Getting to know: Marc Cantin
With one spot remaining on Danny Stewart's 2016/17 Genting Casino Coventry Blaze roster, the cries for a "Mike Egener" rang out loud and clear amongst the Blaze faithful.
On Friday afternoon that man was confirmed as 6'1" Omemee, Ontario native Marc Cantin.
Described by Danny Stewart on Radio Plus (here) as "a hard hitting, physical guy at the back-end, and a good puck-moving guy on top of that," the similarities to Egener don't stop there.
Like 'Eggy', who was forced to take time away from the game to battle back from Guillain–Barré syndrome, Cantin too has previously had to put his career on hold. In February 2015, Marc's Mother, Monique sadly lost a four-year battle with cancer, resulting in the Canadian taking a near full calendar away from the ice to be with his family.
"Family has always been a priority but I knew, obviously, if I'd ever stopped playing under those circumstances it's not what mom would have wanted. I knew the passion I had for hockey prior to her getting sick was still in me."
Cantin, wishing to try Europe after near 200 games in the AHL and ECHL, originally signed to return with the Odense Bulldogs in Denmark, however the move wasn't to be as he played out last season with a second stint in Utah.
"I'd talked to teams from Europe before but because of circumstances with Mom I didn't really want to move too far away,"
Now making the move to Europe with Coventry, he will be joined by his partner, Chelsea.
"Both me and my girlfriend are very excited for this opportunity. Based on all my conversations with Danny and the help which James (Pease) has provided for us I can tell Coventry is a top notch organisation. I'm very excited for my time over there to begin and to get on the ice."
Although new to Europe and the UK when it comes to on ice activity, Cantin says he is no stranger to British soil.
"My sister (Genevieve) went to Law School in London, so I took advantage of the opportunity and went to visit her for a couple weeks. We saw most of the UK."
A Memorial Cup winner with the Windsor Spitfires in 2012, scoring the 5th goal in a 9-1 victory over the Brandon Wheat Kings in the final, Cantin too was an OHL second All-Star in his final season of junior hockey (with Mississauga Majors), picked alongside Dougie Hamilton of the Calgary Flames.
Undrafted to the NHL, he was though signed by the Boston Bruins to an entry-level-contract in 2011. After icing in the Bruins’ rookie game, he was later that year traded to the New York Islanders where he would settle as part of the organisation for a further three seasons, spending the majority of the time with the AHL's Bridgeport Sound Tigers.
Cantin's most recent experience has been split between Norfolk Admirals (AHL) and Utah Grizzlies (ECHL) where incidently last season he played under former Blaze favourite Greg Leeb who is an assistant coach in Utah.
The Head Coach, Tim Branham said of Cantin, " He is an all-around elite defenseman who plays with grit."
Voted the Grizzlies best defenceman after joining in January, Cantin who hit 8 points in 10 playoff games (3+5) said of his style, "You can expect me to bring my game every night. I'm a well rounded defensemen who likes to chip in offensively, but I pride myself on shutting down the other team's top-lines."
When the impressive 26-year-old pulls on the brand new Blaze jersey for the first time against the Nottingham Panthers (Wednesday 24th August 7.30pm Skydome Arena) the reverse will read number 22. A popular number amongst Blaze fans, particularly worn by current Head of Hockey Operations James Pease and another Playoff winner of 2015, Ryan O'Marra.
"Growing up I always wore number 11 because of Mark Messier," said Marc. "I got given the number when I was young, I think because of our names, but whenever it's taken on a team I just wear 22."
Current holder of the 11, Jim Jorgensen will likely spend time partnering the 22 on the Blaze blue-line, but before that Cantin has a summer to finish up back home which he says revolves around doing carpentry and construction work.
"That's something I truly enjoy. During the hockey season, in my down time, I like reading/cooking and playing the guitar."
We thank Marc for his time and look forward to welcoming him and Chelsea to Coventry.