St. Cyr at the Stars and Stripes Showdown at USA Hockey Arena (photo by Rena Laverty)
How many times has Dylan St. Cyr been asked about his mother, Manon Rhéaume?
“Yeah, I get asked a lot,” St. Cyr said.
The former National Team Development Program standout and current Notre Dame goaltender is more than aware of the hockey history with which his family will forever be tied. Rhéaume shattered the NHL’s gender barrier Sept. 23, 1992, when she suited up for one period of a preseason game between her Tampa Bay Lightning and St. Louis Blues.
Rhéaume, who went on to enjoy a five-year professional career spanning seven teams, strapped on the pads for something greater than an exhibition contest. Her presence in net opened the door for young girls’ aspirations of playing professional hockey. She later dropped the puck at the ceremonial opening faceoff before the inaugural game of the National Women’s Hockey League.
Through his tenure with the NTDP, St. Cyr, too, can attest to the feeling of wearing the gear for a larger cause.
“Any time you get to represent your country is something special,” St. Cyr said. “You’re playing for something much bigger than a hockey club.”
He’s since traded in one storied mask of red, white and blue for another of solid gold and is set to begin his sophomore year at Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish will play host to the NTDP in a College Series matchup Oct. 7 in South Bend, Indiana. Having been a part of both locker rooms, St. Cyr anticipates a hard-fought battle.
“It’s awesome for the experience on the NTDP side for them to be able to play at such a high level,” St. Cyr said. “It’s awesome to see such a highly-touted team and get the opportunity to play against them.”
St. Cyr is no different than many other hockey players, whose love for the game stems from family connections, and the ability to maintain close contact with both of his hockey-playing parents proved crucial to his development as a goaltender. They both instilled confidence in their son and have seen the benefits through St. Cyr’s experience with the NTDP and now with the famed gold of Notre Dame fitted over his head.
It’s awesome to see such a highly-touted team and get the opportunity to play against them.
St. Cyr guided the U.S. Men’s National Under-18 Team to the gold medal at the 2017 IIHF Under-18 Men’s World Championship and played every minute of the tournament between the pipes. The Las Vegas native made 84 starts across two years for the NTDP and later received an invitation to the first annual Stars & Stripes Showdown at USA Hockey Arena, an event which featured some of the game’s top American-born stars.
“Being able to go to them for any questions I had …” St. Cyr said. “The mental game is something I was always able to fall back on them for and use those resources in all my family to learn what it takes to get to the next level.”
He doesn’t let his family’s legacy overshadow his own goals, but as St. Cyr’s competition continues to increase, he knows he’ll always have a goaltending coach in his back pocket whenever she’s needed.
“(My mother) did play, and the basics haven’t changed, so she’s taught me a lot,” St. Cyr said. “That’s something that’s never going to change.