While some layoffs are sometimes hostile and difficult, in the case of Joël Bouchard it was quite the opposite. The Quebecer has no bitterness and simply explains the situation with a “competition of circumstances”.
Posted on May 12th
We learned Wednesday night that Joël Bouchard and his two assistants at the San Diego Gulls, Daniel Jacob and Maxime Talbot, were thanked by the Anaheim Ducks.
Back in Quebec, Bouchard didn’t hesitate to answer the call The press, Thursday morning. “I feel very good. It was super well done,” he says from the start.
The three coaches suspected something. The Ducks organization is in a period of transition. Managing Director Bob Murray, who has held the position for several years, left the company in October. Then in February Pat Verbeek was hired.
Bouchard, Jacob and Talbot are victims of the change of plans.
Honestly, we kind of knew it was coming. We spoke for 20 minutes, it was very cordial, we discussed files. There was mutual respect. Pat told us a few times that we were professionals.
“It’s not easy kicking people out, I’ve done that before. It’s no fun. We said to him: “Pat, we don’t know each other, that’s normal.” He doesn’t really know us either. »
Joël Bouchard recalls arriving “in the Bob Murray era”. When Bouchard’s contract with Laval Rocket expired, the 1ah July 2021 Murray was the first to call him.
“When she saw me on the 1stah Juli, we had a plan, he says. I felt good in Laval, I wasn’t unhappy. They were my boys. We had built something in three years. It’s a combination of circumstances, the reasons that brought me to Anaheim, and it’s a combination of circumstances, the reasons I left. »
“At the end of the day we went there with Bob Murray. Bob had a plan. This plan was what it was. Pat Verbeek arrives. He will put his plan into action, his structure. And honestly, he’s busy. »
When Joël Bouchard decided last year to leave Laval after three seasons as a Rocket pilot, he wanted “to have a new experience, to learn something different”. And he did.
It forced me to excel in another situation. It wasn’t the same deal in San Diego as it was in Laval. At some point in life you step out of your comfort zone. That’s what I decided and I regret it zero.
It wasn’t an easy season in Southern California. The CEO change has changed a lot. COVID-19 too.
“With Bob still in charge of everything, there were frayed lineups at times. We didn’t have it easy with COVID either, because we had it in two stages. It was six weeks of rotation, our boys didn’t get everything at once. Ducks guys got it afterwards. We played when we were 18 [joueurs], but we had a lot of depth. »
At one point, the team’s top two scorers were two defenders who were rotated forward. The coaches had to find solutions throughout the season.
“We gave ourselves a chance in every game, we were never demoted, we were there all the time. But sometimes a little target might be missing here and there. »
The Gulls eventually made it to the playoffs with a record of 28-33-7. “It was quite an achievement for us,” said Bouchard. The team was eventually eliminated by the Ontario Reign in two games.
What’s next for the 48-year-old? “I will spend time with the people I love and haven’t seen in a long time with COVID,” he replies. Many people didn’t come to see me, my parents didn’t travel. »
“It’s a bit weird because I’ve gotten a lot of text messages from people saying they’re sorry,” he says. But I’m not like that. I’m much more disappointed when the team loses. In the category of disappointments, that’s very low for me. »
Over the years, Bouchard has been the owner, managing director and trainer. He worked as the general manager of the World Juniors. It also has a hockey academy. The list of his achievements is long. “I really like coaching players, I’m passionate about it,” he suggests. Let’s see what the future will bring me. »