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Quebecers are still (often) called “Frenchies

Last night, the Québec Remparts played an exemplary game to get their hands on the famous Memorial Cup. Patrick Roy and his men are truly the best in the CHL this year.

What a winner Patrick Roy is.

It’s the fourth time in a row that the QMJHL has claimed the Memorial Cup. It’s the seventh time in 11 editions that clubs from here have won the Canadian junior field hockey title.

But does this mean that French-speaking hockey fans are getting the recognition they deserve? Not necessarily, no.

On the sidelines of last night’s Remparts victory, Justin Robidas, son of Stéphane, who has been an excellent Remparts player in recent months, said the guys still had to live with the old insults.

Taunting Quebecers on the basis of language is truly a rare form of intolerance that is still tolerated in 2023.

As you can read in Mikaël Lalancette’s article above, despite the QMJHL’s big performances, there’s still mockery of the language used by the guys from here.

Case in point? Here:

We’re often called “Frenchies”, but we’re sending a message. – Justin Robidas

Welcome to 2023, where language tensions are not behind us. We see it with all the upheaval created by Bill 96, but the war between the English and the French is still alive and well.

The days when QMJHL teams did no good against the Ontarians and the Western oxen are well and truly over.

But here’s the thing: even if the QMJHL clubs are better, do we actually see the locals getting the recognition they deserve?

In the short term, it doesn’t look like it.

After all, you can’t say that Quebec City won because the QMJHL boosted a club. The Mooseheads, Phoenix and Olympiques also put together a big club this year, and that forced the Remparts to redouble their efforts to win.

I really think the Petes would have achieved the same result at the end of the tournament against any of the Q’s top four clubs, which says a lot about the strength of the league.

The subject came up yesterday on RDS during the post-game celebrations, and it’s an important/interesting one: the QMJHL has quality field hockey men who aren’t represented enough.

Why does it often (not always, but often) take Quebecers to promote Quebecers?

Why are Hockey Canada teams mainly made up of non-QMJHL members, whether on the ice, in the office or behind the bench? Why are so few QMJHL players drafted in the first two rounds of the NHL?

Why are the guys still being called “Frenchies” in 2023?

If Seattle had won the Memorial Cup, six guys would have gotten their hands on World Junior Championship gold and the Memorial Cup. But since Quebec won, that number is not six.

Nathan Gaucher was one of the few QMJHL representatives at the holiday tournament.

Why does a good QMJHL GM have to prove himself as a scout when he makes the jump to the NHL instead of having a job as an assistant GM of a team directly? It’s not like that in other leagues, as was said last night on RDS.

In short, there’s still a long way to go, but every victory like the Remparts’ yesterday lends credibility to the QMJHL.


All of which brings us to Patrick Roy, who has led his team to a 72-18 season (including the playoffs and the Memorial Cup) and a club that has lost just three times in just under three months.

Will the NHL call? After all, we’re talking about a wicked good winner… and a guy better equipped to coach the next generation than a guy like Mike Babcock. After all, winning the Memorial Cup 17 years apart shows an ability to adapt.

But beyond that, we’re talking about a guy who’s matured, who’s learned from his mistakes and who always puts his players in the spotlight. He’s never bragged publicly in a long time.

I think teams (Anaheim, New York, Calgary… and Ottawa, maybe) looking for a coach really need to consider him. And it’s bound to make a big hole in the QMJHL.

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