|(Credit: Christina Shapiro/Texas Stars)|
Draft day came and went for Texas Stars captain Maxime Fortunus in 2001. The La Prairie, Quebec, native led his major junior squad in defenseman scoring that year and helped them to the second round of the QMJHL playoffs. The fifth year Texas Star, a member of the original squad back in 2009, has taken a step-by-step approach and gotten his chance at the NHL with the Dallas Stars organization while leading his AHL club to the league’s best record.
“I tell guys, it doesn't matter if you're drafted or undrafted,” said Fortunus. “If you do your job on the ice, you'll get your shot. You have to make people believe in you. I took the long road to the NHL, and it was all about little steps and getting better every year. If I get better every year, I'll get my chance.”
Getting started in the pro game, thousands of miles from home
Fortunus’s long and winding road to where he is today started in 2003 in Lafayette, Lousiana, with the ECHL’s Lousiana IceGators.
“After my 19 year old season in the Q, I could have come back for another. We had a pretty good run in the playoffs, and we were pretty good. I decided it was time for me to leave the junior game and get to the pro game as fast as I could. That was the best way to get my game to where I could get a shot in the NHL. I got a chance to go to training camp with the Minnesota Wild. Then I went to camp with the Houston Aeros, and they signed me on a two-way deal in the American League. I started the season in Louisiana.”
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