After reading my colleague Mathis Therrien’s article on Élizabeth Rancourt’s interview on the Solemn podcast, I was tempted to give it a listen. Anyway, I had errands to run in a big store where you need a membership card to get in, you know what I mean. Somewhere between mozzarella and baby diapers, you know yourself (dixit Yannick in “Ces soirées-là!”), I stumbled across a pretty juicy segment and thought I’d share it with you.
At the 58th minute of the episode, the host of the Canadiens games on TVA Sports makes a big revelation. But before I tell you more, I need to give you a little context. It won’t take long, so don’t panic!
In the interview, Rancourt talks about how TV journalists rarely get scoops, because they really don’t have much time to process information. Think about it: whether in scrum mode or live reporting mode, the journalists assigned to cover the team have to get the information they gather out quickly. The evening recording is broadcast the same evening.
But even so, beat reporters don’t have much time either. This situation means that some of the big stories can’t really be covered, since there’s always plenty of immediate material to come out after matches, training sessions, personnel changes and so on.
Not so long ago, we had very good proof of this, as it wasn’t the famous insiders, who are supposed to be hyper-connected in the field hockey world, who brought out the Hockey Canada scandal. It was an investigative journalist, Rick Westhead of TSN, who did the groundwork to unearth this incredible story.
Having said all that, let’s get back to Elizabeth’s revelations.
According to what she says in the episode, Carey Price’s break during the 2015-2016 season was hiding something very big, to the point where the big boss at TVA, not just TVA Sports, mandated the investigative journalism team at J.E. to get to the bottom of it. The story was too big and there were too many secrets, it had to be dug up, and no one was better placed to do it than them. They have the luxury of weeks of digging time to put together a major story, and they did just that.
“We had all the information why he had taken a step back. It wasn’t just physical!” – Élizabeth Rancourt
So why didn’t they come out publicly?
As I listened to the passage, my first thought was that it must have been the alcohol problems that eventually led him to use the Players’ Association’s help line for substance use disorders a few seasons later. But the more I think about it, the less it fits.
Because if it had, Élizabeth Rancourt could very well have said that this was what J.E.’s investigation had revealed, since Price’s alcohol problems are now public knowledge. So it must be something else, but what? Unfortunately, at this point, I can only speculate and imagine scenarios.
Because if it was smaller, it would have come out, wouldn’t it?
At the same time, she reveals that Carey Price’s absence wasn’t solely related to a problem hidden by the goaltender and the Habs. Indeed, there was something wrong with his metabolism.
One of Price’s physical trainers at the time was a friend of hers. Through this person, she was able to discover that the Anahim Lake goalie had a problem recovering from exertion.
“For an athlete, it’s 95% recovery and he only had 2% (approximate figures). Even a normal human, you’re going to walk and you’re going to need a week to recover, it just can’t be!” – Élisabeth Rancourt
In Carey’s defense, it’s rare for journalists to ask questions about anything other than the field hockey event of the day. Go back and reread the bit about the hazards of being a journalist earlier in the text: it’s all in all, as they say! So I can understand why it’s not the demands of the job that appeal most to players.
That said, the fact that this is the only pleasant chat the host has had with the goalie in all her years in Montreal says a lot about the guy’s personality. According to her, Carey Price became a goalie because it was easy for him and it paid off.
My colleague Mathis said in his article that if Price hadn’t loved field hockey, he wouldn’t have faced so many injuries and tried so hard to get back into the game if he hadn’t loved goaltending. I don’t entirely agree with his reading of the situation. But that doesn’t mean my view is the right one – we’re all entitled to our own opinion. But here’s a story that might explain why I don’t agree with him.
In my life, I met a girl who was a doctor. Unfortunately, that wasn’t at all what she wanted to do in life. She wanted to do theater. Her dream was to be a therapeutic clown, helping sick people feel better. But with the ease she had at school, the grades and the potential she had, it would be a waste not to go to medical school and help sick people, physically. What’s more, it pays well, it’s a highly recognized and valued profession in society, so she didn’t really have a choice. Today, she just can’t wait to retire and do what she really loves. But in the meantime, even after burn-outs and nervous breakdowns when she has to work emergency shifts, she tirelessly returns to treating her patients. Not because she loves it, but because we all, collectively, need her and her abilities.
If what Élizabeth Rancourt says about Carey Price is true, I have a feeling that it could be the same kind of feelings he had during his career that led him to fight so hard to get back in the game and try to win a Stanley Cup. After all, as long as you’ve got the potential to be the best in the world, why not try to be and lift the big trophy in the process?