Rourke Chartier hopes a strong training camp will turn a professional try-out agreement into a full-time stay in the Friendly City. The Saskatoon native was named an alternate captain in Belleville’s first exhibition contest and acquitted himself well throughout the weekend, scoring in both of the Senators’ weekend pre-season games. He was pleased to find the back of the net after he had generated reduced offensive numbers in a shortened 2021 campaign, recording just two goals and six assists in 28 games with the Toronto Marlies.
“After last year, I had a pretty rough go with my offensive game,” Chartier said. “I wasn’t happy with how it ended. Anytime you score, even in the pre-season, to get the confidence and that feeling back, hopefully I can carry that into the regular season.”
Looking to rejuvenate his career, the chance to rebound by working with a top American Hockey League coach was a primary motivator for the 25-year-old, who says Troy Mann has the respect of players around the league.
“It was a big reason I wanted to come here, and with talking to my agent and going through your options of what you’re going to do the next season, every player that has ever played here that I’ve talked to has a lot of praise for Troy and how honest of a guy he is. Even last year, you’d see how hard these guys would work and get the sense guys want to play for him. It’s been all positive, and it’s what I expect. Hopefully, I keep earning his trust and see how the regular season goes.”
Even without a contract, Rourke is enjoying his time in Belleville.
“I don’t mind being on a PTO one bit. I think you need to prove yourself every day in this league. Ultimately, the goal is to end up back in the NHL.”
The left-shooting pivot has drawn into 13 NHL games and notched his first NHL goal on October 28, 2018 against the Anaheim Ducks.
Chartier is also looking forward to playing in front of a live crowd again: “I think this is a great rink. I played obviously last season with no fans in Toronto but previously in San Jose, and some of the Pacific teams didn’t always have the largest draws. I think it will be refreshing playing in Canada. From what I’ve heard, it can get a pretty good crowd, especially when you get your rivals in here,” he said of CAA Arena. “Everyone is just excited to play in front of fans again. That’s what it’s really all about, and get some excitement in the building.”