LEWISTON – For one day, Simon Courcelles looked like a teenager.

His full, thick beard finally shaven off following nearly seven weeks of growth, Courcelles blended in better with his fresh-faced teammates than with the coaching staff.

That was Saturday.

By Monday morning, the Lewiston Maineiacs’ center was again growing his beard, perhaps unintentionally.

This mark of a veteran typifies Courcelles.

And with his first President’s Cup trophy now in his back pocket, the almost-21-year-old Courcelles has again turned his attention to the most prestigious prize in North American junior hockey: The Memorial Cup.

“You never really expect to have the chance once to go,” said Courcelles, who played for the Memorial Cup-winning Quebec Remparts last year. “Now having it twice, it’s quite special. Maybe so far, I kind of took it for granted, but I’m going to look back a few years from now and see how fortunate I was.”

If the Maineiacs hoist the Memorial Cup, Courcelles would join a short list of people who have won multiple Memorial Cup titles, and an even shorter list of those who have done it with different teams. The most recent example of the latter came in 1982, when Robert Savard won his third Cup title with the Kitchener Rangers. The previous two seasons, he’d won the title with the Cornwall Royals.

Aside from the personal accolades, Courcelles is just looking at another opportunity to help a team achieve junior hockey’s ultimate objective.

“We’ve worked so hard,” Courcelles said. “To me, it’s not just a bonus. It’s what you play for the whole year. It’s the ultimate goal, and you don’t want to take it for granted.”

Many of Courcelles’ younger teammate are admittedly looking up to him for a bit of guidance this time, too.

“When I started the playoffs this year, I really had only one experience last year,” Maineiacs’ defenseman Kevin Marshall said. “We have a guy like Simon Courcelles, who went to the Memorial Cup, and he won it. So for us, it’s a big plus that he can teach us and tell us what we have to do over there, all of the little details.”

Despite the Maineiacs’ success this season, many of the team’s key contributors are young. Five of the eight defensemen are 18 or younger, as are six of the 14 forwards and both goalies.

“He was there, he knows what it takes,” Maineiacs’ coach Clem Jodoin said. “When we first get there, there is going to be some nervousness, some looking around at the mountains and the ocean and everything, but we have to get back to being focused as quickly as possible. We went to get him because of his leadership, and that is what he has brought us this year.”

Courcelles knows that now, more than ever, his unofficial and playful title as the team’s fourth coach may hold some weight on what is likely to be the grandest stage on which many of the Maineiacs will ever play.

“That’s what’s cool about hockey,” Courcelles said. “It brings you everywhere. You play places you wouldn’t go otherwise. Having been there, you know what to expect, and you’re not as nervous. I take that as a positive, and I try to share with the guys the best I can.”


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