Patrick Roy’s passion now placed in junior hockey (Part 2)

By Simon Richard





Patrick Roy’s passion now placed in junior hockey (Part 1)

Patrick Roy recently spoke to Hockey’s Future about his new passion at
the Quebec Pepsi Colisee. Part 1 of this article was published on October 30th.

Junior
hockey has changed since 1984

Patrick Roy played three years for the Granby Bisons
in the QMJHL. He had a 4.44 GAA the year of his NHL Draft eligibility with a
less than average Bisons team. That seems an astronomic number, but the
league’s overall GAA was 5.51 that season.

 

Roy was a 1984 Montreal Canadians third round
selection, 51st overall. We all know what happened after that.

 

"The league and the way the game is played have
completely changed since I played junior," answered Roy when asked to
comment the differences between then and now in the QMJHL.

 

"The tactical game has significantly changed, the
teams forecheck very well now. The players play much better in each of the
three zones, not only in the offensive one as they used to in the 1980’s. The
coaches also improved, they did not master the different aspects of the game as
they do now.

 

"Off the ice, education is now more important for
the players. At best, there were no more than 70 percent studying with the
Bisons when I played there whereas 100 percent are studying this year with the
Quebec Remparts.

 

"The traveling is now very hard for the players.
There were no teams in the Maritimes back then but the league’s expansion in
the East is simply extraordinary. This is quite a success for the league and
for the players."

Sharing
experience and emotions

The man who took home three Vezina Trophies does not
restrain his role around the Remparts’ office or locker room.

 

"I like very much the contact with the players,”
Roy said. “I have the opportunity to
share with them both my own experiences and those of other players I have
witnessed along my career.

 

"This is junior level, but this is hockey and
there are many similarities with the NHL. Junior hockey is just at a smaller
scale.

 

"I have a great satisfaction helping
the kids to eventually become professional players. I like to work on the
psychological side and contribute to help them to become men."

There are anecdotes around the Remparts about Roy’s
aptitude in working with the psychology of the players. For example, after a
poor game played last October, he was so upset he closed the players dressing
room and confined them aside in a small room equipped with only two showers or
so.

 

The message given to the players was that they need to
demonstrate they deserve to use the famous comfortable dressing room they have
been provided.

 

The players were asked to judge by themselves when
they would deserve to re-enter the main dressing room. They had to ask the
coach at the appropriated moment. They came back strong on the ice in the
following games, but have not yet asked the question to the coach when we met
Roy.

 

Roy remains the same. He was known as a player for
emitting and propagating emotions around him. He keeps this going in his new
role.

Roy
touches many facets

Patrick Roy shares his experience with the players. He
communicates his passion for the game, teaches and gives technical advice. And
American born players Andrew Andricopoulos and Joey Ryan even
live in his house.

 

"Patrick is very generous with the kids. They
appreciate him a lot,” the director of services Nicole Bouchard told Hockey’s
Future. “They are perfectly aware of the chance they have to play here and be
in touch with Patrick.

 

"At first, they were a little bit upset, but they
are used to his presence now. I think that many players across the league envy
the Remparts.

 

"Patrick created a new era here, he provided a
strong leadership. His contribution is simply indescribable," added
Bouchard.

 

"His passion for the game is exceptional,"
said chief scout Denys Faucher. “Roy’s dedication to his team and to the
players is remarkable. In his new role, he wants to win as much as he wanted as
a player."

 

Roy’s remarkable stature has also an impact at the
league level. Commissioner Gilles Courteau commented, "His presence is
extraordinary for the QMJHL. He played junior here, had great success in the
NHL and is sharing his experience and his success with us.

 

"He has not only gotten involved in the
ownership, but also in the hockey operations which is great. His presence in
the league generates a lot of positive elements. Mr. Roy obviously didn’t do it
for the money, but for his passion for this sport."

 

Commissioner Courteau is proud that many retired NHL
players are involved in the QMJHL.
Former OHA’s MVP Bobby Smith is both the Halifax Mooseheads majority
owner and president. Cam Russel (Gatineau Olympics) is a consultant for the
Mooseheads. Guy Carbonneau is the president of his former junior team, the
Chicoutimi Sags. Pat Lafontaine (Verdun Juniors) is now co-owner of the PEI
Rockets.

Roy’s
comments on some important topics

On the place of Quebec-born players
in the league (down to 75 percent):

"The territory of the league is now wider than it
was in the past, it is the same thing in the NHL. Both levels want to group
together as much good hockey players as possible.

 

"This has a positive impact in Quebec as it
creates competition and forces the Quebec Hockey Federation to innovate. This
competition requires the Quebec Federation to find new ways to get the kids
interested in hockey and then to improve the development program of the young
players."

On the absence of a junior team in
Montreal (40 percent of the province’s population):

"Sure it would be good for the league, being
easier for the league’s authorities to get commercial revenues from large
companies. On the other side, we can’t do anything if the fans do not support a
team in Montreal area. That is the first condition, we can’t always spend
energy trying to build and undo a concession. There must be fans interested to
go to the games."

On the agreement between the CHL and
the NHL (lost revenue to CHL teams):

"It is part of the game,” answered Roy
spontaneously. “We also lost Simon Gagne few years ago. How many eligible
midget players do we grab in the midget AAA leagues? You know, we have to
remember that our league’s first goal is to develop players who want to reach
the NHL.

 

"Both (Pierre-Marc) Bouchard’s and Gagne’s goal
was to play in the NHL. That is why they earlier had chosen to play in the
QMJHL. Unfortunately for their junior team and fortunately for them, they
succeeded in reaching their goal sooner than average.

"I know that there are a lot of people who don’t
see it the way I do, but there is nothing we can do. If we want to change the
rules, that could mean we could not get the 16-year-olds.

"It’s true that the European teams receive a lot
of money from the NHL for their young players, but those can be sent in the AHL
at 18 years old which is not the case in the CHL."

Conclusion

These days, nothing is easy in the world of hockey.
The NHL lockout is on and there are a lot of other problems to fix in order to
improve the game and bring back the passion. The involvement of Roy and those
like him at the junior and minor hockey levels is a crucial contribution to the
hockey.

 

Roy had to conclude the chat with Hockey’s Future in
his office, in a hurry to reach an arena in town. He is the assistant coach of
the Beaubourg Bantam AA team for which his son Frederick plays. When he has
some time left, he also skates with his older son Jonathan and his Sainte-Foy
Midget AAA team.

 

Some day, Roy will be remembered not only for his
goaltending records, but also his huge contribution to junior hockey.

 

Simon
Richard is the author of La Serie du siecle, Septembre 1972, a book about the
Summit Series published in 2002.
Copyright 2004 Hockey’s Future. Do not duplicate without permission of the
editorial staff.