Hull Festivals

Everything began on April 24, 1973 when Mr. Paul Grant of Ottawa and Mr. Yves Bourassa of Hull saw their wishes realized when the Governors of the QMJHL granted them a franchise. On May 15, the team’s management announced their general manager and interim coach, Normand Baril. The franchise will be named the Hull Festivals.

Season 1973-74

On September 1st , it’s the opening of the first camp. No less than 213 players reported to the head coach, including 36 goalies! A total of 60 players wore the blue, white and yellow uniform by the end of this first campaign.

Guy Bernard, an athlete of Gatineau, had the honour of recording the first goal in the history of our major junior team in a 1-3 setback to the Sherbrooke Castors in Hull. This goal was scored at 12:18 minutes of the 2nd period on September 28, 1973 in front of 3,434 fans during the first game of the season.
In January 1974, a third shareholder joins the team: Claude Gratton. In the second half of the season, Pierre Duguay – a native of Hull – takes over from Normand Baril behind the bench of the blue-white and yellow team.

Denis Charbonneau and Guy Bernard kept the fortress for Hull during this first season. Ted Bulley finished top scorer on the team with 28 goals and 37 assists for 65 points, followed in order by Scott Hunter(25-25-51) Gary McFayden(24-22-46), David Boyd(9-36-45), Glen Sharpley(14-30-44) and Rick Garcia(5-36-41). McFayden scored 4 goals in one game.

Ted Bulley was the first player in the Hull franchise to play in the NHL with the Chicago Blackhawks. A total of 78 504 fans showed up to the games during that year.

During their first year the Festivals will not participate in the playoffs having finished last in the standings. Unusually, in 1973 the Festivals were not allowed to participate in the draft of the Q since they were associated to the Ottawa District Hockey Association. Meanwhile they had no rights to the Ontario players being part of QMJHL. Hull will launch a legal battle, to allow them to keep 4 Ontario players, Glen O’Neil, Rick Garcia, Glen Sharpley and David Boyd. They won their battle!

Season 1974-75

The second year begins in dissatisfaction. Pierre Duguay is not rehired. Wayne Maxner who is a former Boston Bruins, is the named new coach. All year long three players made everyone  talk, Jim Montgomery, a 19 year old center, Ted Bulley at his left, and the future rookie of the year Denis Pomerleau just 16. this will be Bulley’s last season.

Pierre Duguay who was coach in Sorel started some negotiating with the Hull management for a possible trade. The Festivals traded a future star native of Notre-Dame-de-la-Salette Richard David, 16 years old, in return for two players: goalkeeper Jim Palmer and the brilliant scorer Pierre-Yves Giroux.

Following the many fights that occurred in “73-74”, Normand Baril found some “arms” in the person of Nelson Burton. Unfortunately for Nelson, “the policeman”, he’s the only player in that category in the team and he will have to face several opponents at once most of the time.

After the holidays, things kept going worst and worst. After a virulent public release of Wayne Maxner concerning the attitude of the owners of the team, Maxner sees himself shown the door. Meanwhile, an old cat with a wealth of knowledge and experience undoubtedly accepts the challenge: Jean-Paul “Lally” Lalonde becomes the fourth coach in a season and half for the Festivals.

The Festivals completed their 2nd season by grabbing the 4th place in their division and 6th overall in the division Raymond-Lagacé. The blue-yellow & white team finished the season 74-75 with a record of 64 wins, 32 losses and 6 ties for a total of 74 points for their first calendar of 72 games. The Festivals ended their season in the quarter-finals at the hands of Ghyslain Delage’s, Shebrooke Castors.

The famous line composed of Bulley-Montgomery & Pomerleau finished the year with a combined record of 161 goals and 217 assists for a total of 378 points. Denis Pomerleau earned the trophy awarded annually to the rookie instructor of the Quebec league. Nelson Burton won himself the title of “bad boy” with 333 minutes spent in penalty box, without forgetting his 20 goals in his first season in the QMJHL.  Jim Montgomery finished in 3rd place in the QMJHL scorers with 61 goals and 89 assists, 8 points less than the best scorer. Jim even had a game of five goals.

Season 1975-76

The Festivals began their third season under the orders of Jean-Paul Lalonde. But a 4-1 loss against his own fans was the last straw and meant that Lally was thanked for his services on Tuesday, October 28th immediately after the team’s practise.

A few days later, after interviewing a dozen candidates that included Phil Goyette and Pierre Duguay it’s on Marcel Pronovost that the management will stop their search. On Friday, November 7th, Pronovost shows up behind the bench of the Olympiques. Trailing 5-1 after 20 minutes against the powerful Sherbrooke at the Sports Palace, Marcel installed an unshakable confidence in his guys who responded with a win of 9-7. This will be the first triumph of the Festivals in Sherbrooke in over two seasons. This is a new beginning!
The Festivals proceeded with two trades within a few weeks: Nelson Burton left for the Old Capital in return for a 17-year-old defense who was very promising, Andrew Golden, then at the end of December the excellent goalkeeper Gino Yanire was obtained from the Remparts. The new tandem-Parker Yanire will solve many problems.

After the departure of Burton, Glen Sharplev emerged as the undisputed leader of the local troupe. Glen finished top scorer of the team with 60 goals and 74 assists for 134 points and finished fifth scorer in the QMJHL behind Mike Bossy. The Festivals compiled a record of 30 wins, 35 losses and 7 ties for 67 points and 4th place in the “West” division 7th place overall.

For the second consecutive year the Festivals will participate in the playoffs and their opponent will be again the Sherbrooke Castors who were the top leaders of the league  with 111 points. This series was played sold out every game. The Festivals never gave up but had to bow out in six games against Sherbrooke who had a team packed with talent. The Festivals had 14 419 spectators attend their three home games of the series, for an average of 4 806 fans per game. During the regular season 88 398 spectators had crossed the doors of the arena.

Glen Sharpley scored a hat trick seven times and scored four goals in one game. Rick Garcia and Glen Sharpley were named “Most Valuable Player O’Keeve” of the QMJHL for the months of February and December respectively.

This is the last season of Hull Festivals.
At the annual conference of the National Hockey League in June 1976 Glen Sharpley was drafted 3rd in the 1st round by the Minnesota North Stars.

Hull Olympiques

Season 1976-1977

The financial situation of the team forced the shareholders to close the books. On April 30, 1976 the league still had not received the deposit of the Festivals. So the QMJHL asked the city to take over the franchise. In July 1976, the National Assembly approves the private Bill 229, allowing a city to operate a major junior team. Following the acquisition the city of Hull launches a contest to find a new name for the team.

Marcel Pronovost as head coach and Norman Baril as general manager are still in place for a term of twelve months. In late August, the training camp starts, experience and youth mix well together for a good performance in the first half of the season.

A contest was launched in the Outaouais in order to give the team a new name. The suggestion made by the Mayor at the time, Gilles Rocheleau, to name them “The Hull Olympiques” had the effect of a snowball. Long live the Hull Olympiques!

Daniel Metivier, the first pick of the Olympiques in June ‘76 Entry Draft, had an excellent season with 51 goals and 28 assists for a total of 79 points. Captain, Jean Grandmaître, ended his career in the QMJHL leading scorer of the team with 37 goals and 7 assists for 111 points. The title of bad boy returns to the “mini-officer” François Lagueux with a total of 345 minutes spent in the “box”.

The Olympiques finished 8th in the league and faced the Quebec Remparts instead of the Sherbrooke Castors who were disqualified for having an illegal U.S player in their ranks at the end of the season. The Remparts are too strong for the Olympiques who will bow in four consecutive games. Four players leave the organization: the Captain Jean Grandmaître, the defences Gerry West and Jeff Allan and the left winger Michael Bauman.

Season 1977-1978

On May 17, 1977, the Olympiques’ management signed a one year contract to its General Manager Nomand Baril, he’s been in place for the past 4 years. Marcel Pronovost will also stay in place as head coach. On June 4th at the draft the Olympiques made John Poulin their first choice followed by Benoit Laporte.

In August, on the eve of the training camp, a bomb hits us! Marcel Pronovost resigned to accept a similar role with the Buffalo Sabres in the NHL. Several candidates show an interest to the management who decide to name Guy Trottier a native of Hull their head coach. The second season of the Hull Olympiques begins on September 18 and the local team signs a win of 5-4 against the Cornwall Royals. Another bomb! Normand Baril resigned on October 9 and on October 17 Guy Trottier was given the dual role of head coach and manager. This is a first in the history of junior hockey in Hull.

It’s January 15, 1978: The Olympiques win 9 to 7 against the National of Laval while the 500 000 fan crossed the doors at the Guertin arena.

Another surprise: at the end of January following a 10-0 setback in Cornwall, Guy Trottier was asked to resign, Richard Jamieson will succeed him. A strike of the blue-collars of the city of Hull bursts and is followed by a lockout…the Olympiques will have to move to Gatineau for eight games (7 wins and 1 loss).
Hull Olympiques finish their second season (fifth of the franchise), loosing in four consecutive games to Cornwall during the first playoff round. This is the end of a tumultuous season filled with many surprises.

Season 1978-1979

Richard Jamieson remains in place and prepares his first training camp. At the dawn of this season, he puts his confidence on the youth of the past three years … “It’s going bad for the Olympiques!” Jamieson does many changes, however, success has still to bee seen. On December 8, Richard Jamieson left Hull to be closer to his family and signs a pact with Laval.

As a successor to Jamieson, several prospects are among the candidates: Jean Lachapelle, a local guy, is the most impressive. During this time in Buffalo, Marcel Pronovost was dismissed and rehired by the Olympiques.

Pronovost will coach the end of this miserable season: last place in the league, only ten wins with 27 points in the standings. For the second time in six years, the Hull franchise surrenders and has to put away its equipment immediately after the last game of the regular season.

Season 1979-1980

Pronovost is preparing the seventh year of the Olympiques… it should offer plenty of action with the veterans returning and a promising youth. A newcomer with experience arrives from the Maine: Real Ulric becomes the new trainer. He replaces Michel “Bobotte” Phillion. Pronovost managed an incredible move when he optained the services of Jean Tourigny and Marcel Gauthier from the Draveurs in return of Bobby Wall, a highly rated defence from the midget which has yet to impress in the junior level.

Upon arrival, the team experiences a series of seven consecutive games without defeat. It’s good for the morale! The Olympiques put the tone on the offensive and went looking for Michael Brisebois from Chicoutimi, Benoit Laporte from Trois-Rivières and the return of Mario Chartrand … in Hull.

The Hull team has a packed team! False joy: the team deteriorates in discipline and all hopes of early season flies away. A local star Alain Vigneault hit the road to the Mauricie where Michel Bergeron is waiting for him. As the season progresses, the team falls behind. The inevitable occurs: after a stunning defeat in Chicoutimi, Pronovost comes back in Hull alone, leaving the reins to John Lachapelle who takes over the next day in Quebec City. It’s a victory at his first game in the QMJHL, he finished the season behind the bench of the Olympiques. John intends to clean up and in store discipline. Several veterans will taste the new discipline and watch the games from the stands. It’s from this moment that the image of the Olympiques will be transformed. But the task is difficult for Lachapelle. Players accustomed to playing “in cotton” contest with the methods being employed by the successor of Pronovost. It will be the only season that the official team photo will not be taken.

The Olympiques participate in the playoffs. Oh Yes! The Sherbrooke Castors prevail 4-0 to a team amorphous and can’t wait to get it over with.

Season 1980-1981

Another season begins. Reconstruction! That’s a word used profusely if not too often since 1973. The Olympiques will even make some changes to their logo.

Lachapelle builds up his team around the veteran John Chabot, Steven Fletcher, Michel Galarneau, Jean-Jacques Gauthier and rookies Berthiaume, Benoit Doucet and Jocelyn Gauvreau.

The discipline is still in force. However this will be another sacrificed season. For the third time in eight years of existence, the Hull team will miss the playoffs

In statistical terms, for a second straight year, John Poulin finishes first scorer of the team with 52 goals and 57 assists for 109 points. John Chabot took the second position with 89 points. The Olympiques ended their season with 23 wins, 46 defeats and three ties for a total of 49 points.

Season 1981-1982

Jean Lachapelle and the Olympiques predict a great season… But now, the goalkeeper Daniel Sanscartier refuses to show up, same goes for Jeff Hamilton. However, the Olympiques are delighted with the acquisition of Sylvain Turgeon. Meanwhile, John Chabot a talented center was traded to the Sherbrooke Castors in return for their team high scorer Tim Cranston and their Roussel Mackenzie. The Hull team also get their hands on Roberto Romano.

The season begins and Jean Poulin who’s 20 years old will now start in his 5th season in the QMJHL, Jean-Marc Gaulin returns from the Nordiques camp in Quebec and Robert Millette will also play as a 20 years old. Jean Lachapelle is pleased but wants to strengthen his defence: He sends Jocelyn Gauvreau(17), Sylvain Roy(under 18) and Claude L’Abbe(19 years) to Granby in return for Daniel Naud already drafted by the Buffalo Sabres.

The Olympiques played without a doubt their best season to that day in the QMJHL. Unfortunately, an intern war broke out on the eve of the playoffs! Some players require bonuses and are considering a strike! Neither the coach Jean Lachapelle nor the General Director had anticipated the move. Everything is set within 24 hours. The Olympiques are excluded from the semi-finals even after a phenomenal season and having to host the Memorial Cup in Hull for the first time.

Season 1982-1983

The Hull franchise is beginning their tenth season in the QMJHL. A new coach, who is at his first steps in the major junior level, takes the reins of the team: Jean Bégin. The Olympiques finished in 8th place overall and made it to the playoffs. The Olympiques will finish 2nd in the standings for the number of power goals scored with 80, tied with Granby and three less then Verdun.

Sylvain Turgeon is back for his second season and this will be his last as a junior. Paul Adey, Benoit Doucet, Jean Gauthier and Patrick Emond were acquired in January from the Draveurs and finished the season with 113 points including 51 goals in 32 games.
Goals and stars… the fans of the QMJHL were served in profusion! We only have to remember the #66 Mario Lemieux of Laval and the achievements of Marc Bergevin (Chicoutimi), Steve Duchesne (Drummondville), Patrick Roy (Granby), Jean-Jacques Daigneault, Jacques Lemaire and Guy Rouleau (Longueil), Sylvain Cote and Mario Roberge (Quebec), Pat Brisson and Pat Lafontaine (Verdun), Claude Lemieux (Trois Rivières) and many others.

The Olympiques buckled their regular season with 60 points, 40 less than their rival’s in the first round of the playoffs, the Laval Voisins. The quarter-final series promises to be a one way series this will not be a walk in the park especially that they have to face the great Mario Lemieux who tallied 184 points in 67 games.

Goals, do you want them here they come! The first three games were won by Laval with a total of 32 goals vs 9 for the Olympiques which are now facing elimination. Surprise! The Olympiques come back strong in the other three games scoring 24 goals vs 12 for Laval. In the decisive game, the Olympiques lost 10 to 8 while the #66 scored 4 goals and ended the night with 6 points.
On this positive note it is sad to see the City of Hull’s mandate in QMJHL end. After seven years, the city’s authorities pass the reins of the franchise to a non profit corporation that they created a few weeks later.

Season 1983-1984

In the spring of 1983, the City of Hull, owner of the franchise since 1976, lets five Business owners and athlete of the region the management of the team: Jacques Langevin, Francois Pichard, Jean Lachapelle, Marc Senecal and Olivier Caron.

At the draft the Olympiques select Luc Robitaille, a very talented left winger who will be struck with the nickname “The Franchise”. Sam Lang, Joe Foglietta, Ricky Hayward, Stephane Richer and Steve Averill begin their junior career. Later, the Olympiques make a few transactions witch will bring Joel Baillargeon and Patrick Emond in Hull.

The Olympiques have a pretty good foundation but there is a lack of experience within the team. Michel Morin takes over from Jean Bégin behind the bench. A policeman from Gatineau will be his assistant… Pat Burns. Surprise! Pat will not be behind the bench, he will take notes from the bleachers because Morin prefers to act alone behind the bench during the game.

The season progresses, but the Olympiques are not going anywhere. Morin recognized as a technician in hockey, has difficulty implanting a basic training to his troop. The new management sees their Olympiques finish second to last in the ranking in the regular season with a record of 25 wins and 45 losses. This is the fourth time in 11 seasons that the Olympiques are excluded of the playoffs.

Season 1984-1985

In June 1984, the Olympiques will be sellectiong second in every round. Excellent prospects: Jean Bergeron, Eric Bohemier, Marc Dumont, Eric Legros, Michel Thibodeau and Marc Saumier will meet in Hull in a few months. A trade takes place and will bring Michel Charbonneau and Luc Chenier in Hull. Once again, the potential arises.

The teams coaching duties are put into Pat Burns hands, assistant of Michel Morin last season. Morin was assigned the role of executive director but decides to leave and returns to a familiar world: teaching at UQTR.

Our Sergeant Detective of the city of Gatineau, Pat Burns, who shuttles between his permanent job and his part-time job as a head coach realises that it requires more hours then his every day job.

The season begins on September, 14 in Plattsburgh, where the Pioneers, the first U.S franchise, are defeated 7-6 in overtime. A few weeks later, after more than 20 losses, the QMJHL management decide to abolish that franchise.

On November 30, 1984, on a Friday morning, a bomb explodes: “Wayne Gretzky wants to buy the Hull Olympiques…article that we can read in the “Journal de Montreal”. The phones were ringing throughout the Outaouais region. Some members of the municipal council were aware as Charles Henry had met several times since September. The city of Hull saw a golden opportunity to close the books of the Olympiques for good.

Quietly, Gretzky’s heir, Charles Henry an Ottawa resident who spent his life in hockey, watches the every doings of the Olympiques throughout the season at home and on the road.

A new first line makes a sensation: Luc Robitaille, Sam Lang and Joe Foglietta actually make everyone turn their heads throughout the circuit. They collect 372 points in the regular season only six points lower than the record of the 1974-75 team held by Bulley, Montgomery and Pomerleau. The Olympiques are ranked 2nd in their division and 5th overall. Joe Foglietta establishes a franchise record with at least one point in a sequence of 26 consecutive games. Luc Robitaille became head scorer with 55 goals and 93 assists for 148 points. The Olympiques loose in five games against Verdun in the semi-finals.

Season 1985-1986

The Corporation has just completed its second year of its warrant and not less than eighteen regular players return from last season with an interesting background of experience. Gretzky’s group offer is tempting. The negotiations will go on all summer long! Both sides formalize the sale on Wednesday, August 7, 1985. Wayne Gretzky becomes the new owner of the Hull Olympiques. That same day, at a press conference at the convention center in Hull in front of nearly 150 journalists from across North America, the Olympiques welcomed their new boss, “the # 99”. This concludes the excellent work done by members of the Corporation. Financially, the Hull City will not make a profit but the investment is one of great prestige.

It is Wayne himself, who invites the young 16 years old, Cam Russell to join the Olympiques while 3 other offers were on the table…we know the rest!

Friday the 13th! Starting the season on a Friday the 13th, who said that hockey players are superstitious? In front of 4,574 enthusiastic supporters the official faceoff took place with the municipal authorities and the QMJHL, the Prime Minister of Canada, the Honourable Brian Mulroney and other guests takes place. After the national anthem on a trumpet solo an ovation burst for a dozen minutes, the longest ever that Wayne Gretzky ever received in his career to that day. Sam Lang scored the first goal of the Gretzky era after only 82 seconds in the game: the Olympiques dominate outrageously. Gretzky enjoys his first win as the owner of the Hull franchise with a score of 11 to 3. The following day of his huge triumph, Wayne shares the locker room with his players and joins them for the practise.

On Monday, October 7, Charles Henry, the” hanker of the Olympiques” makes a major transaction, the prolific scorer Guy Rouleau is now part of the team.

After a 6-5 defeat against Drummondville in Hull on November 19, the duo Pat Burns and Jean-Maurice Cool win its last 22 home games during the regular season. On February 23, in an easy win of 8 to 1 against the Draveurs at Robert Guertin arena Pat Burns’s troop won the Jean-Rougeau Trophy. The Olympiques have improved their lifetime record in the QMJHL with 54 wins and 18 defeats for a total of 108 points. Guy Rouleau and Luc Robitaille finished tied for top scorer with a cumulative of 191 points each.

On Friday, May 2, the Hull franchise captured the President Cup for the first time in its history with 15 victories in a row in the series without any defeats. Then came the Memorial Cup tournament in Portland (USA). Hull won the semi-final which ended at 11 pm on Friday and then faced Guelph a well rested team in the finals on Saturday morning at 11:00am. Unfortunately our Olympiques lost 2 to 6.

Season 1986-1987

After an incredible season “85-86”, where the Olympiques had made it to the final game of the Memorial Cup in Portland, it’s now time to rebuild the team. The next season will focus on the youth who will complete the veterans, Benoit Brunet, Stephane Matteau, Jean-Marc Routhier, Shane MacEachern and Cam Russell. Many Americans are called in the first round draft picks such as Joe Aloi, Jason Glickman, Joe Suk… others imposed themselves at their arrival ,Brian Bearskin, Guy Dupuis and the Austrian Hebert (Hubie) Hohenberger. Charles Henry proceeds with a few trades which one will bring Daniel Shank to Hull.

The Olympiques finished in 4th place in their division and loss in the round robin. The Olympiques announces the departure of the Pat Burns who’s accepted an offer to coach the Canadiens of Sherbrooke in the AHL. The Olympiques management are counting on the return of a dozen veterans the next year looks interesting.

Season 1987-1988

For the first time since 1984, the Olympiques are looking for a coach. Pat Burns goes pro in Sherbrooke. Charles Henry is looking for a young person who has guts. So the name of a former Hull Olympiques, a guy native of Hull was announced; Alain Vigneault became the 13th head coach in the history of the Hull franchise.

New faces make their entry at the arena on Carillon Street, Joel Blain, Stephane Charbonneau, Martin Gelinas, Craig Martin, Stephane Quintal and Claude-Charles Sauriol. Acquired from Longueil, Marc Saumier is making a comeback with the Olympiques team.

The season begins on a sour note: six straight losses in eight games in their first ten games. Then the silver-black and white team starts with 18 wins and two losses during the following 23 games. The line mates Gélinas-Saumier-Brunet make an impact everywhere they go: 169 goals and 271 assists for 440 points. The Olympiques finish the season in first place with 43 wins, 23 losses and 4 ties for 90 points. Marc Saumier won the top athlete of the QMJHL of the season.

In the quarter-finals, the Olympiques eliminate the Granby Bisons in five games. The task is difficult against the Laval Titan in the semi-finals. The Olympiques triumph in the seventh game after being in deficit throughout the series. In the finals against the Voltigeurs of Drummondville, Hull won the initial game and then lost the other three. Against all expectations, the Olympiques turned the steam around and won the President’s Cup for a second time in three years.

It’s in the Saguenay that the round robin Memorial Cup tournament takes place. During the festivities that surround this tournament; Marc Saumier succeeds Luc Robitaille and wins the title of MVP of the Canadian Major Junior Hockey League.

On the hockey side, a lack in the overall game and Jason Glickman irregular are causing problems for the Quebec Champions. After two losses against Windsor and Medicine Hat, the Olympiques triumph against Drummondville. Gretzky’s team loses in the semi-final against Medicine Hat. Benoit Brunet and Marc Saumier finished their junior career. Vigneault’s assistant, Denis Heon an outstanding communicator, leaves the team for professional reasons.

Season 1988-1989

The defending champions undertake their 16th season poorly and so laborious with a single win during the first seven games. Many veterans return from professional camp and the arrival of new faces like Robert Melanson, Johnny Lorenzo, Bruno Villeneuve and Jeremy Roenick puts back on track Guy Charron and Alain Vigneault’s  team,

The Olympiques will only lose five times at home during the regular season. From November 22 to February 26, they will accumulate 16 consecutive victories at home.

Jeremy Roenick, a native of Boston in the U.S. and property of the Chicago Blackhawks, played just 28 games during the regular season: his record was 34 goals and 36 assists.

The group of Alain Vigneault finished third overall, three points less than the Draveurs of Trois Rivières, and the league champion.

In the playoffs, the Olympiques won over the St John’s Castor in four games and in the semi finals the Olympiques lost 4-1 in Victoriaville that had a bigger offensive attack. During the playoffs, Roenick distinguished himself with 7 goals and 12 assists in 9 games. Recalled by Chicago, Jeremy will finish the season with the Blackhawks of Mike Keenan.

The 88-89 season marks the end of the junior career of Cam Russell. He leaves with two Championship titles and a professional contract besides Roenick in the Windy City!

Season 1989-1990

It’s a season during which there will be many surprises. Alain Vigneault gets an offer from the Dukes of Hamilton (OHL) … but he renewed his contract with the Olympiques. Andrew McKim, a 50-goal scorer was acquired from Verdun who became the St-Hyacinthe Laser’s. Eric Lavigne is drafted in the first round. In 4th Round, Charles Henry pronounces the name of Philippe Boucher, a bantam player. So here we go the QMJHL objects! The prominent Quebec lawyer Guy Bertrand, took the matter in hand. The Olympiques cry discrimination! Guy Charron leaves the Olympiques to spend more time with his family and is replaced by Guy Lamontagne. Herbert Hohenberger, returns as a 20 years old.

The Los Angeles Kings are in Hull for their training camp. It is a golden opportunity to applaud Wayne Gretzky, Larry Robinson, Steve Duchesne, and Luc Robitaille.

The regular season begins in the fog. The opening game against the Draveurs of Trois Rivières will last only 3: 44 minutes! The game will be resumed at a later date.

The little “Pest” of the Olympiques, Frédéric Boivin, mastered the art of teasing the opponent. Karl Dykhuis, an excellent defence, is also very successful in the classroom, with an average of 90%. Andrew McKim was named the Most Valuable Player to his team in QMJHL and deserved the same honour in the CHL. Andrew scored 66 goals and earned 64 assists for a total of 130 points.

In the quarter-finals, the Olympiques faced Longueuil and won the 7th game in Longueuil while Korean Joe Suk with his second goal of the game at 3: 40 of the overtime puts and end to the confrontation with a score of 2 to 1. In the semi-finals, the Olympiques have no chance against the Laval Titan, and lost in four straight games.

Season 1990-1991

At the draft the Olympiques make Carl Fleury their first choice followed by Pierre-Francois Lalonde. Sylvain Lapointe of Clarkson University is claimed in the 8th round. The other teams in the QMJHL call this move from Charles Henry a theft.

The chief scout in place for the past decade, Rene Young, left the organization to accept the position of general manager of the new franchise the Harfangs of Beauport. It is Paul Gagnon, a scout for the Montreal area who will accept the position. The assistant of Alain Vigneault, Guy Lamontagne will follow Young. Guy Charron and Michel Charron will replace them.

Karl Dykhuis, is the first player from the Quebec league that was drafted at the  NHL draft in spring 1990, his name will be called at the table of the Chicago Blackhawks in the first round (the 16th) and McKim is invited to Calgary.

It’s time for farewells: Alain Vigneault became assistant coach to Dick Todd with the Canadian Junior Team in December and leaves the Olympiques for the World Juniors, Hohenberger accepts the terms of the Montreal Canadiens, Andrew McKim goes to Salt Lake City and Karl Dykhuis leaves for the national team in Calgary and will not return to Hull.

The Olympiques gave their rights to Dykhuis to the “Collège Francais” for a second-round pick; it will turn out to be Sebastien Bordeleau at the draft in spring 1991.

The Laval Titan are the opponents of the Hull Olympiques in the playoffs again. The Olympiques lost in six games in Laval in the quarter finals.

Season 1991-1992

The Olympiques are picked in the first round (8th) Eric Lecompte 16 years old and in 2nd round they picked another midget: Sebastien Bordeleau.

The athletic therapist Serge Haché will accompany the Canadian junior team for the junior tournament in Japan. Two Olympiques, Pierre-Francois Lalonde and Martin Lepage, also make the trip.

In September, nine veterans leave for NHL camps: Eric Lavigne (Washington), Robert Melanson (Pittsburgh), Yannick DeGrâce (Philadelphia), Todd Sparks (Islanders), Derek Frenette (St. Louis), Joel Blain and Joe Crowley ( Edmonton), Sylvain Lapointe and Jim Campbell (Montreal).

Throughout the season, members of the Ottawa Senators are watching every move of the Olympiques. At the suggestion of the Oilers, Joel Blain returns to Hull for a 5th season. Only John Poulin had played five years in the region in the entire history of QMJHL.

Todd Sparks will experience a series of 26 consecutive games with at least one point. On February 27th, the Olympiques sign their 200th win in their history on the road, 4 to 3 in St. Hyacinthe. The Chicago Blackhawks recalled Cam Russell for the series.

It’s becoming a tradition: Hull and Laval confronting in the first round in the series. The Olympiques lost in six games.

Rumours are businessman from the Eastern Townships and even Paul Anka is interested in purchasing the franchise. The City wants to keep the team in Hull but confirm that they can’t acquire the team, the asking price: $550 000 000.

Season 1992-1993

The NHL is back in Ottawa … Gretzky goes!

On May 30th, The Olympiques pick Martin Belair as their first choice (10th overall), followed by Carl Charland, Christian Gosselin and Richard Lacasse. Alain Vigneault was named head coach of Canada’s Junior Team, a first for the QMJHL.

The team owner Wayne Gretzky wants to sell the team and he comes close to selling it to some businessman that wish to move the team outside the Outaouais region.

That’s when Manon the daughter of Gilles Sauvé announces the news to her father and asks him to do something! being a big supporter of the game and especially of the Olympiques’ team with her father since 1985. That’s when Mr. Sauvé a businessman from Aylmer that is already acting as a billet for some years now for the Olympiques players, form a group of shareholders which is composed of Jean-Marc Lalonde, former Mayor of Rockland, Mark Routtenberg businessman of Montreal and Alvin Stein an Ottawa businessman. Sauvé becomes president of the team and decides to keep to his side the great Charles Henry as its CEO.

The Olympiques are saved! And stay in the region because of a businessman who has the game of hockey at heart.

Alain Vigneault left the Olympiques after five years and accepted the position of assistant coach with the new franchise the Ottawa Senators of the NHL. By mid-July, Michel Charron became the 14th head coach of Olympiques and will be supported by Mario Belanger and Luc Dugas.

In the opening game, the Olympiques sign a 5-3 victory in Laval, a first since the 1984-85 season. On November 3rd, Michel Charron “has the biggest fit of the century” towards the official Guy Joubert in front of 2,700 fans, the ice is flooded with objects. During the trading period, Frédéric Boivin is traded to Sherbrooke in return for the excellent goaltender Jean-Francois Labbe, Eric Daze goes to Beauport in exchange for the defenseman Jamie Bird.

Things are bad! On February 9th, after a 7th straight losses Michel Charron and his assistants are shown the door. With 17 games remaining before the playoffs, Charles Henry recruits another local talent, Alain Sanscartier who will take over behind the bench.

In the first series, the Olympiques are without pity for the St-Jean Lynx they won four consecutive victories. The Olympiques lost in six games against the Sherbrooke Castors. Charles Henry liked what he saw of his coach. Sanscartier was offered a contract and confirmed in his functions.

Season 1993-1994

Reconfirmed in his position as head coach, Alain Sanscartier counted on a solid bunch of veterans in Martin Gendron, Hugo Proulx, Pierre-François Lalonde, Jamie Bird, Harold Hersh, Carl Charland, Eric Cloutier, Eric Lecompte, Sebastien Bordeleau and Shane Doiron.

Gendron registered 40 goals in a half-season, Neil Savary, is a talented goalkeeper and Hugo Proulx brings great depth to the offense. Governor Charles Henry has long been absent from the Robert-Guertin because of illness. Richard “Dick” Lauzon left his post as head of marketing for the Olympiques to return to his first love: at a radio station, CJRC.

The Olympiques finish the regular season as the most punished QMJHL with 2600 minutes! There were too many penalties and emotional reaction. Eric Cloutier Jr. and Claude Jutras will have to accept blows without protesting during the playoffs to go to the President’s Cup.

During the initial series, the Olympiques defeat the St-Hyacinthe Laser. In the second round which is a round robin, Hull finished second behind Laval. In the semi-finals, the Olympiques are defeated in seven games by Chicoutimi.

On March 2nd the team launches the book of reference of 48 pages that describes the past twenty years of the Hull franchise, from the 1973 Draft until June 1993. This work of art is the hard labour of Jean-Pierre Cyr, publicist at the Olympiques. JP spent ten months of research on this project. JP had all the Olympiques logos engraved in his heart since day one of the Hull franchise. He continued to be in the surroundings of the Olympiques until a Friday evening in December 2005 when he felled in the entrance of the Zamboni from a heartache just before the game of the Olympiques. A real true “Olympiques”! Thank you, Jean-Pierre!

Season 1994-1995

In July, Robert Mongrain was named head coach of the Olympiques. A few weeks later, his assistant is named: Claude Julien. Mongrain makes his first transaction in the QMJHL: He sends Eric Lecompte, Shane Doiron and Simon Provencher the St-Jean Lynxs and obtained Jose Theodore and Jason Groleau in return.

A first in the history of the QMJHL, Laval sends Colin White to Hull in return for Eric Cloutier. This is the debut of Peter Worrell with the Olympiques. Martin Ménard battle hard with another guy from Outaouais region Daniel Brière (Drummondville) for the rookie of the year. Menard scored 30 goals in his first 34 games of the season.

The NHL lockout is certainly a good thing for the QMJHL and the Olympiques benefit from it by receiving an average of 3050 spectators in the regular season.

The Olympiques finished third overall, having the best offense with 340 goals. The Hull franchise won 4-1 the first round against St-Hyacinthe Lasers. Hull finished third after the round robin (or quarter-finals), faced the Harfangs of Beauport in the semi finals: and eliminated them in five games. The eternal rivalry Laval-Hull happens for the final: The Olympiques won the President’s Cup in five games and went to the Memorial Cup tournament for the third time in their history in the QMJHL. There were lots of fighting going back and forth with the videotapes sent to the disciplinary comitee, Maurice Filion and his team considered every one of them before giving his verdicts in the series. The lack of discipline was evident for the Olympiques in the playoffs with the numerous penalties and suspensions they obtained. Bordeleau was the top scorer of the series with 13 goals, 19 assists for a total of 32 points in 18 games.

With the 12 rookies in their line-up the Olympiques are the 2nd youngest team in the history of the Memorial Cup, the Olympiques lost three consecutive game in Kamloops (BC) against Kamloops (4-1), Brandon (9-2) and Detroit (5-2) and were eliminated.

Season 1995-1996

At the draft in late May, the Olympiques were in search of defence Mario Larocque is their first choice, then Russell Smith was drafted in another round. Christian Daigle, a forward, is a second-round pick. It’s a cannon start under the leadership of Robert Mongrain. The Olympiques come close to tying a record: they played a sequence of 24 consecutive wins, which ended on January 28 against Halifax.

The second half of the season will be more exciting. The Olympiques are struggling hard: they rank second in their division and overall. Steven Low shows up in Hull. The player with the small silhouette, Martin Menard played a season of more than 50 goals. Pavel Rosa is a magician on the ice. Peter Worrell completes a line with Menard and Rosa this line is an eye opener for all their opponents.

Jose Theodore was recalled by the Montreal Canadiens, kept the net for the last 9 minutes of the game which are his first minutes as a goalie in the NHL against the Hartford Whalers. Theodore completed the season with a record of 8 passes for a goalie.

For the second consecutive year, more than 100,000 spectators passed through the doors at the Robert Guertin arena. It was worth the trip. Pavel Rosa won the Michel-Bergeron Trophy as rookie of the year with 46 goals and 70 assists. The Olympiques finished in 2nd place with 106 points overall, just behind Granby.

During the playoffs, the Olympiques were successful in going through the round robin, eliminating in the quarter-finals Val-d’Or in seven games and were defeated 1 to 4 in the semi-finals to the Harfangs of Beauport.

Mario Larocque, Colin White and Pavel Rosa are part of the All-Rookie team. Theodore, Nemecek and Jean-Guy Trudel are members of the 2nd All-Star Team as Coach Robert Mongrain.

A few weeks later, Mongrain quit the Olympiques and joined the Sherbrooke Faucons.

Season 1996-1997

After the departure of Robert Mongrain in May, Claude Julien became the head coach. The calendar began in September, when many veterans were with NHL teams. There is no captain but the Delisle, Maclean, Menard and Rosa wear the “A» proudly on their jerseys. The Memorial Cup fever is in town. In early October, more than 2,500 tickets had been sold. After a year as marketing director, Bob White leaves the team and Helen Jennings takes his place.

David-Alexandre Beauregard returned from AHL and played his first game in Hull on November 9. The amazing first line of Martin Menard “the gazelle”, Pavel Rosa “the artist” and Peter Worrell “the bulldozer” resumed where they left it last season.The goalie Christian Bronsard is dominant that year. The newcomer Marty Johnston is a surprise to the Hull organization. During the period of trades in December, Martin Biron and Martin Ethier will join the team, and Beauregard took the road back to Shawinigan in return for Mathieu Descoteaux. If you though that the Beauregard’s case early in the season was pretty hot well Christian Dubé’s case surpassed it. The QMJHL MVP in ’95-’96, Dubé is sent back by the Rangers of New York, on January 30: Christian will wear the # 96 for the Olympiques. The missing card is finally here! There are no more tickets for the Memorial Cup tournament.

On March 19, the Hull Olympiques are declared Champions of the QMJHL and also won the Jean-Rougeau Trophy. In the section final, Hull won the series 4-1 against Drummondville.  In their division finals they won against Val-d’Or 4-1 and on April 29th the Olympiques eliminated Chicoutimi and raised the President’s Cup for a fourth time in their history.

The table is set for the Memorial Cup tournament. The Hull Olympiques team will host Chicoutimi the finalist at the Presidents Cup and representing the QMJHL. Oshawa will be the representatives of the OHL, while the WHL team will be Lethbridge. The three visiting teams will stay in hotels in Hull, Gatineau and Aylmer. Our Olympiques will be in a private retreat in a location in Cantley, location kept secret.

This is the fourth participation in 11 years for the Olympiques at the Memorial Cup tournament. Hull starts the tournament by crushing Oshawa by a score of 8-0. In the second match, Hull comes close to a win against Lethbridge after they were leading 6-1 after two periods of play; unfortunately its overtime and they lose 6-7. In their third game, the Olympiques won the match 8-5 against Chicoutimi and access to the final. Lethbridge defeated Oshawa in the semi-final and will be measured again to the Olympiques. The supporters are nervous! This time, our Olympiques do not commit to the same mistakes and sign a 5-1 win.

Finally the Hull Olympiques raise the Memorial Cup, the most prestigious trophy in Canada. It was a season of dreams! A real scenario worthy of a Hollywood movie! Congratulations to the organization.

Season 1997-1998 (25th Anniversary)

Only six players from the Memorial Cup Champion team are back this season. The defensive squad has only one young veteran in Kevin Brochu. The General-Director Charles Henry convinced a defence player, Peter Ratchuk (20 years) to show up in Hull and he will become the oldest rookie in the QMJHL. The 2nd choice of the Olympiques at the draft in late May is Frédéric Malette native of Buckingham in the region: a goalkeeper who is 16 years old. A local player in the small size is also part of the Olympiques, Bruno Lemire. A newcomer, the Czech Jiri Fischer is a promising new defence.

During this season, goals come in profusion in the net of the Olympiques. This is the worst defensive record in the QMJHL. The crowd quickly show their displeasure they are not patient with the young team who counts 17 rookies. Despite an inexperienced defence the young goalkeeper Malette signs his first victory in the QMJHL on October 12 in Cape Breton. In mid-season the Olympiques stats are 13 wins and 22 losses. There is little activity in Hull during the period of transactions. Francis Belanger was traded to Rimouski in return for a draft pick.

In November, new co-owners from the region will join Gilles Sauvé and Jean-Marc Lalonde: They are Luc Marois (businessman in Hull) Daniel Chevrier (businessman in Hull), Jean-Robert Brisson (businessman in Ontario), Michel Cornelier, Bernard Brisbois and Manon Sauvé (insurance broker and the first woman co-owner of the team).

The Hull Olympiques are proclaimed Men’s team of excellence in Quebec during the Sports Gala and also won the Maurice Richard Trophy. Claude Julien and Jiri Fischer participate in the challenge of CHL.

Frédéric Malette establishes a new team record in the QMJHL completing a sequence of 170:15 minutes without allowing a goal, the previous record being held by Jose Theodore in 95-96.

Against all odds, the Olympiques made the playoffs for a 14th consecutive year with a record of 32 wins, 37 losses and 1 tie. Claude Julien has reached the target set earlier this season: making the playoffs. The key to success is the defensive play that was taught. In the first round, Hull eliminates Rouyn-Noranda in six games and advanced to the semi-finals (round robin). The season ends with losses against Laval and Val d’Or.

Season 1998-1999

Two 16 year olds arrive in Hull: Alexandre Giroux and Michael Parent. Meanwhile, Michael Ryder is in Montreal, Jiri Fischer is in Detroit and Marty Johnston and Francis Nault are looking into getting a professional contract in the East Coast.

The owners will welcome two new partners: Michel Quesnel and André Chaput while Richard Bertrand became the Executive Director and the link between CEO Charles Henry and the board of directors. Daniel Brunet took over Rejean Rondeau as director of marketing.

Claude Julien was named assistant coach of Team Canada at the 1999 World Championship Junior Hockey tournament in Winnipeg, Canada won the silver medal.

The number nine, Marty Johnson wears the “C” on his jersey. The young Czech Radim Vrbata 17 years old has demonstrated a progressive talent. Jiri Fischer and the 2nd choice in the first round draft pick (11th overall) Andrew Carver are two defences that will represent the division Robert Lebel at the all-Star game against the division Dilio.

March 14th was an evening of reunions and memories. The # 77 jersey was hoisted to the ceiling of the Robert-Guertin. Supporters stood cheered their hero of the ‘85-’86 season … Guy Rouleau.

The Memorial Cup Tournament ’99 will take place in Ottawa in May. Will the Olympiques be their? The season was full of ups and downs and was not looking good! In the quarter finals of their division, Victoriaville was eliminated by the Olympiques. The 3rd game of the series was the longest in the QMJHL and the CHL, Brock Boucher scored at 6: 31 of the 5th overtime period. The game lasted 6 hours 13 minutes. The record still stands (as of February 2008). Hull won against Shawinigan 4-2 and defeated against all odds Rouyn-Noranda 4-0. In the finals of the President’s Cup, the Olympiques dearly sell their skin against the Acadie Bathurst loosing 3-4.

Season 1999-2000

We are entering a new millennium! What’s in store this season? Several veterans are back: Michael Ryder, Bruno Lemire, Paul Spadafora, Radim Vrbata, Alexandre Giroux, Philippe Lacasse, and Mario Joly. New faces join the team: the young goaltender Eric Lafrance, the defences Derick Martin and Bobby Clarke, the European Michal Pinc, and many others.

Claude Julien was named head coach of Team Canada 2000 and will participate in the World Junior tournament in late December. Claude returns to Hull with the bronze medal around his neck. Guy Lalonde has left his assistant coach job for Head coach during the absence of Claude.

At their first match of the year 2000 the Olympiques will wear a new blue jersey with a new logo that includes all the logos from their franchise to that day.

Big news in QMJHL, there will be an inter-league schedule with the OHL. The Olympiques will visit the Ottawa 67’s on January 23rd and be back at  Robert Guertin on February 6.

The desense Adam Rivet and Coach Claude Julien will participate in the All-Star game in the QMJHL. Michael Ryder is the best scorer of the Olympiques with 50 goals and 58 assists for a total of108 points in 63 games. The rookie goaltender Eric Lafrance will be in front of the Olympiques net for 40 of the 72 games of the regular season while Philippe Sauvé will be in goal for 12 of the 15 games of the playoffs.

The Olympiques finish the season of 72 games with 90 points and get a pass for the quarter finals of the conference. They face Rouyn-Noranda, in the semi-final and win the series 4-2. In the conference finals, the Voltigeurs are being shown the exit in four consecutive games. In the final of the President’s Cup, the Olympiques will lose 1-4 to the Rimouski Oceanic, who won the triple crown: the  Jean-Rougeau Trophy, the President’s Cup and the  Memorial Cup.

Season 2000-2001

Claude Julien leaves the Olympiques and will continue in his professional career as a head coach with the Hamilton Bulldogs of the AHL. A new head coach is appointed for the Olympiques: Guy Lalonde with his two assistants Alain Raymond and Sylvain Chaput. In early October, the small warrior Bruno Lemire is named Captain.

Several rookies have made their mark upon their first season with the Olympiques. The Czech Ales Hemsky completes his first season with 100 points including 36 goals and 64 assists, leading scorer as a rookie. Jean-Michel Daoust accumulated 23 goals and 27 assists for a total of 50 points in 68 games. Defenseman Doug O’Brien shows great potential.

During the trade period during the holidays (January 8), the Governor and Director of Hockey Operations, Charles Henry, realises a successful magic trick: he trades Alexandre Giroux to Rouyn-Noranda in return for the center Maxime Talbot, the defenseman Dominic D’Amour and a first round pick. This trade will haunt the Huskies for several seasons to come!

During the season, Philippe Lacasse obtained 7 points in a game. Jean-Michel Daoust scores 4 times in a game. Roberto Bissonnette has served 381 minutes of penalty (5th in the league).

On January 21st, the Olympiques will tie against the Ottawa 67’s at the Corel Center and lose 4-3 in overtime the following week in Hull in the inter-league schedule. The Olympiques will finish in 5th place in the conference Robert-Lebel (7th overall) with 78 points. In the quarter finals, Hull lost 1-4 against Rouyn-Noranda.

Season 2001-2002

Head coach Guy Lalonde and his assistant Alain Raymond led the Hull Olympiques for a second season. The Olympiques have drafted players with talent to develop such as the forwards Philippe Dupuis and Guillaume Labrecque, defences Sam Roberts and the Czech Martin Wagner, and goaltender David Tremblay native from Hull. The Franco-Ontarian Francis Wathier and a player from Shawinigan, Nick Fugere found a spot on the roster.

This will be a learning season in the QMJHL for many players. The veteran willl show the way to new comers. Ales Hemsky and Philippe Lacasse are named offensive players of the week twice in Q while Eric Lafrance was appointed three times the defensive player of the month. Philippe Lacasse will play a game of 7 points, one with five goals and also one with five assists. Maxime Talbot and Ales Hemsky participate in the All-Star game against the OHL.

The team will have some upsets in the early season, and during the holiday season, Guy Lalonde and Alain Raymond are dismissed. A new head coach of the Ottawa region was hired: Benoit Groulx. His assistants will be John Chabot and Michel Valliere. The team situation will improve.

During the inter-league calendar the Olympiques won the first match 3-1 to the Ottawa 67’s in front of more than 10,000 fans at the Corel Center and lost 2-5 at the Ottawa Civic Center.

The Olympiques will rank in 3rd place in the Robert Lebel conference with 75 points. Philippe Lacasse ended up first scorer of the team with 55 goals and 58 assists (113 points total) followed by Ales Hemsky with 27 goals and 70 assists for 97 points.

The Olympiques won the quarter finals 4-3 to the Montreal Rockets. In the semi-final conference, they lost 1-4 against Victoriaville.

See you next year … with a youth who has learned to work together to succeed and build a team full of promises.

Season 2002-2003

Olympiques’ coach, Benoit Groulx was assisted by John Chabot and Pierre Coté behind the bench. Michel Valliere is the goaltending coach. Several rookies have earned a position with the Olympiques: goaltender David Tremblay, forwards Olivier Labelle and Renaud DesAlliers, and defence Sam Roberts in this early season. Meanwhile, several veterans are participating in NHL professional camps : Dominic D’Amour (Toronto), Ales Hemsky (Edmonton), Jesse Lane (Caroline), Dale Sullivan and Martin Vagner (Dallas), and Maxime Talbot (Pittsburgh) . The return of Hemsky is delayed. Ales will finally not be returning to the Olympiques, he will pursue his career with the Edmonton Oilers.

Some owners leave the Olympiques while others remain. The co-owners are now Gilles Sauvé, Bernard Brisbois, JR Brisson, Andre Chaput and Manon Sauvé.

During the Christmas break, the Olympiques have been active in the trades: Mathieu Brunelle, Tyler Reid, Jeff Smith, Jonathan Bellemare and Chris Pottie arrive in Hull … oups … we now need to say … in Gatineau, following the fusion of the following cities of Hull, Gatineau, Aylmer, Buckingham and Masson-Angers). The inter-league confrontation took place: the Olympiques and the 67’s have each won a victory.

The Olympiques finished 7th overall with 84 points. Maxime Talbot is the best scorer of the team with 46 goals and 58 assists for a total of 104 points. The # 25 also had a game of 5 goals and another of 7 points.

In the playoffs the Olympiques eliminate the Huskies in four consecutive games. Their next opponent will be the Sherbrooke Castors that they eliminate 1-4, and then in the final of the conference Robert-Lebel, the Olympiques win the serie 4-0 against the Foreurs. The 5th youngest team in the QMJHL, becomes the 1st team to win the 7th game of the grand finale on the road against Halifax. The Olympiques are champions of the QMJHL for a 5th time in 30 years of history. Maxime Talbot wins the Guy Lafleur Trophy as MVP of the series in 2003.

At the Memorial Cup which takes place in Quebec City, the Olympiques are defeated 3-6 against the Kitchener Rangers (the only undefeated team in the tournament). Defenseman Doug O’Brien was named on the All-Star Team of the Tournament.

Gatineau Olympiques


Season 2003-2004

What will the Olympiques of GATINEAU do in their new uniform and new logo? Actually the colors of the Olympiques are now Orange, yellow, purple, black and white. Their logo is now a flame with the same colors.

Training camp begins in sorrow: the # 3 Jeff Smith tragically died shortly before the start of the camp.

Several rookies have made the team: Gabriel Bouthillette goaltender, defences Martin Frechette, Nicolas Ranger and Maxime Rousseau, and forwards Keven Petit, Petr Pohl and Scott Brophy. The defence is young and inexperienced but the heart is there to learn.

The season begins in victory! The team is progressing as much on the defensive as offensive side. Benoit Groulx is a master in teaching hockey skills. Our “coach” is named head coach of the year and won the Ron Lapointe Trophy.

The Olympiques experienced a dream and successful year! Hard work and discipline will bring lots of success to the team. The Gatineau team finish in 1st place overall and won their 6th championship and the Jean-Rougeau Trophy, this is a record in the QMJHL. In fact, the Olympiques will participate in the playoffs for a 20th consecutive season, another record in the QMJHL. Having had a free pass in the eighth-finals, the Olympiques won 4-0 against Rouyn-Noranda, and then won the semi final series 4-2 in Chicoutimi and faced Moncton in the final and won 4-1. Another President’s Cup! for the 2nd consecutive year, “A BACK TO BACK. Maxime Talbot received the Guy Lafleur Trophy awarded to the MVP of the playoffs for the 2nd year also.

The Olympiques will represent the Q for a second year at the Memorial Cup tournament, to be held in Kelowna in British Columbia. The Gatineau team find themselves participating in the finals again! Unfortunately, Kelowna won the Cup in a tight match which ended 2-1. Doug O’Brien and Jean Michel Daoust are part of the team all-star tournament. Doug won the Ed Chynoweth Trophy as top scorer (3 goals, 5 assists for 8points) of the tournament.

Season 2004-2005

Benoit Groulx is back behind the bench with his assistants. More than 70 players including 11 players from last year’s winning team report to the training camp. Here are the names of some rookies who have made the team: goalkeeper Oliver Sutton, defences Pierre-Luc Lessard, Jonathan Carrier, Brian Wilson and forwards David Krejci, Cam Fergus, Brett Morrison, Ryan Graham and Geoff Walker.

The Olympiques begin the season at home with a 6-4 victory against the Acadie Bathurst. On November 9th, the team equipment manager Dominic Boudriau leaves the Olympiques after 14 years for a similar position with the Danbury Trashers of the United Hockey League. On November 24, Benoit Groulx was behind the bench for his 200 regular season game (123 wins, 61 loses for a total of 265 points.) In mid-December, David Krejci joined the Czech Republic team for the World Junior tournament. Then came the departure of Mario Richer for the Spangler Cup tournament in Switzerland as an assistant coach. Jonathan Carrier joined the Quebec team at the world tournament of less than 17 years old in Lethbridge (Alberta). After 37 games, the Olympiques occupy the first rank of the Western Division (6th place ranking). Guillaume Labrecque is announced offensive player of the week in the QMJHL and CHL.

In the playoffs, the Olympiques win the second round 4-1 to Cape Breton, and then lost 1-4 against Halifax in the quarter-finals. The offensive and defensive players of the year for the Olympiques were Guillaume Labrecque and Sam Roberts, respectively while Nicolas Ranger is the Scholastic player. The Governor Charles Henry, with the Olympiques since 1985, has received the prestigious “Ordre de Gatineau”, which is the highest honor awarded by the City of Gatineau for the first time.

Season 2005-2006

During the draft of the QMJHL held in Chicoutimi in June, the Olympiques have picked in the first round Colin Escott (3rd) and defenseman Brad Tesink (15th), and in the following rounds, the forward Michael Stinziani, the defences Benoit Gervais and Bryan Main, these rookies will earned a position in August on the team. It’s the arrival of Claude Giroux in the Q when Governor Charles Henry made the announcement at the draft.

In the history of the franchise, a first shootout goal was scored by Guillaume Labrecque against the Acadie-Bathurst on October 6. Bryan Wilson, assisted by Nick Fugère and David Krejci score at 2 minutes 42 seconds in the 1st period the 10 000  goal in the history of the Olympiques on October 17 in Chicoutimi.

A tragic event takes place on Friday, December 16, an unconditional fan of the Olympiques, Jean Pierre Cyr, is struck by a heart attack at the entrance of the “Zamboni.” JP for his loved ones, he could trace the history of hockey at Guertin with ease while he could remind everyone of many anecdotes. Jean-Pierre left us on December 24th; the Olympiques lost a proud partner who had the Olympiques logo tattooed on his heart.

During the trade period during the holiday season (mid-December to early January), the Olympiques have exchanged Guillaume Labrecque to Shawinigan in return for Pistilli. Defence Maxime Mallette (Drummondville), the 20-year Mathieu Curadeau (Acadie-Bathurst) and winger Alexandre Boivin (PEI) team up in Gatineau.

Michael Stinziani, from team Quebec, returns with the gold medal around his neck at the world tournament of under 17 years old. Rookie Claude Giroux is the top scorer of the Olympiques with 39 goals and 64 assists for 103 points. Giroux will play a game of 6 points. David Krejci and Claude Giroux get 5 assists in one game.

The Olympiques finished in 3rd place in the Western Division (6th overall). New in the QMJHL, the replay is introduced for the playoffs. An arbitrator will be responsible for reviewing the play when theirs a goal. Tthe Olympiques win their first series against Drummondville 4-3, and then they face Chicoutimi which they eliminate in 5 games. In the semi-final, the Olympiques lose against Moncton 1-4. It’s over!

Season 2006-2007

The draft takes place in Charlottetown. Two hockey players joined the Olympiques: center Paul Byron and defence Daniel Sauvé. In the first round, the Olympiques select Travis Stacey (13th) and then in the 2nd round, Alexandre Touchette (27th) and defenseman Steven Delisle (30th). Stacey and Delisle will start the season with the team while Touchette will join the Olympiques in January.

The season opens at home on September 22nd with a 6-4 victory in Cape Breton. The three million spectator in the history of the team is declared on September 30, Mr. Francis Pelletier. For the 13th time in Olympiques history, more than 100,000 spectators pass through the doors of the Robert-Guertin Center during the regular season.

The Olympiques finished in 3rd place in the Telus division with 82 points (6th overall). The veteran of 20 years, Martin Fréchette equals the mark of 23 goals for a defence, owned by Peter Ratchuck since the 1997-98 seasons. Brett Morrison scored five goals in a game and joins nine other players holding the Olympiques team record.

On February 8, Claude Giroux reached the milestone of 100 points; he finished the season 4th scorer with 48 goals and 64 assists for 112 points. Claude is the best scorer of the Olympiques. Viatcheslav “Slava” Trukhno got 5 assists in a game. Claude and Slav are named player of the week of the QMJHL.

During the second round of the playoffs, the Olympiques face the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies and lose 1-4. The last time the Olympiques have been eliminated in the first round.

Season 2007-2008

The Olympiques choose Maxime Clermont a goalie of 15 years old in the first round (13th overall) and defensemen Hubert Labrie (29th), Hugo Laporte (67th) and Dakota Johnson (132nd), and wingers Pierre-Olivier Payment (74th) and Nicolas Boyer (92nd). These rookies will start the season with the Olympiques.

Since June, the Olympiques have a new head scout in the person of Renaud Lemay, who was a statistician and scout for many years with the team in Gatineau. Renaud is a retired (RCMP) since the fall and can now devote more time to his new duties.

To mark the 35th anniversary, the Olympiques have a new orange jersey to be worn on special occasions throughout the season. The new captain, Jean-Philip Chabot, is presented at this event. Head Coach Benoit Groulx joins Team Canada as an Assistant in the 35th anniversary of the Canada-Russia Super Series. Claude Giroux is part of Team Canada.

The season begins badly, the Olympiques suffered a 3-6 defeat against Rimouski, Paul Byron (Buffalo) and Claude Giroux (Philadelphia) are in NHL camps. The assistant coach Rick Hayward does not return behind the bench and a few weeks later, Marc-Andre Dumont also left for new challenges. In mid-October Mario Richer, a former assistant coach with the Olympiques, returns as an assistant.

The Olympiques are involved in raising funds for the fight against breast cancer. During the game of October 27 against the Baie-Comeau, all the Gatineau players will play with pink hockey sticks. After the game, players have autographed their respective stick, and then a lottery is held. This event has risen more than ten thousand dollars that has been donated to the Breast Cancer Foundation in Quebec. The official faceoff will be made by Walter Gretzky (Wayne Gretzky’s father) and the mother of Maxime Talbot.

On November 26, an owner left and there is now
four co-owners, Alain Sear, Gilles Sauvé, André Chaput and Manon Sauvé.

Christmas and New Year’s Day usually means the period of trade in the QMJHL. Several teams are interested in Claude Giroux but the organization of the Olympiques decides not to but Giroux on the market. The Olympiques make some trades: Sebastien Bernier, Pierre-Olivier Payment, Lucas Lang and Vincent Lavigueur leave Gatineau while defences Patrik Prokop and Joey Ryan, and forwards Francis Desrosiers and Alexandre Quesnel are continuing their junior career in Gatineau. Two players who where cut at the training camp in August; Nicolas Vallières Mayer who grew up a few steps from the Robert-Guertin Center and Japan’s Takuma Kawai, joined the Olympiques full time.

Claude Giroux has his third season with over 100 points. It was a year of high performances for this French-Ontario player: the Canada-Russia Super Series the Flyers of Philadelphia camp, the gold medal with Team Canada at the Junior World Championship, 2 games in the NHL with the Flyers and finally the title Personality of the Year in the sports category “Le Droit-Radio-Canada.” Wow what a great season!

Goaltender Ryan Mior lowered three records: Ryan becomes the goalie who played the most regular season games in the Q with 239 games, having 14 career shutouts in the QMJHL and with the most shutouts in a season with the Olympiques with 6.

The playoffs begin on March 21st against Shawinigan. Our Olympiques are all blond now! The series begins at the Robert Guertin Center. Shawinigan is a tough opponent for the Olympiques. After two home victories, the Olympiques lost the 3rd game in Shawinigan to a better prepared team for the match. The Olympiques come charging back the following night to snatch a victory. The Olympiques ended the series by winning the 5th game in Gatineau in front of their supporters.

The quarter-final series begins in Gatineau while the Olympiques are the hosts of the Quebec Remparts. The home team won the first two games (3-1 and 5-2) in front of a packed house at home. The series moves to the Pepsi Coliseum for Games 3 and 4. One hundred supporters of the Olympiques went to the Coliseum by bus and automobiles to cheer their favourites. Against all odds in the castle of the Remparts, the Olympiques sign a victory of 6-2 bring the “protégés” of Patrick Roy to the elimination game. The 4th game in Quebec City will be a festival of goals when the Remparts won the match 8-4 and force the fifth game in Gatineau. The Olympiques want to end on a Friday night and defeated the Remparts in a 5-2 win.

The semi-finals series will oppose our Olympiques and the Halifax Mooseheads. The format of the series will be two games in Haliax, three games in Gatineau and two games in Halifax. Against all odds, the Olympiques extort two wins in overtime to the Mooseheads (2-1 and 4-3). Gatineau players have really raised their game at least one notch! What about Giroux, Mior, Chabot, Byron, and all the others who are putting all their efforts towards the final for the President Cup. The Olympiques are back at the Robert-Guertin Center for the next three games. The local team won the match Wednesday night 6-1 and is now a victory away to the finals: it is the most difficult match to win. The next night, the Mooseheads will lose the 5th game.

Finals are here! The Rouyn-Noranda signed 12 straight victories in the three previous series and faces the Olympiques with a record of 12 wins in 14 games. The series begins in Rouyn-Noranda. Some two hundred supporters of Gatineau will join their team by bus and car to attend the first two games of the final. Friday night, only 2 minutes 05 after the faceoff, Jean-Philip Chabot scored the first goal of the Olympiques. It’s a great start for Gatineau who will win the first game 6-2. All fans present at the game on Saturday night all hope for a victory of their favourites, but also know very well that the Huskies do not want to go to the Robert Guertin Center with two defeats. The Olympiques lack discipline and punishments will allow goals for Rouyn-Noranda who won the game 6-2.

The series continues in Gatineau. The first ten minutes of the game offered very tight game as both teams are closely monitored. Then the Olympiques opened the game with their speed of execution. It’s a goal! It is the white towels that invade the amphitheatre! In less than six minutes, the Olympiques have provided a 5-1 lead into a 10-4 victory in front of a packed house overexcited. What will the 4th game reserve us? The white towels are back again for the next game. The match gets underway, the game is tight. The first goal scored by Captain Jean-Philip Chabot raised the crowd. You can only see white in the stands. The Olympiques sign a 4-1 victory and lead the series 3-1, a victory away from the President’s Cup and from a participation at the Memorial Cup tournament. Friday evening on May 9th, the match gets underway at the Dave Keon Arena. Again more than 200 supporters of the Olympiques are on site. They encourage their Olympiques loudly. After 5 minutes 48 in the game, the number eleven, Jean-Philip Chabot scored a powerplay goal. After twenty minutes, the Olympiques lead by the score 4-1. The third period is tighter. The Olympiques come back stronger in the third period and won the President’s Cup 7-3 at the expense of the Rouyn-Noranda.

Captain Jean-Philip Chabot receives the Cup from the commissioner Gilles Courteau and raises it above his head at the great joy of all the players and supporters. Benoit Groulx won his third Presidents Cup since 2003 this is a record in the QMJHL. Claude Giroux is top scorer in the playoffs with 17 goals and 34 assists for a total of 51 points. Claude won the Guy Lafleur Trophy awarded to the MVP in the playoffs. Ryan Mior set a new record in the QMJHL for a goalie who played the most games (regular season and playoffs) Career: 270 games in five seasons.

After partying following the game, the team returns to Gatineau by plane then is driven from the Gatineau airport to the Robert Guertin Center where about 600 supporters await them, to congratulate their heroes at 3.00am.

The resting period is short because the round robin at the Memorial Cup begins on Friday, May 16 in Kitchener. In the opening match of the tournament, the Olympiques face the Kitchener Rangers the hosting team. The game ended in overtime and the Olympiques lost 5-6. This is the first time this year that the Olympiques are defeated in the first game of a series. The second match takes place on Monday against the Belleville Bulls. The Olympiques are working hard and holding up but unfortunately it is a second straight loss by a count of 2-4; the fourth goal was recorded in an empty net. In the third game of the tournament several players are hiding injuries. The Olympiques faced the Spokane Chiefs and they dearly sell their skin even though they are exhausted. Spokane won the game 3-1 entering the final goal into an empty net. Spokane is the only team not to have tasted defeat in the round robin. The long hockey season is now over for the Olympiques.

A President’s Cup for their 35th anniversary … with the Olympiques THE TRADITION CONTINUES!

(Collaboration of Claude Charette)