From a young age, Shawn Tessier maintained a strong work ethic and professional attitude that translated into his passion for hockey.
“It was just really starting to get into my head that this is what I really want to do in my life and I can make that possible,” Tessier said.” If this is what I want to do, I have to treat it like a job…. It’s fun, but I’ve got to have that professional mindset behind it.”
Tessier,17, was born and raised in Scarborough. He recently signed a three-year contract with the North Bay Battalion OHL team, making him one of the few hockey players to jump four levels of hockey over the last four years.
He played AA as a defenceman and spent six seasons with the Scarborough Young Bruins before moving to AAA for 2011-2012 in the Minor Midget year, to try and get drafted into the OHL. According to Tessier, this was also the start of his professional career.
“Even just getting to that next step in AAA, they teach you little things like showing up to a game in a suit and tie,” Tessier said. “It makes you feel that you are starting a professional career.”
As he excelled on a last place Markham Majors team, Tessier gained recognition from numerous OHL team leading up to the draft. He waited all day, and in the twelfth round, his name came up as a Brampton Battalion draft pick.
The summer that followed, Tessier played through the Brampton Battalion (now the North Bay Battalion) rookie camp and main camp, but was not signed by the team. However, at 16, he signed with the Whitby Fury Junior A in the OJHL.
“I was really ecstatic about it, not a lot of people can say they made junior at the age of 16, but I did,” Tessier said. “But then after a couple of months they had to let me go, which was really heartbreaking because I mean that was getting to the next step. That’s what I wanted to do and then all of a sudden it was gone.”
Tessier was sent back to the Markham Majors Midget team. After a while, however, Tessier realized he was able to get more ice time in the AAA games, which allowed him to improve his skills.
“We wanted to see him play a lot and we wanted to make sure that he was developing,” said Matt Rabideau, the assistant general manager of the North Bay Battalion. “So the best path for boys in that situation is to play Junior because they aren’t learning anything when they’re sitting in the stands watching and not playing.”
After being sent up and down during the season, Tessier became more motivated to reach the OHL. During the summer of 2013, he trained with the help of his older brother James. His hard work paid off: the Battalion invited him to play the team’s five exhibition games, and he stayed with the team for the first 10 games of the season. The Battalion then sent Tessier to the affiliate Junior A North Bay Trappers, where he was quickly made assistant captain.
Now Tessier is playing Junior A and is frequently called up by the North Bay Battalion when needed. He also just signed a three-year contract with the Battalion in hopes of being a full time player next year.
“I always hope for the best when you see these guys come in and compete but they always have to continue to push themselves because there’s always a new draft coming in. That’s going to push them even harder and other players coming in to try and take their jobs too,” said Rabideau. “That’s just the competitiveness of sports I guess.”