Vincelette:The Grinder

Listen to the interview here

Daniel Vincelette was an NHL player who played parts of 7 seasons which he spent mainly with the Chicago Blackhawks, but played a year with the Quebec Nordiques.

During his time in the league, Vincelette wasn’t the most skilled player and would do whatever it took in order to keep his spot.

“I wasn’t a spectacular player, I was a more hard-nosed player. I was a go to guy who would protect his teammates when giving a chance. It was a lot more physical in the 80’s.” Said Vincelette about what type of player he was.

In junior, he played a more rough agitator style which caused him to fight more which had him tally 288 penalty minutes in a season. He claims the rougher he played, the more he was able to play with the puck because a lot of players were afraid of him.

In a time when sports psychology, wasn’t big Vincelette used a lot of it to better himself.


via: Vincelette’s card from his last pro season.

“Once you are a pro, there are psychologists who help you visualize whatever is going to happen during the game, in order to have a game plan” said Vincelette on his pregame mentality.  “During the game, we had meetings before each game, in order to know which line we were going to play against,  whatever we could control and what we can’t control for the upcoming game. You have to prepare yourself to react to specific things on the ice that you can control.” Added Vincelette.

Vincelette had to make lots of sacrifices when he was younger in order, to achieve his dream of playing in the NHL. He knew it was a privilege to make it while his friends went out partying, he’d often stay back in order to focus on improving his game.

“When I played it was a choice to go see the psychologist, but it was highly recommended. Working with videos, it helps you visualize yourself playing better, building on positive things. ” Said Vincelette on how much psychologists had of an impact on him throughout his career.

According to Vincelette, everybody can lift weights but the hard part is to mentally prepare yourself for the game. He claims it’s not easy to just set your mind to concentrate on just the game.

Even on the physical level of the game, Vincelette always thought he had the training methods in order to keep up with best of them, and would spend hours each day training to stay in game shape.

nordiques9091vinceletted Vincelette when he played in Quebec.

“It was a dream when I was younger to play in the NHL, Guy Lafleur was my idol. Once I reached Midget AAA, I got an agent that’s when I believed I actually had a chance to make it. I was then drafted in the second round in Major Junior and then eventually the NHL. That’s when I told myself I might as well give it a shot. I changed my game a bit in order to improve and I worked hard.” Added Vincelette.

One thing that Vincelette never had the chance to do was win a championship.  In every competitive level he played in, he made the Finals but his team always lost. He always wished to have had triumph at some point but he never got a championship ring to remember his career by.

His career ended after he tore his ACL when he was playing in the IHL.


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