Nice homecoming, of sorts, for Pelletier

Though he doesn’t consider himself a native of this province, Labrador City remains a special place to Pascal Pelletier


Published on January 20, 2017

Pascal Pelletier of the Utica Comets, who was born in Labrador City, played in St. John’s for the first time this week as the Comets took a pair of games from the IceCaps.

©Just Sports Photography

Pascal Pelletier was born in Labrador City, but was raised in nearby Fermont, just over the Quebec/Newfoundland and Labrador border, and Quebec City.

And while he doesn’t consider himself a native of this province, Labrador City does hold some special memories for the veteran of 13 years as a pro hockey player.

“We moved to Quebec (City) when I was five or six,” said Pelletier, “but I was back in Labrador City every summer until I turned pro, and then my summers got shorter.

“I had some family there, and I did a lot of fishing.”

Pelletier was in St. John’s Tuesday and Wednesday as a member of the visiting Utica Devils. He had a big game Tuesday, scoring twice and assisting on another in a 5-2 Comets win over the St. John’s IceCaps.

It was the first time Pelletier had ever played in St. John’s.

Pelletier’s father worked at the Iron Ore Company of Canada, and later owned an Esso station in Fermont, about 30 kilometres from Lab City.

He started skating in Fermont, but didn’t begin playing organized hockey until relocating to Quebec City.

Following a productive junior career in Baie Comeau and Shawinigan, Pelletier turned pro in 2004-05 with the ECHL’s Louisiana IceGators.

Through his career, he’s played in five different leagues with 14 different teams. Included are 16 NHL games — six with the Boston Bruins, seven with the Chicago Blackhawks and three with the Comets’ parent club, the Vancouver Canucks.

For the past three seasons, he played in the Russian-based Kontinental Hockey League, in Croatia, Russia and Finland.

“My plan was not to go back to the KHL this year,” he said. “But the offers I got (from North American teams) weren’t very good. I was holding on, trying to be patient waiting for a decent deal.

“Then my buddies starting leaving to go back to their teams and I ended up by myself at home. That’s when I realized I still really wanted to play.”

Now 33, Pelletier hopes to play for another couple or five years. He and his wife have a child, which changes things, but he remains in good shape and still has a love for the game.

 

rshort@thetelegram.com