by Rachel Frey | AHL On The Beat Archive
Growing up in Alma, Que., Hamilton Bulldogs rookie Charles Hudon dreamed of lacing up his skates for the Montreal Canadiens. Hailing from a family of Habs fans, Hudon saw his dream come a lot closer to reality after being drafted by his childhood team in the fifth round (122nd overall) at the 2012 NHL Draft.
“If I wanted to leave with that jersey, I just had to work as much as possible to wear that jersey for real,” Hudon says of his experience at the draft in Pittsburgh.
Two years later, Hudon has taken every opportunity to prove his skills to the Montreal organization.
Attending NHL training camp this year gave Hudon a taste of what the big league was looking for in its players, then he immediately applied some of that knowledge by putting up big numbers for the Habs’ American Hockey League affiliate, the Hamilton Bulldogs. Leading the AHL in rookie scoring, the 20-year-old forward has received a flurry of attention around the impressive start to his pro career.
Racking up enough points in the first half of the season to sit amongst the league’s leaders in overall scoring, Hudon is surprised he has started off the season so well and modestly admits he doesn’t see himself as a league leader.
“When I’m in the room, I’m not like the first guy in the league,” Hudon says. “I’m just like a rookie guy just doing his thing and [trying to] be ready all the time.”
With numbers like Hudon’s, media attention is bound to follow. Since being named AHL Rookie of the Month for November, the forward has seen an abundance of media attention, both national, local and from Montreal.
“These past two weeks have been pretty busy…I’m surprised what has happened to me,” Hudon said of the increased attention surrounding his success.
While the Bulldogs rookie says he’s doing his best to stay focused on hockey under the spotlight, he admits he feels pressure playing for the Montreal organization, being of French Canadian descent. But he knows it’s all just a small sample of what’s to come if he gets the call to the big club.
“Yeah, for sure with all the media and all the fans there, it’s pretty tough,” said Hudon. “I just need to continue working hard and be ready for every time I go on the ice.”