80 players in action and a season of 1000 twists

Tonight, the Trois-Rivières Lions (ECHL) play a playoff game at home for the first time in their history. The Lions are trailing 2-0 in their series against the Newfoundland Growlers.

By the way, the match will be broadcast on TVA Sports 2.

For an expansion team to be able to make the playoffs is a great grassroots achievement. Climbing up a league isn’t always easy, but the Lions still managed to hold a 34-35 record.

And given the circumstances of this season, that’s an impressive result.

The pitfalls that faced the Lions’ leaders were so numerous that Marc-André Bergeron (GM) and Éric Bélanger (coach) had to work twice as hard to achieve good results.

That’s what the journalist Alexandre Pratt tells in his daily newspaper.

Of course, in the ECHL, expect AHL clubs to dip into their roster. If a team normally plans to field about 46 players a year, that was not the case for the Lions, who fielded as many as 80 players this year, which is probably a record.

Seven other players signed in City without ever playing, bringing the total to 87.

The Canadian’s fielding of 46 players this year has had a significant knock-on effect in Laval, but especially in Trois-Rivières, where Rocket would draw if need be.

That created unbelievable situations for head coach Éric Bélanger.

One day I met a guy in the arena parking lot. I asked him if he would play for us tonight. He answered yes.

Everything happened so fast I didn’t even know it! -Eric Belanger

Injuries, recalls, COVID-19 and other teams using tricks to prevent the Lions from signing players are all aspects that played against Marc-André Bergeron’s club.

For example? For example, a player who came only an occasional night was (unfairly) selected on waivers by a league club in Maine. And with the player apparently not coming forward, he was suspended, preventing the Lions from signing him a few weeks later should the need arise.

When we also start harming each other and getting in each other’s way, that’s a bit ridiculous. – Marc-Andre Bergeron

Not wanting to prevent the LNAH clubs from having their players, the GM went there with the guys who weren’t playing that night to go to Trois-Rivières. But still: At a certain point, the LNAH prevented players from going with the Lions, who turned to Senior Hockey in Mauricie for an equalizer.

And the players in question, the Lions CEO, didn’t know them all.

He even considered playing or letting his coach playr (which is forbidden) so much that they sometimes got into trouble.

So yes, in conditions like this, where the game plan is hard to execute in a few hours, it’s an accomplishment to see the Lions trust the game plan (that they’re winning with Quebecers).

While the game’s goal of winning the Kelly Cup doesn’t necessarily have to be achieved, what the expansion club has achieved is pretty insane. Now guys can take a step back and tell themselves it was crazy.

But in the middle of the season it wasn’t easy, as there was always a need to plan a new plan and (quickly) explain the game system to the newcomers.

In our league, teams have problems for two or three weeks a year. At this point you need to call the guy who lives next to the arena.

But for us it took… four months! – Marc-Andre Bergeron

However, they were lucky to be there to help the Rocket (and indirectly the Canadians) have players on hand to be replaced when COVID-19 hit in the winter.

We wish them a more normal year next year.

Much

– He’s on fire this season.

– Guy Lafleur could be himself on the ice. [TSN 690]

– Joël Bouchard likes his challenge in San Diego, even if it’s not always easy.

– Folder to see.

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