Michael Mastrodomenico found a home with the Midget AAA Laval-Montreal Rousseau-Royal after he was unable to claim a spot with the Lac St. Louis Lions.
The 15-year-old defenceman from Kirkland was among 28 hockey players who each received a $1,500 bursary from the hands of Montreal Canadiens president Geoff Molson at Bell Centre on Feb. 10.
The 2019-20 Montreal Canadiens bursary program recognized the achievements of student athletes such as Mastrodomenico, who has had to balance his ambition of playing hockey at the highest possible level with the demands required to excel at school.
The Secondary 4 student maintained an 86 percent grade average in the International Baccalaureate program at St. Thomas High School in Pointe Claire during the first term.
“My parents, they always pushed me a lot in school and hockey,” Mastrodomenico said. “So my mom pushed me in school and my dad pushed me more in hockey. And they want a lot out of me and for me, and I think they’re both proud of me now because it’s both sides, like I’m getting the best of both worlds and I’m getting rewarded for being good at both. And it shows that I’m I’m working hard to achieve good things in sports and at school.”
Mastrodomenico’s ambition is to become an athlete agent recognized by the NHL Players Association, though he wants to keep all of his options open with regards to his pursuit of his career in sports. He wishes to continue playing hockey at the professional level, ideally in the NHL.
That road took a detour when he was the last player cut by the Lions prior to this season. Mastrodomenico said his mother shed some tears when they looked at dealing with the logistics of playing for the Laval-based team while he studied on the West Island.
“I had a long talk to my mom that night because it would be a lot of driving for her,” Mastrodomenico said. “And I remember she cried a bit, and I felt bad. And we almost said no to going to Laval and I would have been playing with espoirs this year. But my dad and I finally convinced my mom to get it to happen. So I went to my first practice, had a good practice, and I had a few friends on the team so I fit in pretty well. So now my mom drives drives me every single day to practice for 30-45 minutes. It’s long, she’s putting in a lot of hours for me, but I’m thankful for that.”