Photo credit: @LongLiveTheAnt
By Alexandra Evans
SAN JOSE—Antoine Bibeau grew up in Victoriaville, Quebec, Canada. Most children around him began playing hockey at a very early age, in which he took part. One of his greatest influences growing up was former Montreal Canadiens (Bibeau’s favorite team as a child) and Colorado Avalanche goaltender Patrick Roy, who won a Stanley Cup with Colorado in 1996 and 2001, during Bibeau’s single-digit age years.
The 23 year-old goaltender stands at 6 feet 3 inches and weighs 213 pounds. His maternal great-uncle played as a goaltender for the Quebec Nordiques of the NHL, who, he believes, served as another net minding inspiration for him.
Beginning in 2009, Bibeau played five seasons in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League for the Trois-Rivières Draveurs, Lewiston MAINEiacs, Prince Edward Island Rockets, Charlottetown Islanders, and the Val d’Or Foreurs. It was not until he arrived in Prince Edward Island that he learned to speak English (his native language is French).
“It was pretty bad,” Bibeau said of his English-speaking skills at the time. Thankfully, with the help of his girlfriend and hockey coaches (who were always giving commands in English), Bibeau picked up the language thoroughly.
In 2014, Bibeau helped the Val-d’Or Foreurs advance to the QMJHL championship, where they won the President’s Cup. Following the 2013-2014 season, he was awarded the Guy Lafleur Trophy as the QMJHL Most Valuable Player and the Hap Emms Memorial Trophy as the Memorial Cup’s Most Outstanding Goaltender. Bibeau was also admitted to the CHL Memorial Cup All-Star team.
Bibeau was drafted by the Toronto Maple Leafs 172nd overall in 2013. The following year, he began playing for their American Hockey League affiliate, the Toronto Marlies. In 32 games with the Marlies in 2016-2017, he notched a 13-14-5 record, a .894 save percentage, a 3.08 GAA, and three shutouts, for which he tied 12th amongst all AHL goalies. Since the start of his AHL career in 2014, he has attained a 56-33-11 record, a .906 save percentage, a 2.79 GAA, and 10 shutouts.
He was called up to two Maple Leafs games during the 2016-2017 season, making his NHL debut on December 11, 2016. In these two games, he cultivated a 1-1-0 record, a .927 save percentage, and a 1.99 goals against average (GAA). Bibeau described his NHL appearances with Toronto as one of the milestones of his net minding career, from major junior all the way up to the pros.
San Jose signed Bibeau to a one-year deal when the free agency market opened on July 1, 2017. Like many non locals, Bibeau has been enjoying the sunny Bay Area weather since his arrival just before the start of the preseason.