L/A Nordiques assistant coach Eric Michaud edits video of opponents so that players and coaches can take a closer look at the teams they are about to play. Sun Journal photo by Daryn Slover


LEWISTON — The L/A Nordiques have only faced one other Fraser Cup team this season, the St. Louis Jr. Blues.

But they will know the tendencies of the other five teams before they get out to Woodridge, Illinois, for the NA3HL championship tournament, which starts Wednesday, thanks to the work of assistant coach Eric “Cheech” Michaud and the hours he puts in watching upcoming opponents on his laptop and editing clips that will be shown to the players during video sessions.

This behind-the-scenes work has helped the Nordiques to a 43-4-0 record in the regular season and another four wins so far in the playoffs.

Michaud, a Lewiston native, double- and triple-checks his work and looks at the video from different viewpoints.

“When I am pre-scouting opponents, I will watch a game two or three times in its entirety,” Michaud said. “I will watch as if I was their coach, for instance, and see kind of what they do. Then I will watch as if I was their opponent’s coach maybe to see what they do to stop the offensive flow or stop the power play.”


The biggest thing Michaud is looking at is the team’s special teams play, whether it be on the power play or penalty kill. He will also focus on some individual players during his video sessions.

“He’s extremely valuable to this program,” L/A Nordiques head coach Cam Robichaud said. “He brings teams’ faceoff plays, in-zone offensive plays, defensive coverage, penalty kill and power play, which allows us to kind of prepare and plan how we are going to attack the (opponent).

“Are we going to completely change our team structure? No, but are we able to adapt and understand what will be thrown at us, absolutely.”

Robichaud also can plan which line matches up best against opponents based on Michaud’s video work.

The players like to see the video that Michaud cuts up for them.

“His work is huge. Whenever we do video on Fridays or before a game day, it really helps us know what the opponent is going to and how to shut it down,” L/A Nordiques forward Armand O’Keefe. “He really breaks it down for us.”


Usually, before Robichaud can even ask for something specific, Michaud already has it ready.

An example of that occurred earlier this week. Robichaud watched film of the Helena Big Horns, the Nordiques’ first opponent at the Fraser Cup.

“I was watching Helena (Sunday) night, and he came in this morning (on Monday), he said, ‘Hey, I put the pre-scout together,'” Robichaud said. “I took a glance at it before he brought it to me. He was spot-on with the things I wanted. I wanted to see their forecheck; they are aggressive 2-1-2, which hopefully plays in our favor with our defensemen skating and puck-movement ability, hopefully we can move that puck quickly to have odd-man rushes.”

Michaud does most of his video watching away from Androscoggin Bank Colisee.

“During the day, we have two practices, it’s really hard for me to delve into the video stuff,” Michaud said, who will become the Maine Nordiques organization’s video coordinator next season. “I will try to do here and there during the day with the video. Mainly, it’s at night when I am at home or I will stay here (at the Colisee) until 10 at night if there’s stuff going on (in the arena).

“That’s pretty much it. I like to take a little mental break from the ice and then from watching because I am watching guys out there (on the ice). I have that all processing and I like to take a little break, then I will fire the laptop. When I fire up the laptop, it’s a two-, three-hour session of doing video.”


O’Keefe said Michaud’s video work has come in handy.

“In Minnesota (at the NA3HL Showcase in December) against the Granite City (Lumberjacks), I remember distinctly a random different type of forecheck,” O’Keefe said. “We (went) over that religiously both on the ice and in the video room.”


Michaud, 25, has worked in different capacities in hockey, at the junior and college levels.

He started with the Lewiston Maineiacs of the QMJHL from 2007-2011, first at 12 or 13 years old working with the front office staff and then transitioning to the hockey operations side, becoming an equipment manager at the end of the Maineiacs run in Lewiston.

When the Maineiacs left, he joined Townshend Hockey — a hockey camp — in 2012 as an equipment manager and instructor. He met a former University of Maine men’s hockey player who asked him if he would like to work with the school’s hockey team. Michaud happily accepted the offer.


“I didn’t want to be an equipment manager anymore. I wanted to start doing the coaching stuff I knew that I was interested in,” Michaud said. “I got connected with (Maine head coach Dennis) ‘Red’ (Gendron), and two weeks later I am having a meeting and being told I am volunteering with the coaching staff.”

Michaud became a volunteer assistant video coordinator and analyst with the Black Bears in August 2015. What he does now with the Nordiques started with Maine, just on a much bigger scale.

“I pre-scouted opponents. It’s a lot more in-depth, the videos were a lot longer,” Michaud. “I cut shifts for players, basically whatever the coaches needed, I supplied them. We had this big Google drive where I would share (players’) shifts with them and we would go over them as a group.”

Michaud was at Maine for two seasons and was about to be promoted, but due to budget cuts in the athletic department the position he was being hired for was eliminated. That’s when he saw Robichaud had a job opening at the start of the 2017-18 season.

Robichaud saw the knowledge Michaud gained from working at the NCAA Division-I level, and knew he wouldn’t have to explain what he needed from Michaud.

While Michaud was pretty much doing the same things that he did at Maine, there was an adjustment period because he didn’t have the same tools as he did at the college level.

“I had to scratch and claw for the first month or so,” Michaud said. “We didn’t have a working camera or any of the video cutting software I have now. We played with the bugs and the kinks, we worked it out the first month or two of the season, but we worked through it. Definitely have to block off a little more time than I would with UMaine, but that means we are prepared and paying attention to details.”

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