Groulx comes home
Daylon Groulx’s career has come full circle.
The 20-year-old Fort Erie native, who began his junior career with the Fort Erie Meteors as a 16-year-old, will wear the orange and black once more.
Groulx has rejoined the Meteors and may suit up in a pre-season scrimmage as soon as this weekend after beginning the season playing professionally in Austria.
Groulx played in four games with the Klagenfurter AC II Red Jackets of the Austrian Hockey League, scoring four goals before being called up to the main team where he played in one game.
“It started off really well and then things with COVID got a lot worse,” Groulx said. “I think I realized there are more important things in life. I felt like spending time with my family what with the times that are happening now was most important.”
Groulx was quarantined for three weeks in Klagenfurt, a city of about 100,000. His father, Wayne Groulx, played in the same city and had accompanied his son to start the season.
“It was awesome,” Groulx said. “I was there for about two months. My dad was there with me and remembered it and we were playing in the same rink.”
But after three weeks in his apartment and the uncertainty of the season moving forward, Groulx made the decision to come home and play for the Meteors.
“I just think being home is more important now,” he said.
Groulx had to quarantine another two weeks after arriving home and couldn’t be happier to be joining the Meteors.
“It’s pretty cool. I obviously never really expected this to happen but I think it’s awesome,” Groulx said. “I have a lot of good memories here. I started my junior career here and to end it in the same place is pretty cool for sure.”
Groulx, who moved on to the Owen Sound Attack and Ottawa 67’s after his season Fort Erie, was born while his dad coached the Meteors. He has a special spot in his heart for the Passero family, particularly the late Tony Passero, who ran the team. Passero’s sons, Nik and Anthony, are now coaching the Meteors.
“I thought everything Nik and Anthony, and especially Tony have done for me in the past and how close I am with them, I obviously knew Fort Erie was the place I would want to finish my junior career,” he said.
Anthony Passero said the Meteors are thrilled to have Groulx back on board.
“It’s huge. This is something that we always get to see another team do,” Anthony Passero said. “It’s never really us. We’re kind of the little dog here. For all the years I played or watched, Fort Erie has missed out on this player. This player has come back and always gone to Caledonia or St. Catharines or maybe to another conference.
“I think it says massive things about Daylon’s character to come back where it all started.”
Anthony Passero remembers Daylon as a youngster coming to the rink with his father.
“We’re kind of like his older brothers and followed him through the whole thing,” Anthony said. “We’re proud of him. He has the character to come and be part of this.
“I can’t help bit think my dad is so proud of him. It has nothing to do with us. This was more him than us. When he called we had to pinch ourselves to make sure he wasn’t pulling our leg.”
Groulx, whose contract with Klagenfurter will be honoured next season, feels it’s a perfect fit to play for the Meteors once again under the circumstances.
“There is a bit of an upside because some leagues might not be playing,” he said. “If we’re lucky enough to play here, I think if I just work the way I would work in a game anywhere else, I’ll continue to get better for sure. I’ll continue to work out and skate throughout the whole year and that will help too.”
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