If Charly Washipabano doesn’t have any groupies yet, it’s because he’s only 11. But with a 59-mile-an-hour slapshot and 14 goals so far this season, you can bet the groupies aren’t far off.

Washipabano, a Cree from Chisasibi, plays right-wing on the North Shore Elites, the top-ranked Atom AA hockey team in Quebec. He has 32 points so far this season. The Elites have an almost unblemished 22-1-1 record – just one loss. Washipabano might be young, but he’s already looking ahead to the future. In 10 years, he intends to be playing for the NHL.

But it’s not just hockey that Washipabano excels at. When he’s off the ice, he throws himself into school work. He’s such a good student, in fact, that he skipped grade 3. And somewhere in the middle of all this, he manages to enjoy himself. “It’s a lot of fun,” he says of his life down south. “My parents are proud. ”

Washipabano’s family has pulled together to support the boy’s fledgling career. Before he moved to play hockey in the Montreal area, the entire family packed their bags and moved for a year to Lac St-Jean so he could play on a Class B team there.

Since the fall, Washipabano has attended Secondary I in the Montreal area, where his favourite subjects are geography, music… and skiing. He lives in Terrebonne with friends of the family, Cino Ciarlo and Josee Nobert. The Washipabanos met the couple four years ago in Chisasibi, where Ciarlo used to teach and Nobert worked as a medical secretary.

But it’s not just his family and coach who have taken notice of Washipabano’s talents. On December 24, Montreal’s largest daily newspaper, Le Journal de Montreal, devoted an entire article to a gushing profile of “un enfant special… le sympathique Charly” (a special child… the likeable Charly). “In Chisasibi, the young Charly Washipabano is already a source of pride for his people,” the reporter exclaimed. “At the North Shore Elites, they count themselves lucky to have him.”

Looks like you got yourself a groupie, Charly.