With his hockey-playing days in the rearview mirror, Rejean Beauchemin has turned to coaching. His first stop is the Tri-City Americans, who on Tuesday hired the former Prince Albert Raiders star as their goaltending coach.
“I am thrilled,” Beauchemin said. “I can’t wait to get everything started. I can’t wait to meet the players and see what kind of potential they have. With the legacy that Tri-City has had with goalies, it’s exciting to be a part of that.”
Beauchemin, 30, a native of Winnipeg, Manitoba, replaces Lyle Mast, who has moved on after four years to pursue professional opportunities.
Beauchemin will have help with his young charges. The Americans are bringing in Jerry Price as a goaltending consultant.
“Although young, Rejean brings a wealth of experience to our program,” Americans general manager Bob Tory said in a news release. “As a player, he had a tremendous career in the WHL with the Prince Albert Raiders before moving on to professional hockey. Rejean comes highly recommended.”
Beauchemin played four seasons with Prince Albert (2002-06) before a 10-year professional career that featured stops in the AHL, ECHL and CHL, plus one year in Germany. The Philadelphia Flyers drafted him in the sixth round of the 2003 NHL draft, but he never played in the league.
Beauchemin still holds the Raiders’ records for best goals against average for a season (2.32) and career (2.70), and for the most shutouts in a season (six) and career (12).
Beauchemin never got to play with his German team because he needed groin and sports hernia surgeries. He then was diagnosed with arthritis in his hips, spine and joints, derailing his career.
“I haven’t played goalie regularly the past couple of years,” Beauchemin said. “I miss it, but I’m fortunate to have a hand in it every day. This is the next best thing. Hopefully I can share my experiences, and I pray they will be able to achieve their goals along the way.”
Beauchemin is finishing his business and administration degree at the University of Winnipeg and works for Focus Fitness, where he is a strength and conditioning coach. He also works with goalies of all ages, including former Tri-City goalie Chet Pickard and his young brother Calvin, who played for the Seattle Thunderbirds.
“I am going to continue to coach and work at the training facility (Focus Fitness),” Beauchemin said. “I work with them mostly on the ice, and in the summer, we have groups that range from midgets to college to pros.”
Beauchemin will attend the Americans’ rookie camp and main camp, and he’ll stay through the Everett Tournament, which is Sept. 4-6. After that, he will visit the Tri-Cities monthly to work with his charges.
He also will meet and consult with Price, who will help coordinate the development of goaltenders and prospects, and act as a mentor for Beauchemin and the Americans’ goaltenders.
“Any additional knowledge that I can learn is a bonus,” Beauchemin said. “It’s an extra set of eyes and ears. Hopefully we can build on what they have had the last decade.”
Price, a former WHL goalie and NHL draft pick of the Flyers in 1978, is the father of Montreal Canadiens goalie and former Tri-City player Carey Price.
“I remember playing against Carey once in Prince Albert,” Beauchemin said, recalling a November 2004 game. “He was still young, but there was a lot of talk about him even then.”