After forward Michael Joly spent last season splitting time between the AHL’s Hartford Wolfpack and the Greenville Swamp Rabbits of the ECHL, he signed with the Colorado Eagles for the 2017-18 campaign and is playing a large role for the Eagles, who seek a second consecutive Kelly Cup.

Before turning pro, Joly played four seasons in the QMJHL as a member of the Rimounski Oceanic, and later became a member of the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in his final year of junior hockey. Joly then made the immediate jump to the American Hockey League, where he would spend a few games as a member of the Hartford Wolf Pack before being sent down to the ECHL with the Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

“I still have a lot of work to do, last year I finished pretty good, and I was able to gain a lot of experience. I was unlucky to get injured at the end of the year, but I do still think that I have a lot of work to do,” Joly said.

Now as a member of the Colorado Eagles, Joly has been a difference-maker for the team, leading the Eagles with 31 points in 25 contests, including a league-leading 20 goals, as he seeks to make a spot on the Avalanche roster next season.

“I talked to the Avs, and I knew that there would be no spot for me this year. So what I am basically trying to do is give my best to the Eagles, and try to get my contract for next year [with the Avalanche],” Joly said.

As with any athlete, family plays an important role in the player’s development, as well as playing the role of a support group. This was no different for Joly — but he also had the advantage of an experienced hockey family.

Michael Joly’s oldest brother, Raphael Joly, currently plays professional hockey in Europe as a member of the Fuchse Duisburg hockey club. Raphael has an obvious scoring touch, as he has 22 points in 15 games played this season for his German club.

His other brother, D’Artagnan Joly, was drafted in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft to the Calgary Flames. To continue his development, he is staying in the QMJHL with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar.

The roots are apparent as Michael’s uncle, Yvan Joly, was drafted in the 1979 NHL Entry Draft by the Montreal Canadians, and spent the majority of his playing career playing for the Nova Scotia Voyageurs, and the Maine Mariners.

Along with the success of his brothers, and his uncle, Michael has learned plenty from his father, who also played hockey as a goaltender, and receives high praise for his knowledge of the game.

“I had to compete all the time with my older brothers, and it was just good for me. My dad was a goalie, so he knows hockey, and he probably knows hockey more than a lot of people that I know, and it has always been good for me,” Joly said.

As the Eagles look to defend the Kelly Cup to conclude their final season in the ECHL, the team will continue to look at Joly to be one of the main cogs in their machine. Joly’s success will be a key component for Colorado to raise the Kelly Cup for back-to-back titles.