Sean Couturier was born on December 7, 1992 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Philadelphia Flyers drafted Couturier 8th overall in the 2011 NHL Draft. Couturier then signed a three-year entry-level contract with the Flyers on September 21, 2011. I was fortunate enough to sit down recently with Couturier, as he discusses who has helped him become a better player in the NHL.
It was to no one’s surprise Couturier made the Flyers out of training camp in 2011. He had the goods and the will to turn this organization into a building block of success for the future.
Couturier was a dominant force in the QMJHL amassing a total of 283 points in 184 games played. Even with his accolades at the Junior level, his main goal of course was to make the NHL.
Former head coach of the Tampa Lightning, Guy Boucher had this to say about Couturier before he was drafted:
“You don’t take the puck off of him. He’s a big center who wins the faceoffs and is extremely reliable defensively. When he was 16, I had to push him to go offence because he wanted to be so reliable defensively. He has great vision and is slowly building up his speed … he’s going to be a terrific NHL player.”
Guy Boucher has been a mentor to the young Couturier. He was Couturier’s coach at the Junior level in the QMJHL, for the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Couturier speaks very fondly of Boucher, and credits him for his development.
“When I went to the juniors, I gotta give credit to Guy Boucher. He was my first coach in juniors, and he kind of taught me how to play the game on both sides of the ice. I became a solid defensive player. I put up all those stats, but one year I was +68 (laughing and smiling). That’s the type of player I want to be solid offensively, but reliable defensively. I want to outscore my opponents.”
At age 24, Couturier plays in all types of situations. He is a reliable penalty killer, and he quarterbacks the 2nd power play unit. For his career, he has registered 69 goals, and 119 assists for 178 points in 411 games played. His dad helped him get to this point in his hockey career, and he has not forgotten that.
“Growing up my dad helped me. He played the game, so he gave me tips here and there. He was around my junior team in the QMJHL.”
(Pictured above is Couturier’s family at the NHL Draft in 2011.)
“Coots” has been more of a defensive minded center in his young career, but he is gifted offensively. He registered 192 points in back to back seasons in junior hockey. He currently has 13 goals on the season with the Flyers, but he appears to have stepped it up a notch offensively with the addition of Valteri Filppula. One would think Filppula would be his motivation for success. However, Couturier states the phone calls home is what helps him the most.
“I usually call my parents everyday,” Couturier stated. “I talk to my dad, and I talk about hockey just trying to keep up with how he is doing back home with his junior team.”
Couturier further states, “It’s always nice you can hear a voice you know you can trust. He knows the game. He can give you tips here and there. It brings you back to what you need to do. It’s mostly just talking to my parents, especially my Dad.”
The young protegé has developed into a successful centerman for the Flyers. Even with his success at the NHL level, he never forgets about his family. His family is what matters as he does not have a ritual before game day.
“I usually call my parents everyday. They’re important to me. I don’t have any nieces or nephews yet. No children as of yet (laughing). I remember back home when dad played pro hockey, it’s in the back of my mind.”
The young phenom relies on the bonds with his family to get him through his day. It tells a lot about his character, as the sky is the limit for him. With his family by his side, he shows that hockey players are humans too. Couturier exemplifies the greatness of professional athletes, and has become a model of success for the Flyers organization.
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Mandatory Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports