Position: C ▪ Shoots: Left
Height: 6-0 (183 cm)
Weight: 195 lbs. (88 kg)
Born: February 7, 1975 (Age 41.089) in Montreal, Quebec
Draft: Ottawa, 1st round (1st overall), 1993 NHL Entry
Amateur Teams: Victoriaville Tigres
For complete stats visit: www.hockey-reference.com/players/d/daiglal02.html
The career of Alexandre Daigle can be viewed as a textbook example of how lofty expectations and mismanaged development can lead to what some consider being a disappointing career.
In the early 90’s Alex was in the spotlight. The man was dubbed the next Mario Lemieux, as he shared French Canadian heritage and dubbed a “sure thing” after posting spectacular numbers in the juniors.
So, just what happened to the “Mario Incarnate”?
After being selected 1st overall and given the highest entry contract in league history (5 year, $12.5 million dollar contract. Incidentally this contract laid the roots for the rookie salary cap), Alex was flying pretty high stating in an interview, “I am glad I got selected 1st, because no one remembers number 2”.
I suppose it is hard to stay humble at times like that.
The season started out great and it appeared Alex was ready to inherit the “Hockey God” status that was bestowed on him.
However, things quickly began to sour in Ottawa. Several incidents with team officials, altercations with other players (notably Alexei Yashin) and extracurricular activities that included allegations of drug use, begin to take its toll on the organization. Eventually Alex was relegated to the 4th line and the coaching staff axed.
After the 1999-2000 season, Alex decided to take a break from the world of professional hockey. He was just 25 years old at the time and after being bounced around by a few different franchises (Philadelphia, Tampa Bay, Edmonton, New York), coupled with the fact no one was willing to take a chance on a player that was deemed to be an “underachiever”. He decided he had enough. He lost his passion for the sport and wanted some time away from the game to pursue other interests.
Alex went to L.A and became interested in the entertainment industry and began playing in a celebrity hockey league on a team owned by Jerry Bruckheimer (“Bad Boys”).
Also, around this time he formed a promotion company called “Impostor Entertainment”. There first project was a Sheryl Crowe concert that took place during the Canadian Grand Prix (Formula One) in Montreal.
The circumstances of Alex’s arrival to organization are interesting.
After a 2 year break and a lightened pocket book, Alex decided it was time to make a comeback. Several franchises were contacted to gain an invitation to training camp. Pittsburgh took the bait.
Alex ended up having a tremendous camp leading the Pens in scoring, igniting excitement and rejuvenating his spirit.
Could this be the season, he was going to reach his potential of the becoming the next MARIO?
Sadly not. The luster wore off pretty quickly and the specter of Alex attaining the superstar designation faded.
Alex ended up spending the majority of the season with WBS Penguins and put up some respectable numbers. In 40 games he put up 38 points; however he was never quite able to replicate that production with the big club.
Pittsburgh realized that although Alex wouldn’t be able to be a big contributor to the offensive side of the ice, there was still some aspects of his game that they would be able utilize. Alex adapted more of a defensive style and was deployed in those situations.
At the end of the season he was released by the Penguins and spent the next couple of years playing for the Minnesota Wild, then on to drifting from team to team in the Swiss League.
His game seemed more natural to the European style of play as he put up 166 points in 164 games.
From a pure hockey perspective, Alex had a respectable career in the NHL amassing 327 points (129 goals, 198 assists) in 616 games.
Alex is now a real estate agent in the Montreal area, living a quiet life with his family. Once a week he suits up and plays pick-up hockey.
So there it is.
We will never know if given the proper development and a “fair” set of expectations would have had any impact on the course of Alex Daigle’s career.
All I know is Alex was Once-a-Penguin and that is good enough for me.
Thanks for reading.