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Viel Talks Emotions of Playing 1st NHL Game in Montreal

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Credit: San Jose Sharks

Jeffrey Viel finally lived out a dream and played an NHL game in Montreal.

“Oh yeah, it’s definitely loud,” the once-Montreal Canadiens fan said about the Bell Centre.

The Quebec native was a surprise call-up for the San Jose Sharks’ current road trip through Canada. Last minute, he was able to get family and friends, and most importantly, his parents, into the arena. Good thing that Viel’s family, originally hailing from Rimouski, a good six-hour drive away from Montreal, moved an hour and a half away from Bell Centre when Viel was four.

“I saw my family was right behind the bench,” Viel shared, when asked about when the emotion hit him hardest last night. “But especially in warmups, I feel like it’s kind of sinking in, so it was great. It was about 15 people here, so a lot of family, but it was definitely a great moment.”

You can see three No. 63 Viel San Jose Sharks jerseys behind the net during warm-ups.

“I came to a lot of games, great memories there,” Viel said when asked about his memories of Bell Centre. “I remember when I was younger, I had a Canadians jersey, and we waited after the game like an hour because we were trying to get signatures.”

Viel has a lot of Habs autographs, Saku Koivu and Andrei Markov springing to mind first.

It was a great night for Viel and the San Jose Sharks, who shut out the Canadiens 4-0 to snap a three-game losing streak. Viel played 7:22, took a penalty and recorded two hits, and was on the ice during the final buzzer, closing out a win at Bell Centre.

For a player who’s scrapped and clawed for everything that he’s got in professional hockey, playing at Bell Centre as an NHL’er is another achievement unlocked.

The undrafted overage forward was still playing in juniors when he signed an AHL contract in 2018. The gritty winger quickly made his game known with 94 PIMs in 68 games in his first season with the Barracuda. Doug Wilson then signed him to a two-year NHL entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks in May 2019.

Viel has been nothing but a feel-good story since then. After his Mar. 2021 NHL debut, Viel admitted to being so used to playing for the Barracuda at SAP Center that he went the wrong direction during his NHL debut solo lap.

Viel Goes Wrong Way During NHL Debut Solo Warm-Up Lap

He then fought now-Barracuda teammate Luke Johnson of the Minnesota Wild during the second shift of his career.

Since then, Viel has played 46 NHL games spaced over three seasons for the San Jose Sharks, totaling three goals, two assists, and 139 PIMs.

Viel will not be playing tonight in Toronto though, as head coach David Quinn is opting to dress Evgeny Svechnikov ahead of him.

Sheng’s Travel Fund

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