Ex-California player LeMarque tells story on big screen
Hockey is a sport played in the winter months, so needless to say, it’s cold.
Eric LeMarque experienced something far colder back in 2004 when he was lost in the Sierra Nevada wilderness, but survived for a week by living in a makeshift igloo and eating pine nuts and pine needles.
He lost both feet in the ordeal due to extreme frostbite.
His story is now being told in a motion picture, “6 Below,” which stars Josh Hartnett as LeMarque, and hit theaters Oct. 12. Tickets can be purchased at www.6BelowTheMovie.com. The story is also in book form, also titled “6 Below,” and is available on Amazon for those who want the whole story and enjoy reading.
“I got the book into the hands of some producers who focus on real-life stories that people can relate their own lives to,” said LeMarque. “The movie is almost 100 percent accurate – the messaging beats are the same and how it happened are very similar, just told a bit different at times.”
Portions of the film were filmed in 2016 with the California Heat youth hockey organization. LeMarque’s son currently plays for the Heat’s Squirt A team.
“The California Heat Hockey Club is first class,” LeMarque said. “They offer more for players through their coaching staff, ice time and a special family touch to California hockey.”
Born in France, LeMarque lives in Los Angeles and has taught as a local hockey coach. He played hockey in the 1994 Winter Olympics for France, scoring one goal in three games. He played five seasons with the French National Team and also represented France in the 1994 and 1995 International Ice Hockey Federation World Championships and played a handful of NHL preseason games with the Boston Bruins.
“My first preseason game was against the Montreal Canadians at the Montreal Forum,” remembered LeMarque. “It was surreal getting two goals and an assist with one fight – a good start for my professional career. I received great advice from (Boston defenseman) Ray Bourque, who said ‘respect everyone and fear no one.’ He taught me to believe you are just as good, if not better than anyone you are playing against and not to be caught up on anything other than what it takes within your professional and athletic lifestyle. Putting in the work on and off the ice will give you the best chance for success. I was also taught that talent is not enough for success. You need to always add hard work to the talent to have consistent success.”
Growing up, LeMarque played for Topanga Canyon Ice Hockey Club, Culver City, Marina Cities, Newbury Park, Burbank and then at 15, he left California and played Midget AAA for Detroit Compuware, winning back-to-back national championships. He graduated high school at 17 and then played four years at NCAA Division I Northern Michigan University from 1986-90, scoring 50 goals and adding 83 assists in 160 games.
LeMarque said his message in both the film and book is one that is based on his life-threatening experiences on that frigid mountain side.
“No matter what you are faced with, you can overcome anything with the right attitude, determination and faith as you speak to your situation lifting you out of a valley onto the top of a mountain,” said LeMarque.
And by staying involved and attentive as a hockey parent, LeMarque said he sees the growth of hockey in California as positive, but it begins behind the bench of each association.
“We need to put the best coaches with the most experience into the head coaching roles,” said LeMarque. “To compete with the best in North America, we need coaches who have lived the game, are experienced coaches, are experienced healthy adults who understand relationships and people and what motivates young adult athletes so that they not only became great athletes, but moreover, become successful people.”
— Matt Mackinder
(Nov. 2, 2017)