League.
Yet again they made their presence felt. Gadoury led the team in scoring with 55 points in 42 games, while Page added 42 points of his own.
Having each other to lean on was invaluable for both players during their travels, and also aided in their teamwork and relationship both on and off the ice.
“We have lived together for so long now that we’re used to it,” says Page. “And it’s pretty cool, it’s nice.”
“It helped me a lot to understand things that maybe not everybody would understand now, just because we’ve met so many different people from different countries and provinces as well, and it’s huge, especially now.”
In January of 2014, the pair went their separate ways for a while, as Gadoury was signed as a free agent by the QMJHL’s Halifax Mooseheads, while Page stayed in Ontario to play another season with Nepean.
Gadoury had a tremendous season and a half with the Mooseheads, and was even invited to the Montreal Canadiens training camp. More importantly however, he fell in love with the city of Halifax.
With that in mind, it wasn’t too hard for Tigers head coach Chris Donnelly to recruit Gadoury to play for Dalhousie at the start of the 2015-16 season. He had planned on continuing his post-secondary education and felt that the institution – along with the community – were the right fit.
“I knew a lot of people that were going to Dal, so I had an idea of what it was like and the level of difficulty and stuff,” says Gadoury.
It didn’t take much to convince his close friend to join him as well.
“We’ve seen a bunch of places before and I don’t mind seeing new places, I like it,” says Page.
“He was telling me, ‘you’re going to love it here,’ and I had full confidence in him, so I was like yeah for sure and we both ended up here which worked out pretty well.”
There was a slight adjustment for both players at first, as the level of physicality in the AUS was significantly higher than in other leagues the pair had played in. Much like their previous experiences however, they had each other for support.
“We knew that our first year would be kind of hard and there would be a lot of new stuff that we hadn’t seen before, so at least the hockey part was kind of easier because we knew each other,” says Page.
In just under two seasons, the duo have given the rest of the league a taste of what’s to come. They’ve combined for 57 points so far, and Gadoury was named to the CIS all-rookie team after earning AUS rookie of the year honours last season.
Suffice to say, the Tigers are happy that the close friends chose to take their talents to the East Coast.