It’s certainly no surprise that two guys with family roots in New Brunswick would end up as passionate hockey players and fans.
Local businessman and Avon resident Jules Poirier and Connecticut Whale forward Kelsey Tessier may have grown up in separate countries but both became passionate hockey fans and players, albeit at different levels. They are also now good friends who recently learned of their strong connections.
Two of Poirier’s cousins are firefighters who work in the same area as Tessier’s parents — his father a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and his mother a 911 dispatcher.
The families also live within a mile and a half of each other in Moncton, New Brunswick and one of Poirier’s relatives attended school with Tessier.
So when Tessier came to Hartford to play with the Whale, Poirier’s cousin told him about Tessier.
They first became friends on Facebook and later began hanging out.
"It’s amazing how small the world really is,” Poirier said.
“We just clicked,” Tessier added. “I’ve known his family for a long time. “
Poirier has hosted Tessier for cookouts, introducing him to Avon and the surrounding area.
The Farmington Valley’s natural beauty reminds him of home, Tessier said.
Of course, the two share many hockey connections. It may not be the same level, but Poirier also plays center and wing for his team The Boneheads, part of the Connecticut Hockey League.
His love of hockey started at age 2, when his father, a coach in Hartford, began building in the family’s back yard.
Poirier played youth hockey and he and his father had season tickets to the Whalers.
“It’s awesome to see Jules is a hockey fanatic,” Tessier said. “He’s so passionate about it.
Tessier learned his love of hockey from his dad, a passionate hockey fan and his older brother, who played before him.
Tessier started playing at age 5.
“I’m glad I took that lesson,” he said.
At age 13 he went to Shattuck-St. Mary's School in Minnesota to play hockey before finishing at a public school in Denver.
Tessier was later drafted to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey league and worked with players including Patrick Roy, a Stanley Cup Winning goaltender.
In 2008 Tessier was a fourth-round draft pick to Colorado. He was later released but picked up by New York.
This will be his third year in Hartford, the American Hockey League affiliate of the New York Rangers.
“I’m passionate about hockey,” Tessier said. “My dream has been to play in the NHL.”
It’s also fun.
“You go on the ice and you don’t think about anything but what you love doing. I enjoy it. My whole life is to play hockey.”
Tessier takes that passion to the hockey in the streets program, which works with inner city youth. He’s even won accolades for his community service from the American Hockey League.
“I love seeing the kids with a big smile,” Tessier said. “That’s a big key right there.”
Poirier said he really admires Tessier’s charity and non-profit work, something he has done a lot of with at the Jules Poirier Company, an Avon business that dates back to 1955.
“I love how he gives back, which is something I’ve done with my business,” Poirier said.
“He’s a very generous, polite individual,” Poirier added.