Jordan Levac watched his brother compete in the 2014 TELUS Cup gold medal game from the family couch in St-Polycarpe, Que., but he could feel the pressure, feel the nerves as the game crept into the third overtime.
When Dakota Boutin ended the longest game in the history of Canada’s National Midget Championship, gave the Prince Albert Mintos a 4-3 win and left Samuel Levac and the Grenadiers de Châteauguay with silver, it was a mixture of emotions for Jordan.
“I was definitely very proud of him after the final game, but I think the reason we were all disappointed is because we had such high expectations for him,” he says. “But the loss didn’t take anything away from what he accomplished; it was truly something big.”
With emotions still running high, Samuel’s first phone call was home to his brother, 32 months his junior.
“I called him up right after the game,” Samuel says. “My brother and I are very close so I really wanted to share that moment with him. I know he’s always looked up to me and wants to follow in my footsteps, that’s why I didn’t hesitate to call him first and speak with him.
“I just couldn’t find the words to describe what had just happened or how I felt, so despite the silence, I still wanted to share that moment with him. I would’ve really liked him to be there with me.”
Fast forward one year, and Jordan is there.
The younger Levac has followed his brother into the Grenadiers’ line-up – wearing the same No. 63 that Samuel wore last year in Moose Jaw, Sask. – and has helped Châteauguay back to the TELUS Cup.
And Jordan doesn’t have to go quite as far for his shot at a national title, with Rivière-du-Loup just a five-hour drive from St-Polycarpe, meaning there will be plenty of support for him and the Grenadiers.
“All my close family will be there during the week to support me,” he says. “I already know that if we qualify for the next rounds of the tournament, my cousins and some of my friends will also be making the drive to come cheer me on.”
Despite the memorable season that Samuel had in 2013-14, it didn’t finish quite the way he wanted it to, so big brother is just a little envious of little brother and what he has the chance to accomplish.
“I know we had an incredible run last year and I really enjoyed getting the opportunity to travel to (the TELUS Cup),” Samuel says. “But if I had to choose, I would much rather have played in Quebec. It would have been incredible to play in my province and to win on home soil.”
Any Midget hockey fan, and any player who has walked on the Road to the TELUS Cup, can attest to just how difficult it is to simply reach Canada’s National Midget Championship, let alone win it. So for a team to get there in back-to-back years is no small feat.
But to have two brothers qualify, with the same team, a year apart? That’s an even greater one.
So what exactly would it mean for the Levac family if Jordan was able to win the TELUS Cup?
“If he won the gold, I wouldn’t know how else to describe it other than the fact it would be incredible,” says Samuel, who spent this season with the Maroons de Lachine of the LHJQ. “It would be the cherry on top of the sundae and the result of all the sacrifices that my parents, myself and Jordan have made in the past years.”
“For me, it would be a huge accomplishment,” little brother adds. “Not many players get to win such an important honour.
“Plus, it would also allow me to bug my big brother a little bit since he made it to the final but wasn’t able to win,” Jordan adds with a laugh.
While Samuel’s biggest piece of advice to Jordan was to take it game by game, he still has a hard time not looking at the big picture, the journey he’s taken so far and the one he’s about to take.
“Just last year I couldn’t believe that I was watching my big brother play on national television,” Jordan says. “That’s what makes it so much crazier. I never imagined that one year later it would be my turn to compete for a TELUS Cup.”