Petit Finding his Footing With Everett

Courtesy of Steinbachonline.com

Mario Petit always knew he wanted to be a goalie. He always knew it would take hard work and lots of practice. He did not know where it would take him and it’s a dream come true as Petit is now suiting up for the Everett Silvertips of the Western Hockey League.

It wasn’t always the easiest road for the Manitoba native Petit, he’s faced adversity and has risen to the challenge. Petit details his hockey journey starting with suiting up for his home town team. “I started at the age of 12 playing for the good, old Ile Des Chenes Elks. I played two years there then jumped up to bantam for the Seine River Snipers for another two years. My first year in bantam wasn’t my best year, I was a backup but the second year was when I started to get better as a goalie. I got noticed by a few teams in the WHL like Everett, Brandon, Lethbridge, Kamloops and Calgary.”

It was after that year in bantam where Petit would get an opportunity to shine and he sure did not disappoint. “When I got to midget, I was getting pretty good. I played Eastman Selects Midget AAA and I got to play for Team Manitoba which is huge because it helped me get more exposure and that’s when I got listed with Everett, which is where it all got started with Everett. I was also drafted by the (Steinbach) Pistons. It was big, I didn’t expect it. I was never sure where I’d end up but I just made sure I worked hard, would stay on my game. My goal with the Eastman Selects was to win the league and we came close, we finished second. I got to be the starter and it was great with those guys.”

Last season, Petit suited up for the Steinbach Pistons and even though the year may have not gone as well as he’d hoped for, he learned more in that one season then all his other years in the game. “It was a big mental year for me. I had to really think about how hard I wanted to work to get where I wanted to be. What it takes, what the coaches expect. Just a big learning year for me and what I need to do to get better. Plus backing up one of the best goalies in Pistons history Nick Deery, I learned a lot. We still talk and he’s showed me his new pads, I’m going to make sure I don’t copy him this year (laughs).” 

Petit knows how to put the work in on the ice, but off, he doesn’t mind getting his hands dirty. “Every summer I work construction and balancing training with Elite Performance which is has helped my development as a player. Summers are rough; it’s work till I drop mostly.”

This year all the hard work, all the time spent learning paid off in a big was as he walked through the Everett Silvertips door and pulled that jersey over his head. Petit walks us through his thoughts heading into day one in the WHL. “First day at camp I was just so focused and I had a good feeling just knowing I’d do well at camp I could make the team. I was just really positive and I knew deep down I’d do really good. The nerves were gone before even showing up for camp because I was just so prepared. It didn’t psyche me out that guys I’d be playing against were NHL prospects, I just focused at what I needed to do and I did it.”

 It takes a special kind of person to be a goaltender, just ask any goaltender. Petit knew he wanted to be the guy between the pipes from the start, although it took a bit of convincing his family. “My dad didn’t really want it, it’s pretty expensive (laughs). When I was younger I’d play mini sticks, street hockey just anything to be a goalie, you name it and I was the goalie for any team and I just loved it. At 12 I got to be the goalie because guy before me broke his collar bone, so it was a free position for me.”

Being a goalie can be thankless at times and there will always be road blocks, whether it be a more established starter or a young kid trying to catch up and take your role. Petit gives some advice to younger players wanting to patrol the blue paint. “You have to have the right attitude because you can go in at any point. You have to be ready at all times and if not, it doesn’t mean you’re a failure; it’s just not your time. It’s like if you get a higher end job, you won’t start at the top, you just have to wait your turn. You can control what you can control and that’s all.”

Even though he’s reached the next level, Petit is far from satisfied and has his sights set high for a special year in Everett. “I’m not satisfied yet. I want to take the starters position and help my team with success. I want to win a Memorial Cup this year. I want this to be a big year for me and my team.”