Every week, journalists from Sports de Press answer a question with pleasure, and a little too insolently
Before the “monster trucks” competitions, the Supermotocross Laurentide was for a long time a flagship event at the Olympic Stadium in the 1980s. Probably influenced by a friend, I followed it rigorously, even if I never came close to riding such a bike. . My idol: Ross Pederson, who was winning all the time. To my memory, Press talked about it at length and I also scrupulously read the promotional magazine. I attended the event at least once under the orange canvas of the Stadium, surrounded by 50,000 spectators.
I remember Pederson was Canadian and that’s about it. After a Google search, I learn that he is from Medicine Hat, that he is now 60 years old, that he was nicknamed “Rollerball” and that he was the first motorcyclist elected to the Hall of Fame. of Canadian motorsport. From 1980 to 1993, Pederson won no less than 42 national championships. In short, he slapped the accelerator. Do you poke her?
If we were a hip teenager in the spring of 1984, there were only two men worthy of our admiration: Eddie Van Halen and Steve Penney. The first was already very well known, but the second, then a young obscure goalkeeper, had come to the CH at the end of the season, and had known his 15 minutes of glory that spring, carrying the Canadian alone until in the conference final. Then, due to see-saw performances, he fell a bit into oblivion, and in 1985-1986, when everyone swore by Doug Soetaert and another white-faced white-faced, Patrick Roy , I couldn’t believe it. It’s like poor Penney doesn’t exist anymore. But I didn’t want to know anything: in my eyes, he was by far the best goalkeeper in the Canadiens, and if the team was going to have a chance, it would be with him in net. Even in the grand final, I told myself that coach Jean Perron would undoubtedly surprise everyone and send Penney in front of the net. But it never happened, and my suddenly very obscure hero spent the spring of 1986 eating in the buffet in the press gallery. At least he will have had a ring too.
Steve Penney appeared on the Canadiens’ scene in 1984 as Jordan Binnington did in St. Louis two years ago… minus the Stanley Cup. Penney, however, allowed Jacques Lemaire’s CH to improbably reach the four-quarter of ace… after the team’s worst regular-season performance since 1950! Montreal was on the downward slope after its heyday in the 1970s, the goalies were tearing it off, when this obscure goalkeeper from the Flint Generals, in the International League, the school club … of the school club, got a chance with the team in desperation. Penney learned on Game 1 of the playoffs that he would be the starting goaltender. The Canadian eliminated the Boston Bruins, third overall, then the Quebec Nordiques, before suffering elimination at the door of the final against the powerful New York Islanders, Stanley Cup winners in the previous four springs. . Penney’s humility made him even nicer. A week after the playoffs, the 23-year-old returned to the beer delivery truck. After five days, his boss made him understand that it would no longer work: the deliveries were endless because all the traders stopped him on his rounds for photos and autographs! I was 15, that was the time when I dreamed of covering the Canadiens for The Press, and I was already starting to write articles on CH to practice! I even illustrated my texts with much less successful drawings! His adventure in the NHL unfortunately did not last very long. A certain Patrick Roy was going to be drafted in the weeks after this fantastic spring. Interviewing him a few decades later, once my goal was reached, was a bliss at every opportunity. I never fail to remind him how much he made me vibrate. He must be weary of hearing the same old chorus over and over again!
I became a fan of the Philadelphia Flyers in the spring of 1985. Unless I’m mistaken, it was the youngest team in the NHL at that time. The club’s star player was Per-Eric “Pelle” Lindbergh, who would tragically kill himself while driving his Porsche a few months later. Mike Keenan’s roster, which lost to the Edmonton Oilers in the final, was packed with good players with Lindbergh, Mark Howe, Brian Propp, Tim Kerr, Dave Poulin, Illka Sinisalo, Brad McCrimmon and Rick Tocchet among others. . She didn’t really have a weakness, but the Oilers were in the way. The Flyers would lose in the final for the second time in three years to Edmonton two years later. It was a year after I became a Flyers fan that my favorite player arrived in Philadelphia. And oddly enough, his name was Per-Erik, too. “Pelle” Eklund was a quiet player on the ice, especially in a team that favored muscular play. The word “idol” would be a bit strong, but Eklund was the player I liked the most. At a time when games often ended 7-5 or 9-4, he never scored 25 goals or scored 70 points in a season, but Eklund was often at his peak in important moments. He also had 27 points in 26 games in the 1987 playoffs. Without leaving a big mark in the NHL, the Swede marked a good part of my youth.
I have to admit that I was rather mainstream. But a few lesser-known names made their way into my list. I was a hockey goalie from the mid-1980s until a glaring lack of talent forced me to retire in 1993. Which makes me realize that I was rife with, almost precisely, the penultimate at the last CH Stanley Cup… Obviously, the idol with a capital I was Patrick Roy. But other guards caught my attention. The butterfly style – which will turn all future Cerberus into huge robotic clones – was in its infancy. And the “style” of the doormen was very important to young guards. As such, Daniel Berthiaume of the Winnipeg Jets was clearly one of my favorites. A great career? No. 81-90-21 record, 3.67 goals-against average and .878 save rate. At a time, however, when a rate of .900 was a miracle. And it was nice to watch it play. Darren Pang also piqued my curiosity. In the NHL despite his 5’5, I told myself that I might have a chance… An illusion that did not take long to evaporate!
Do you want an unknown idol? I’ll give you one: Emmanuel Lamy. Don’t look for it on HockeyDB, or even on EliteProspects: I did the exercise and I couldn’t find it. Lamy played at the highest level in Montreal-North. Was it Junior A, Junior B, Junior BB? I do not know. But hey, it was a good enough level for the team to print their team photo, which was posted somewhere in my room. And then one fine day, a meeting was organized with the players of this team and those – atoms, I imagine – of the minor hockey association in Montreal-North, players that we did not really know at the base. So I asked Emmanuel Lamy to sign me inside one of the knee pads that I put under my goalie pads, and I played with this piece of equipment for a long time. Quite quickly, the autograph became illegible, but the important thing was that I knew it was him. The moral of the story, for athletes of all skill levels: never underestimate the impact you can have on a child. A simple autograph and kindness count for a lot. The proof: we still remember it, 30 years later. Thanks again, Emmanuel!
It was not easy to be a fan of the Canadiens in the late 1990s. Mark Recchi was gone, Vincent Damphousse too. Craig Darby played more often than his turn on an attacking trio… Times were tough. But in 1999, the arrival of a 5’8 ” defenseman (according to his official record) rekindled my hope for life. From his first games in Montreal, Francis Bouillon has become my favorite player. He made his mark above all with his shattering checks, delivered as if nothing had happened to players twice his size. Well served by his fluid skating and a center of gravity that seemed flush with the ice, he was a one-on-one terror along the boards. Even when the club recovered and more gifted players joined the squad, Bouillon remained my favorite, including late in his career in a more understated role. In my eyes, he remains and will remain the only true No. 51 of this team. Sorry, David Desharnais and Gustav Oloffson.
I have always loved sports, but my first passion was motorsport. At the turn of the 1970s, at the start of adolescence, before the internet and specialized networks, it was not easy to follow F1 and other world-class disciplines. We had started, my brother and I, to buy the French magazine Sport Auto, but the numbers arrived in Canada a few months late and we were a little out of step with the news. My first hero was the Austrian Jochen Rindt, a driver renowned for his recklessness, and I waited for each issue of the magazine to read the Grand Prix reports. Unfortunately, Rindt was already dead by the time I started to track his exploits. He had succumbed to his injuries after an accident at Monza. However, his lead at the top of the season standings was significant and it was posthumously that he became both World Champion and… my first hero.
Pitcher Dave Righetti. Why ? It’s a bit hazy. I liked the New York Yankees. Righetti was one of their stars. In 1981, he was named Rookie of the Year. In 1983, he had managed a game without a point or a hit. But I was too young to appreciate his exploits. On the other hand, I remember very well that in 1986, he broke the record for major league baseball rescues in one season. It had marked me. The following summer, his photo was on the box of O-Pee-Chee cards. The consecration. From that point on, my admiration for him grew a bit obsessive. I had even drawn his portrait for the front page of the only edition of Baseball in short, ephemeral magazine that I had sold 25 cents to my parents.