James Malatesta admits it: the talented attacker had no intention of playing in the QMJHL, but his 48-hour quick visit at the start of the Remparts de Québec camp and a list of elements playing in favor of the organization tipped the scales.
Two weeks after giving up the exercise to "think" and maintain eligibility with the American colleges (NCAA), Malatesta gave his first official skating as a member of the Quebec formation Wednesday morning at the Pavillon de la Jeunesse.
The news of his arrival had been heard the night before at the end of the evening and the Remparts confirmed it all in the morning before the start of the training session.
"When I came here for 48 hours, I fell in love with Quebec City. I have great confidence in the coaching staff, coach Patrick, coach Lappy and the entire organization. My parents and I came to the conclusion that this was the best place to develop in hockey. "
"I was not planning to play in the QMJHL. I came to the camp because it was Quebec City and because I had good memories of the Videotron Center when I went to the Pee-Wee Tournament. I kept thinking about it since I left, "said the 16-year-old.
Regarded as the 11th most hopeful of the last QMJHL draft, the Lac St. Louis Lions' product slipped to the seventh round due to his plans to continue his career south of the border. He was clear to those who might think he would have chosen his team.
"I was drafted in the seventh round. If I wanted to choose my team, I would have been drafted in the second or third round. They took a chance with me and it turned out to be a winner, "said the Kirkland native.
Patrick Roy delivered the same speech to potential detractors. The big boss, who returned to the Remparts hockey operations in April 2018, emphasized the importance of the club's facilities and the coaching that the players enjoy. He himself has invested a lot of time in the file, starting with a dinner with the family this summer.
"Seventh round. It's not more complicated than that. In my opinion, there are some who will have discussions (…) When you are in the seventh round, there are some players who have passed. There is no one who can say a word.
"It was a relationship without pressure. We took him in the seventh round without thinking that it was possible for him to come. It was rather to offer him a plan B if it did not work (with his initial plan), "said Roy, aware that his power of attraction and his experience can play a role with recalcitrant.
Malatesta will follow in the footsteps of other Quebecers, including Angelo Esposito, Anthony Duclair and Callum Booth, who changed their mind after being selected by the Remparts.
The newcomer will be able to attend English-language high school and an English-language college during his entire junior internship, another argument that convinced the Malatesta clan, while his scholarship was raised by the QMJHL.
"If there was a place that could change my mind about playing with the team, it was Quebec," said the principal.
And difficult to refute the final argument of the former star goalie. "He liked what he experienced on the ice. If he had not tripped, it would not have worked for us. "