(Saint-Hyacinthe) “The ball is ours. For Jocelyn Thibault, general manager of Hockey Quebec, it is now his federation’s turn to organize his “revolution”.
Posted at 3:36pm
Hockey Quebec held its annual general meeting at a hotel in Saint-Hyacinthe on Saturday. In particular, the report of the Quebec Committee on the Development of Hockey, formed by the Legault government and chaired by Marc Denis, was discussed.
The document, filed in early May, offered no fewer than 190 possible solutions to revive ice hockey in the province. Her focus: “Taking pleasure seriously” or ensuring that “young people are back at the center of priorities,” says Marc Denis.
The latter confirms the statement of the DG of Hockey Quebec.
What I want is that we take the ball on the bounce. Ice hockey needs leadership. And the leadership is yours.
Minister Isabelle Charest, with particular responsibility for Leisure and Sport, said she “agreed” with the recommendations in a pre-recorded video feed at the start of Saturday’s meeting.
But the parliamentary session has just ended. As the school year begins, Quebec is in an election period. As such, we cannot expect any major financial or structural decisions to be made in the province before the start of the next hockey season.
However, Hockey Quebec is already working on “concrete actions” for this summer. Among other things, he wants a “national mobilization campaign”.
“One thing that concerns me a lot is the psychological security of the players,” emphasizes Jocelyn Thibault The press. All the stories we’ve heard this winter, the racist, homophobic statements, the aggression… We’re a little short of funds, but we want to raise awareness at provincial level. »
“We have to go on strike in the fall. It has to change. »
The large parts of the “reinvention” desired by Hockey Quebec are therefore not implemented immediately. That was to be expected, says association president Yve Sigouin.
“We understand the political situation. […] On our side we will work. There will certainly be things we will be working on all summer. As soon as the government returns in the fall, we will be ready to work with them. »
“Bringing all actors together”
For Marc Denis, it remains to be ensured that the report is not set aside.
“For me, there is a big difference between taking the time to analyze what you are storing and putting it away,” he explains in an interview The press. There is still a lot of material. We raked far. »
The President of the Quebec Ice Hockey Development Committee outlined the outlines during his presentation. We want “more players”. We want to “keep them longer”. In addition to “giving them a better environment”.
The question of safekeeping came to the fore several times during the morning. Too many players leave hockey after puberty for lack of opportunities to play.
Yve Sigouin wants to “unite all the ice hockey players in the province”. To ensure you have a ‘top down relationship’.
The solution could also go through varsity hockey. There are only three Quebec men’s teams (UQTR, Concordia, McGill) and three women’s teams (McGill, Concordia and Montreal) on the current network. This creates a brain drain to the American NCAA.
“We find that there is a hole there,” explains Marc Denis.
“The goal is to eventually get into a university league,” says Stéphane Auger, who is responsible for development and hockey operations at RSEQ.
This is one of the report’s most significant tax recommendations. Could such an investment become an obstacle to the application of this idea?
“It depends on what level you want to get involved,” says Auger. […] But the interest is there. »
“Ideally, as soon as possible,” he answers questions about a possible schedule. In the medium term, certainly. We are already beginning to work at this level. »
For Yve Sigouin, at government level, “boots must follow chops”. A concept shared by all.
“Of course there will be cases that will not come to light,” admits Marc Denis. We will not strike for 1,000. It is impossible. »
Is he disappointed that the recommendations have not yet been launched by the CAQ?
“There’s no disappointment yet,” he said before flashing a mischievous smile. We’ll talk about that in a year or two. »