By: Hamilton Bulldogs
04/15/2013 8:15 AM -
HAMILTON, Ont. – It didn’t take long for Charles Hudon to make his first contribution to the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Signed to an Amateur Tryout contract by the American Hockey League club on April 4, left winger Hudon scored his first professional goal two days later, lifting the Bulldogs to a 2-1 win over the host Texas Stars with a goal at 19:35 of the third period.
Playing on a line with centre Joey Tenute and right winger Patrick Holland, Hudon scooped up a loose puck, skated clockwise behind the net and fired a wrist shot through a cluster of bodies from deep in the right-wing circle that eluded Stars goaltender Cristopher Nilstorp. Hudon, who led the Bulldogs with five shots in that game, earned his second point with an assist in a 6-2 loss to the visiting Lake Erie Monsters on Friday night.
“I had no idea I had scored,” Hudon said recently. “I just saw all the hands in the air. It was an unbelievable moment. I was with Holland and Tenute and it was a great chance for me to play on the first line.”
A native of Alma, Que. who turns 19 on June 23, Hudon was a fifth-round pick of the Montreal Canadiens in the 2012 National Hockey League Entry Draft. He finished his third season with the Chicoutimi Sagueneens of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League as the team’s leading scorer with 30 goals and 41 assists for 71 points in 56 games. Hudon led the Sagueneens in playoff scoring with 10 points, including five goals, as they were eliminated in six games in the first round by the Quebec Remparts.
“It’s a great opportunity for me to come here and improve myself and be with the pro players. I’m happy to be here and I’m hoping to just play my game.
“I look at guys that are here who have played in the NHL like Jarred Tinordi and Greg Pateryn. I want to see what they do both in and out of the rink. I want to be a pro and want to know how to act like one. I want to show people I can play here.”
Bulldogs head coach Sylvain Lefebvre agreed that Hudon has a terrific opportunity to experience life as a professional hockey player through the remainder of the season.
“It’s great for him to come here and see what it is like to play pro and to see what the games are like in the AHL at this time of the season. He needs to take that and apply it back in junior next season. If he does that he can be a dominant player in junior and he can be even more ready when he comes out.”
Hudon and centre Brady Vail, a fourth-round choice in 2012, are the two players currently with the Bulldogs who are eligible to return to their junior teams next season. Vail will be heading into his fourth season with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.
“There are things the young guys need to learn here,” said Lefebvre, who was a full-time AHL defenceman with the Sherbrooke Canadiens as a 20-year-old in 1987-88. “It’s the lifestyle, how to prepare for games on a nightly basis and how to prepare for practice every day. I know they do that in junior, but at this level it’s your livelihood, it’s even more important because this is your job. They all have dreams. They want to play in the NHL and if they can come in here and start the process sooner it can make them better players down the road.”
Hudon said one goal he has next season is to participate in the World Junior Championship. Hudon made the Canadian team that competed in this year’s event at Ufa, Russia, but suffered a lower-back injury during practice and had to return home before the tournament started.
“It was tough to come home alone. I wasn’t sure I was going to get a chance to play on the team when the season started and it was going to be a big tournament for me. I have to make sure I get a chance to play next year.”
The Bulldogs, who lost 4-0 to the Oklahoma City Barons on Sunday night, host the St. John’s IceCaps at 7:30 p.m. on Friday.