Matt Caracappa

Fatherhood doesn’t deter hockey star from his duties on ice and in classroom

by Matt Caracappa March 08, 2010 in Hockey

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As the Quinnipiac University men’s ice hockey team prepared for its regular-season opener against Ohio State in Columbus, Ohio, last October, one of its star players was noticeably absent. It wasn’t because of an injury or anything on the ice. Senior captain Jean-Marc Beaudoin simply had a more important place to be – at home, with his wife, Candace, for the birth of the couple’s son, Roderick.

If one would think that the new addition to the Beaudoin family would affect the new father in a negative way as he leads the young Bobcats’ squad, well then that person doesn’t know much about Jean-Marc Beaudoin.

“I had no concerns about Jean-Marc being a great father,” said Rand Pecknold, head coach of the Quinnipiac University men’s ice hockey team. “It hasn’t negatively affected his school work, or his play on the ice in any way. He’s so mature and he’s been able to balance his schedule extremely well.”

Beaudoin says it’s all about finding the right balance and that his wife and teammates have shown both of them tremendous support.

“You don’t want to overwhelm yourself,” the St. Paul, Alberta, native said. “I take great pride in everything I do. I want do well in school. I want to be home. I want to be a good dad and be there for my son, as well as my teammates. My wife and my teammates have been so supportive. The 30 guys on the team have been great for my son and have made my job that much easier.”

Although many student-athletes may need their full time in college to finally exude some of the qualities that Beaudoin exhibits, the forward made an impact on the Quinnipiac program and, especially Pecknold, from his first day on campus.

“He’s one of the best couple of guys I’ve had in my 19 years of coaching in terms of character and his high-end competiveness,” the long-time coach said. “He’s the type of kid you want in the locker room. Lots of kids will do the right thing when someone’s watching, but Jean-Marc will always do the right thing.”

Pecknold says that while Beaudoin isn’t a real vocal leader who yells and screams a lot, the forward’s professionalism and tremendous work ethic garners instant respect from his teammates.

“He’s beyond respected by his teammates,” Pecknold said. “He truly leads by example.  He shows great commitment in every facet of his life and I think the players respond to that.”

Beaudoin hopes that his commitment and leadership qualities leave a legacy that future Quinnipiac players will follow.

“I think it’s a lot about accountability that the little things don’t slip away,” Beaudoin said. “I take my leadership role very seriously. I hope that when I come back, there are players who say ‘That’s how we want to play and be seen.’ I just want to leave my mark on this young team.”

The senior, who has totaled 97 points (42-55) in his four seasons prior to the team’s weekend matchup against Dartmouth in the ECAC Hockey tournament, also says what drives him on the ice has changed since the birth of his son.

“A lot of my passion on the ice comes from my son and my family,” Beaudoin said. “It also comes from the guys on the team. We have great character and that’s what keeps me going.”

When he’s not on the ice, Beaudoin can be found making an impact within the Hamden, Conn., community. Last season, the hockey team helped raise more than $30,000 for the fight against pediatric cancer through the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, and this year, Beaudoin helped lead Quinnipiac’s fundraising efforts for Autism Speaks.

The two-time ECAC Hockey All-Academic Team member also tutors a young elementary school student, who emigrated from France with his family. Unfortunately for the child, none of his teachers spoke French, but after Beaudoin - who speaks the language fluently - and his teammates visited the school to read to children, the pair were connected.

“It’s been a new challenge, but it’s been great,” the captain said. “The community has supported us tremendously and I think we’ve done a good job being role models to them.

“The past four years have been an amazing experience.”