The Gospel According to Patrick Roy: Coaches & Quebec Hockey


I have always believed that hockey is a team sport. We must work collectively.” ~Patrick Roy

Colorado Avalanche Hall of Fame goalie, current head coach and vice president of hockey operations Patrick Roy was honored on May 26, 2015, at a pre-game ceremony for the Mastercard Memorial Cup in Quebec.

The organizers ran a touching tribute to the “local boy” who had a significant impact on Quebecois hockey. Roy joined an ownership group that brought the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Remperts back to Quebec City. In all, Patrick Roy spent 10 years as the team’s general manager and eight as both the part owner and coach of the Quebec Remperts.

Patrick Roy on Hockey in Quebec

Quebec City no longer has an NHL team, of course — 20 years ago the team was relocated here to Colorado. Naturally, Quebec as a territory still has an NHL team in the original-six Montreal Canadiens. Apparently that’s not sufficient for the citizens of Quebec City.

Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume states the Quebec Nordiques always had a rivalry with the Montreal Canadiens. Apparently he still gets stopped in the streets of Montreal with people stating they want to renew that rivalry.

Ironically, Patrick Roy never played for the Quebec Nordiques but cut his chops with the rival Montreal Canadiens — before joining the franchise that once was the Nordiques, the Colorado Avalanche. However, he’s a native of Quebec City, and there’s that whole Remperts connection.

In any case, Roy wants to see the NHL return to Quebec City:

"“This is a great hockey town. I really hope one day there will be an NHL team here in Quebec.”"

Roy pointed out that the Remperts have done so well in the city:

"“For the past 10 years, the Remparts have been the #1 franchise in the CHL for attendance.”"

It would be perfectly lovely to have an expansion team go to Quebec City — as long as they’re not expecting their original franchise back.

Patrick Roy on Avalanche Coaching Staff

We all know the Colorado Avalanche fired their talent scout last October, Rick Pracey. Pracey was responsible for some sleeper picks such as defenseman Tyson Barrie (64th) and center Ryan O’Reilly (33rd), along with big hits such as center Matt Duchene (3rd) and left wing Gabriel Landeskog (2nd). However, Pracey hadn’t been on the Nathan MacKinnon train, and perhaps that’s when coach Roy started looking askance at him.

While coach Roy hasn’t stated outright he disliked the Joey Hishon selection, he has been very vocal about what he terms Pracey’s lack of vision. Roy has stated he wants the Avalanche to focus more on size and to draft for need over best talent available.

More recently, two other staffers for the Colorado Avalanche left the organization. Mario Duhamel served as the Avalanche’s video coach. He asked to leave the team so he could pursue another coaching gig, perhaps on the bench.

André Tourigny served as the team’s defensive coach. The Avalanche had some bad puck possession and shots differential statistics last season — plus there was that whole switching from man-on-man to zone defense debacle.That may be one factor that put heat on Tourigny.

The party line is that Tourigny resigned to pursue head coaching opportunities. Indeed, during the pre-game ceremony, Patrick Roy discussed Tourigny’s departure (translated from French):

"“André wanted more responsibility, and we were not on the same wavelength in terms of job definitions. André wanted to take up more space, but I have always believed that hockey is a team sport. We must work collectively, and everyone should feel important. This probably motivated his decision.”"

Just a quick reminder, Patrick Roy is already in the Hockey Hall of Fame for playing and has already earned a trophy as a coach. He has the final say over another Hall of Famer when it comes to personnel decisions (Joe Sakic, though Roy says all decisions are mutual). In other words, what Roy says goes.

Speaking of big coaching personalities…

Patrick Roy on Mike Babcock’s Contract

Then-Detroit Red Wings head coach Mike Babcock made big news last week when he left the team and signed with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Turns out that contract is quite lucrative — $50 million for eight years. That’s $6.25 million a year.

Patrick Roy likes Babcock’s contract:

"“I think Mike is probably one of the best coaches in our game. He’s been in the league a long time and he earned that right.”"

Patrick Roy looks at the signing as an overall good move for hockey in general:

"“If you look at all the sports, I think hockey was a little behind, looking at coaches being paid. And not just the coaches, the assistant coaches as well. I think our game needs to look at this, and I hope that the what happened with Mike will help other coaches and assistant coaches one day.”"

Naturally, Roy might be thinking about his own contractual considerations. He’s got a couple years left on his four-year contract with the Colorado Avalanche. If he can repeat what he did his first season with the team… Well, he’ll be an even more valuable commodity.

Next: The Importance of Extending Erik Johnson's Contract

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