Jonathan Marchessault’s path to the NHL was far from the standard one for a player of his caliber. From going undrafted to spending four seasons and playing over 300 games in the AHL to bouncing around from Columbus to Tampa to Florida and eventually, Vegas, Marchessault always had to fight his way through the world of hockey.
On the recently produced episode of VGK Origins, narrated by Shane Hnidy, Marchessault dove into that “bumpy” path from his parents recommending he had a Plan B if hockey didn’t work out to becoming the leading scorer in Vegas Golden Knights history.
If you haven’t watched the episode, trust me, it’s the best 40 minutes you’ll spend today. (It’s embedded at the bottom of this article.)
A relationship with a hockey legend made a massive impact on Marchessault’s journey to the NHL. It was his coach for four seasons in the QMJHL with the Quebec Remparts, the great Patrick Roy.
It’s remarkable that after he won four Stanley Cups and he’s a Fall of Hamer that he comes back here and coaches juniors. He doesn’t do it because he needs it, he does it because he’s passionate. -Marchessault in VGK Origins
Even Marchessault’s path to playing for that team was unorthodox. As Roy explains, the Remparts also owned the Midget Triple-A team Marchessault had been playing on. So, in order to keep him, they asked Roy to select Marchessault late in the draft, never expecting him to be ready for the QMJHL at age 17.
Marchy came to camp and he was outstanding. So we called the Midget Triple-A team and said, ‘sorry, he’s going to stay with the big club.’ It’s funny how things happen sometimes. You give a break to a player and they take advantage of it, and that’s the story of Marchy. He always found a way to make room for himself in any lineup. -Patrick Roy in VGK Origins
The effect Roy had on Marchessault over those four years can still be seen as clear as day now.
The thing I learned most from him was his passion. I’ve never seen someone as passionate about something as he is about hockey. It was quite remarkable and I would say I have the same passion as him. I would have never made it without how he was with me. He was great for my path. -Marchessault in VGK Origins
But that doesn’t mean Roy went easy on #81, or #18 at the time.
I was a little tough on him because I saw the talent he had and sometimes you have to push harder on those guys, but I always thought if a coach is tough on a player it means he likes them. -Roy in VGK Origins
Every week he would find something to get after me about. It was unbelievable. Even after a great game, he would keep me humble. He would find something to say about me even if I scored two goals. He would just come at me for no reason. Some days I wanted to fight the guy but I think it just builds your mental toughness and that’s where I got it was the four years with that guy and it definitely helped my career. -Marchessault in VGK Origins
There’s one particular story about Marchessault eating a muffin that’s absolutely hilarious.
Nonetheless, it shouldn’t take much for a Golden Knights fan to have an appreciation for one of the original Misfits, but there’s no doubt, learning more about his story, including his relationships with former coaches and teammates, amps that appreciation up even more.