Patrick Roy does not hide his head in the sand: the 2022-2023 season will probably be his last behind the Quebec Remparts bank. And the succession plan is already underway.
• Read also: Patrick Roy and the QMJHL: “We had good exchanges”
Photo Agency QMI, Pascal Huot
Patrick Roy could very well step down from the Remparts head coaching job and make way for Simon Gagné.
After a period of reflection that allowed him to realize that he wanted to return to complete the cycle started with the current core of players, Roy is back and, with just a few hours to go before the official start of his season, on Friday night against the Saguenéens of Chicoutimi. , he assures us that he always enjoys working with young people.
He does not hide that the arrival of Simon Gagné as second coach and advisor to the general manager allows him to breathe a little easier.
“I am aware that this will probably 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 at the time with Ken Hitchcock and Mike Yeo. We have a plan in mind, but it all depends 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 to familiarize himself with life as a head coach in the QMJHL, who coached his son to a pee-wee level before joining the team.
So it will be up to him to decide if the QMJHL venture is for him, and if so, a scenario where Gagné takes over the Remparts next season, with Roy retaining the CEO job, would be a very strong possibility. .
“here to stay”
Photo Agency QMI, Pascal Huot
Simon Gagné with a smile on his face, this Wednesday.
Gagné, who for the moment claims to enjoy every second of his new job, doesn’t want to project himself into the future too quickly either.
“I think in the end, it is Patrick who will decide. Many think it will be next year, but he will decide. He is here to stay if he wants to. He did not hide that quietly and not quickly he will leave 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 do not 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 in the future. »
One thing is certain, Gagné was quickly put in the bathroom.
On September 10, in a pre-season game against Shawinigan, he had to take control of the bench to a show of hands late in the first half after Roy was sent off for a dispute with a referee.
“I like 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 for a split second and we had to get down to business. […] We had our full lineup. As a trainer, you don’t want to be taken advantage of by the other side’s trainer, that you get into your fourth lane and he’s first and you look crazy. It was to see this. It arrives quickly, but I really liked it. Plus, the win felt good. »
The Memorial Cup, the objective of this season
The Red Devils will be on a mission this season
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Simon Gagné and Patrick Roy behind the Remparts bank.
After seeing their ambitions for greatness curtailed sooner 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 from last season. .
Roy has said it many times and so have the players: the heartbreaking loss to Shawinigan in the semifinals last year still hurts.
But now you have to turn the page, says the technician.
“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 thing to us. I just want you 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 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 bring 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 rival and that plays within its values.
“Our objective is not the President Cup, it is the Memorial Cup. However, I don’t want to go there right away. It will be important to be focused every day to be better. We already have very good chemistry and a group of players that sticks together. »
That yes, the expectations will be high for the Remparts this year, who have made it clear that they want to win and that, in addition, they will acquire Justin Robidas during the Christmas 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 team for the Memorial Cup. Being a favorite is on paper and, unfortunately, paper is worth nothing when you’re on the ice. I saw the Rimouski Océanic last year, and they came without complexes against Saint-Jean in the first round, and even against us, it was hard to play them. It is played on ice and that is where we have to give our best. We may have talent on paper, but if we do not play in our values and our culture, it is worth nothing. »
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