A co-owner of the Quebec Remparts for a number of years, Patrick Roy became the team’s General Manager following his retirement from the Colorado Avalanche, and early this season he also took over the head coaching responsibilities for the team. Although much less experienced as a coach than fellow Memorial Cup coaches Ted Nolan (Moncton Wildcats), Dick Todd (Peterborough Petes), or Don Hay (Vancouver Giants), Roy’s Remparts are coming off an important win last night against the Giants, giving them an even record through their first two games of the tournament.
Hockey’s Future caught up with Roy on the first of two off days for the Remparts.
HF: Why did you decide to get more involved with the team following your retirement from the NHL?
PR: Well, I started to think about junior three or four years before I retired and I always wanted to be involved in the community of Quebec and I thought it was a good way to do it, and the team was in danger of moving outside [the area], and with a group with Michel Cadrin and Jacques Tanguay, we got together and decided to buy the team and I thought it might be something I’d be interesting in doing when I retired, but not as much when it was my last year. I remember towards the end of my last year I spoke with Jacques Tanguay, who is the President of the Remparts and one of my partners, and I mentioned to him that I would like to be the GM of the team and he said fine, when the season was over let’s sit down and see how we’re going to do it.
HF: What did junior hockey mean to your development as a player?
PR: I thought it was the best league to play in at the time and I think it’s still the same. It’s amazing how it’s progressed over the years. The education, the traveling, there’s more teams in the league, there were no teams in the Maritimes and now there are teams in the Maritimes, and I think it’s just good for the league and it gives [the players] a lot of exposure and I think it’s a league that has evolved very well.
HF: Was the slow start to the season the primary reason you took over coaching responsibilities with the Remparts?
PR: Absolutely. First of all we weren’t pleased with the way we finished our last three games of the season, especially the last game in front of our fans, losing seven or eight to nothing. It wasn’t the type of loss we expected and then starting 1-4 was a very slow start and we didn’t feel the team was going in the right direction, and sometimes you have no choice but to go for a change. I was kind of looking forward to giving [coaching] a try and I thought it was the right time.
HF: You coached before, your son’s team I believe.
PR: Bantam, yes.
HF: Was that taste of it what you got interested in taking over the coaching?
PR: Absolutely. I really enjoyed coaching Bantam last year and I felt I wanted to give it a try at the junior level. I thought for me it would be a great experience and it actually has been a great experience and I’ve really enjoyed myself.
HF: What types of values and approach to the game have you pushed on your players this year?
PR: To me, it’s effort. Working, I think, is the thing we probably put the most emphasis on and we just want to make sure of that every time our guys are on the ice. It was a big change for our organization and we know that there’s still room for it, and we’re going to work even harder next year, but when you go from not too much to what we’ve been doing it’s a big change.
HF: Next season there’s a chance you might be facing off against your son who is going to play for Victoriaville (Goaltender Jonathan Roy was drafted by Victoriaville Tigres 43rd overall).
PR: There’s that possibility, he was drafted by them and we don’t know if he’s going to make the team, but if he does yeah, we should.
HF: Have you guys talked about how that might be, family-wise?
PR: I think that it’s going to be fun. We don’t put pressure on them, we just want to make sure every one of [our three kids] enjoys themselves and have fun playing hockey. I think that’s the way it should be.
HF: Who is a player who you feel in this playoff run and here at the Memorial Cup has impressed you, or improved, the most?
PR: Maxime Lacroix is a name that I have in mind. I mean he’s been terrific in the first two games and he’s really taking that opportunity I think to always playing to open the eyes of a lot of scouts and I’m sure he’s going to be pretty close to being drafted.
HF: Was (goaltender) Cedrick Desjardins’ Memorial Cup experience one of the reasons you got him for this year?
HF: Have you been pleased with his performance so far?
PR: Yes, we’ve been very pleased. He’s been one of the reasons we’re at the Memorial Cup, and in the Memorial Cup so far he knows he could give it a little bit more but he hasn’t given up any bad goals and that’s what we’re looking for. I mean he allowed us to stay in the game last night and it was a tough game, and it was a tough game for him against Peterborough [in the first game] in the way that we had a lot of shots but not too many shots on him (29) and sometimes that puts a lot of pressure on your goaltending, and I thought he did respond very well.
HF: Have you found Peterborough and Vancouver to be much different than the Q teams you faced this season? A lot of people draw comparisons between the three leagues, have you seen that first hand?
PR: I think they’ve looked more like Moncton. Us, I think we’re more offensive, I mean we’re cheating a little bit more than – I don’t like to use the word cheating – but we’re thinking more about offense than defense and we’re taking more chances than maybe those teams. I think a player like Gilbert Brule (CLB) would not have a hard time playing in our league, I mean he’s a really offensive minded player and it’s good to see that.
HF: Last night when your team was struggling against the Giants you seemed to be mixing the lines around a little bit. Angelo Esposito and Alexander Radulov (NAS), started to click last night, was the spark you sometimes rely on this year?
PR: Yes, absolutely. They’ve been the one-two punch that have helped us be where we are, with (Mathieu) Melanson, and we have (Marc-Edouard) Vlasic (SJ) and (Michal) Sersen (PIT) who’ve been very, very helpful for our team.
HF: Finally, you’ve said recently that you’re happy here in junior hockey and not interested in jumping into an NHL job. Is a position with an NHL team your ultimate goal though?
PR: Not as we speak. I mean that could change over the years, but as we speak I’m very comfortable in what I’m doing right now and it’s a perfect fit for me.
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