Chris Beauchamp’s life has come full circle as he finds himself in familiar territory.
The Midland native spent two years in the OHL with the Brampton Battalion and Sarnia Sting, but it was his time in Sarnia that’s had a lasting impact. After playing 50 games with the Sting during the 2008-2009 season, Beauchamp finds himself back in Sarnia eight years later, as one of the newest Constables on the city’s police force.
Beauchamp says even while pursuing his hockey dreams, he’s always had an eye on law enforcement.
“It’s something I’ve always wanted to, I never wanted to pursue a career when I was indoors all the time. Hearing from other officers about their experience, it’s definitely not a job where you do the exact same thing everyday, and I’m really looking forward to that,” says Beauchamp. “It’s sort of funny how things work out, I loved my time here in Sarnia, I went to Northern Collegiate and I really enjoyed the people and fans here. Now eight years later I’m starting my policing career.”
Beachamp says he prepared for his new career the same way he did with his former one.
“The interview process can be long and stressful, it sort of reminded me of a lot of training camps I was involved in. The competition for policing is very competitive, just like hockey, so I know it was something I had to fully commit to realize my goal. I’ve always liked being a part of a team, you’re all working together for a common goal, and that’s the same case here with policing, we’re not just individuals we’re all working as a team.”
The Battalion drafted Beauchamp in the third round of the 2007 OHL draft out of the Barrie Colts Minor Midget Program, and he says leaving home at 16 helped him mature in a hurry. Many of those lessons he learnt during his playing days help him now that he’s a 26-year-old looking at pursuing a different dream.
Sarnia Police Constable Shawn Osborne has been in charge of the training branch since 2004, and says it’s not by chance that high level athletes also make good police officers.
“That could be any competitive organization, it could be hockey, dance, soccer, or anything. They have an element of discipline with playing and competing at that high level,” says Osborne. “Whether it’s self discipline, the acknowledgement of that coach-player relationship, all of this helps them through the recruiting process and basic training.”
Osborne says coming from that team dynamic, it translates well to policing.
“They truly understand the idea of a team, and that’s huge for us, you have to trust your fellow officers. We get in some very dynamic situations where officers’ lives might be on the line, and that’s when you need to rely on your team to help you get through those types of situation.”
A young hockey player needs to be dedicated to reach the OHL, it doesn’t happen by accident. Osborne says that level of commitment and dedication is something they look for in a recruit.
“You can’t just knock on the door of the police station and say I want to be a police officer today, it’s a lengthy process just to get through the application stage, let alone the recruiting stage. If someone wants to be a successful hockey player they are committed to that at an early age, and that level of commitment is needed to become a police officer.”
Osborne says the process can take a couple years, from the original application to when an officer finishes police college and is eventually sworn in, which is very high demand both academically and physically.
Beauchamp says fortunately he was still in good shape from his playing days, and had experience juggling the academic side of things. Taking advantage of the OHL Education Package during his time in Sarnia, game him an idea of what to expect after hockey.
“The OHL is doing great things to help plays after their careers are over, in my case I didn’t use up the entire education package because I started working at a young age as a special constable with the Midland Police Service.”
Beauchamp also played 21 games with the QMJHL’s Rouyn-Noranda Huskies, prior to finishing his junior career with the OJHL’s Trenton Golden Hawks.
He was officially sworn is as Constable, along with three others during a police board meeting in early August, and wasn’t the only one with a hockey background. Steven Farlow played four years with the Sarnia Legionnaires and Dani Girard played hockey during her time at Queen’s University.