Thirty Quebec Remparts hopefuls will try to impress this week at the rookie camp on the ice of the Pavillon de la Jeunesse.
The majority of the players will then return home after the rookie camp as just 35 players will attend the 26th training camp in Remparts history, which begins on Saturday.
Of these 35 places, 26 are already occupied by experienced players and guest players.
Head coach Patrick Roy makes no secret of the fact that there are only a few places for the Red Devils’ youngsters.
“It’s an important week for us,” he said. We need to rate them well and see their progress. There could be a spot or two in the squad when captain Théo Rochette returns as a 20-year-old. In defence, a youngster could manage to sneak past. We still have six defenders left if I count Mathieu Werner. On the offensive we are complete.”
“It’s important for young people to do well this year because there will be a lot of places for them next year,” added Roy. However, we will never prevent a player from coming to surprise us.
In goal, William Rousseau will be the number one goalkeeper. Mathis Fernandez and Quenton Miller will be fighting for the back-up position in a few days.
Gagne has a fever
Patrick Roy’s new assistant, Simon Gagné, shared his excitement on Monday. In his junior career 25 years ago he wore the colors of the late Harfangs de Beauport and the Remparts.
“I was a bit nervous on Sunday,” he said. It’s a little weird saying 42 for a junior camp at the Remparts. It is a good feeling”. I can’t wait to get on the ice. I went the same way as the young people. You may ask many questions, but you will soon have answers […]. Anything can happen in the training camp, but I think we’ll have a very competitive side.”
Roy and Gagné will be without veteran Nathan Gaucher, who is competing for Junior Team Canada. You had good words for the Anaheim Ducks’ first-round pick last draft.
“It’s a great experience for him,” said Patrick Roy. What I admire about Nathan is his character. He knew he would be the 13th striker. For him, the team comes first.”
In 1999, Gagné represented the country at the World Junior Championships. He was the 13th forward before rising through the ranks.
“I experienced the same thing as Nathan,” Gagné remarked. Anything can happen in a tournament like this. Regardless of the number of minutes he will play, he will acquire an exceptional background that he will bring back with the Remparts.
A pride for the whole family
Even though they didn’t hit the ice until Tuesday, the Remparts prospects, who were accompanied by their families to collect their gear and take an official photo, were all smiles.
Several players surveyed said they were keen to leave a good calling card to head coach Patrick Roy, even knowing that places for newcomers are limited.
Such is the case of Justin Duval, a 6’5″ and 165lb forward who was picked in the fifth round by the Remparts in the final draft. The Mirabel colossus was accompanied by his parents.
“It’s an experience that makes me grow in everyday life,” said Justin Duval. I’m stressed and excited to present in an organization like Quebec. (…) I want to shuffle the cards and stand out on the ice.”
His father, Steve Duval, is proud to be developing with the Red Devils.
“To see that he’s with the Remparts is even more exciting,” he said. It’s a great organization. We walked around the arena before entering and looked at the different statuses of former players. It is impressive.”
“We had already come to Quebec for the Pee-Wee tournament three years ago. Justin won and was voted player of the game. We have fond memories in Quebec. I often say jokingly that this is where he started building his legend and it must go on,” he added, laughing.
Justin Duval’s mother Brigitte Mann was particularly pleased with how far her youngest son has come.
“It’s really exciting as a parent,” she said. It lets us live beautiful emotions. It’s a great achievement and we’re proud of him.”
The 30 hopefuls of the Remparts, who are participating in the rookie camp until Friday, jump on the rink of the Pavillon de la jeunesse on Tuesday. A dozen of them will then be able to take part in the training camp with the veterans in a few days.