Patrick Roy is not putting his head in the sand: the 2022-2023 season will most likely be his last behind the Quebec Remparts bench. And the succession plan is already well underway.
• Read also: Patrick Roy and the QMJHL: “We had good exchanges”
Photo QMI Agency, Pascal Huot
Patrick Roy could well retire from the position of head coach of the Remparts and leave his place to Simon Gagné.
After a period of reflection which allowed him to realize that he wanted to return to conclude the cycle started with the current core of players, Roy is back and, a few hours from the official start of their season, Friday evening against the Saguenéens of Chicoutimi, he assures us that he always enjoys working with young people.
He does not hide the fact that the arrival of Simon Gagné as assistant coach and adviser to the general manager allows him to breathe a little easier.
“I am aware that this will most likely be my last season, but sometimes things can change. The arrival of Simon means that we can prepare the succession, as the Blues had done with Ken Hitchcock and Mike Yeo at the time. We have a plan in mind, but everything will depend on what Simon feels like doing. In the end, it is he who will make his decisions. »
As the Remparts explained when he was hired, Gagné will spend the season working with Roy in order to familiarize himself with life as a head coach in the QMJHL, he who, before joining the team, coached his son at pee wee level.
Then, it will be up to him to decide if the QMJHL adventure is made for him and, if so, a scenario where Gagné would take charge of the Remparts next season, with Roy retaining the position of general manager. , would be a very strong possibility.
“Here to stay”
Photo QMI Agency, Pascal Huot
Simon Gagné with a smile on his face, this Wednesday.
Gagné, who claims to enjoy every second of his new job for the moment, does not want to project himself into the future too quickly either.
“I think in the end, it’s Patrick who will decide. Many think it will be next year, but he will decide. He is here to stay if he wants. He did not hide that, quietly not quickly, he will abandon the coaching position. It’s going to take someone to replace him. For my part, I come here to learn every day. I will never embark on something that I don’t like 100%. So far, that’s the plan I have in mind. I appreciate what Patrick and Jacques have offered me, and we will see for the future. »
One thing is certain, Gagné was quickly put in the bath.
On September 10, in a preseason game against Shawinigan, he had to take control of the bench by a show of hands at the end of the first period after Roy was ejected because of a dispute with an official.
” I liked that ! It wasn’t like I had all day to think about it, to prepare and the nervousness was on board. There, the nervousness lasted a fraction of a second and we had to get down to business. […] We had our full line-up. As a coach, you don’t want to be taken advantage of by the coach on the other side, that you get on your fourth line and he’s his first and look crazy. It was to watch this. It comes quickly, but I really liked it. Besides, the victory felt good. »
The Memorial Cup, the goal this season
The Red Devils will be on a mission this season
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Simon Gagné and Patrick Roy behind the Remparts bench.
After seeing their ambitions for greatness curtailed earlier than they expected last season, the Remparts will once again be among the favorites to claim top honors this year, and Patrick Roy hopes his team will benefit from the experience learned. of last season.
Roy has said it many times and so have the players: the heartbreaking loss to Shawinigan in the semi-finals last year still hurts.
But now we have to turn the page, assures the head coach.
“I like to think we’re on a mission, but we have to be careful. I remember, in Colorado, during the Claude Lemieux incident against the Detroit Red Wings [en 1997], we had lost our focus. I don’t want last year’s show to do the same to us. I just want it to give us a good dose of motivation. I know we have learned and we know what we can do better. You have to use that to deliver good performances on the ice and not as a source of frustration. »
And Roy doesn’t just talk about his players.
“I also have to keep a cool head and I experienced that as a player. When we lost our focus with the Avalanche, it was very difficult years later. I really want to focus on the new season, what we can bring, and put aside what happened. We will have a very good team on the ice. »
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Patrick Roy welcomes a Remparts player to training camp in August.
This “great team,” Roy believes, will provide quality hockey to fans this season.
“There will be a lot of talent on the ice, if everyone comes back. On paper, we have a mature team. What we want is to continue in our culture, which consists of being a team that works hard every night, that is respectful of the opponent and that plays within its values.
“Our goal is not the President’s Cup, it’s the Memorial Cup. However, I don’t want to go there right away. It will be important to be focused every day in order to become better. We already have a very good chemistry and a group of players that holds together. »
Of course, expectations will be high for the Remparts this year, who have made it clear that they want to win and who, in addition, will acquire Justin Robidas during the holiday season.
A pressure that does not make Patrick Roy more nervous.
“It doesn’t scare me. I think it’s worse when you’re the host Memorial Cup team. Being a favorite is on paper and, unfortunately, paper isn’t worth anything when you’re on the ice. I watch the Rimouski Océanic last year, and they arrived without complexes against Saint-Jean in the first round, and even against us, it was hard to face them. It’s played on the ice and that’s where we have to be at our best. We may have talent on paper, but if we don’t play in our values and our culture, it’s worth nothing. »