BY ADAM DESLOGES – FAN FUEL BLOGGER
Timmins is a small Northern Ontario city comprised mostly of gold mines. Gold is synonymous with Timmins and so is minor hockey. Unfortunately for most players involved in minor hockey, the dream ends in Timmins and you’re left faced with only one option; work in the mines and play hockey in the beer leagues. For Larry Courville these were never options he would have to worry about.
Growing up playing hockey in Timmins, Larry knew of the NHL, would hear of the NHL and like most kids was always an NHL player while playing street hockey. After playing Major Peewee, Larry would never again return to Timmins to play hockey.
Having come from a modest upbringing Larry knew he owed a lot of his hockey success to his family.
“Both my parents were hard working people who helped me get to where I did. A lot of my work ethic came from my parents (Larry, Sr. & Helen). My parents and family had the most influence on my career; they gave up so much of their time for me.”
That work ethic is what helped Larry make the 1995 World Junior Championship team where they went on the win gold in Red Deer, AB. For Larry there would never be a bigger moment in his playing career.
“One of my biggest and fondest memories of playing hockey was the World Junior Championships playing for my country. I grew up watching (Team Canada) as a kid and always wanted to be a part of them. It was one of my happiest and enjoyable moments playing hockey, winning gold and playing with some of the best players in the world.”
“My biggest highlight playing with Winnipeg was going over to Europe (Finland) for training camp and playing alongside Teemu Selanne.”
Unable to come to terms with Winnipeg, Courville returned to juniors where he had one of his most productive years in Major Juniors while playing for Oshawa. He then re-entered the NHL Draft (1995) and was selected 61st overall by the Vancouver Canucks. Having only played a handful of games, it was still enough for Courville to come out of there with lifelong memories.
“Vancouver is where I scored my first NHL goal in my second NHL game. Playing with Mark Messier and Pavel Bure will always be a highlight for me.”
After toying a few years in the AHL, Courville knew that if he wanted to remain in the game he would one day have to transition from player to coach.
“I always thought of one day becoming a coach, but never knew at what level. Throughout my career of playing in the NHL and AHL it was always something I wanted to pursue. Hockey has always been my life so the transition from player to coach was a smooth one.”
As the head coach and director of hockey operations for the Reading Royals (ECHL) farm team of the Washington Capitals, Courville had one of the biggest honours bestowed upon him when the club retired his number 22.
“It was a pretty big honour for me, to have your number retired at any level whether it’s the NHL, the AHL or our league the ECHL, it’s an honour because you feel you worked hard for that team or organization and by them honouring me in that way it was flattering and one of the proudest moments for me in my hockey career.”
Courville is uncertain where his coaching career will take him, what he does know is as long as he works hard and stays committed, the game will always be there.
CAUTION: Hockey is addictive and may cause excited delirium.
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