Remparts goaltender William Rousseau wants to join his legendary grandfather as Memorial Cup champion
MISE À DAY
Thousands of names have been engraved on the Memorial Cup, since the first team that lifted it at arm's length in 1919. For Quebec Remparts goaltender William Rousseau, there is one in particular which jumps to the eyes, under the 1957-1958 season: that of his grandfather, Bobby Rousseau.
The latter, who subsequently enjoyed a brilliant career as a 15 seasons in the National Hockey League, raised the emblem of Canadian junior hockey with the Hull-Ottawa Canadiens in 1958, but appeared in the tournament four times.
And, if you look closely, you will also find the name of another Rousseau, Roland, the brother of Bobby who also won the prestigious trophy in the uniform of the Montreal Royals in 1949.
“Hockey is a family sport,” Rousseau said Thursday, on the eve of the Quebec Remparts' first game against the Kamloops Blazers.
“It would be incredible to join the my grandfather's name and to refresh the Rousseau name on this trophy. It would be fantastic.”
A pleasure that would be shared by his grandfather, who never misses a game of his grandson.
“He's the only goalkeeper I like! The others all prevented me from earning a good living,” laughs Mr. Rousseau on the phone.
“I am very, very, very proud to see him evolve. He has a lot of fun playing and he is in control of his career. I can not wait to see it. I won the Memorial Cup just like my brother Roland and I would love for him to be able to do it too.”
Bobby (Robert) Rousseau is one of the best rookies in the history of the Montreal Canadiens.
A key role
He does not evolve in the same position as his grandfather, a right winger, but Rousseau now has the chance to play the same determining role as had played Bobby with his team in 1957-58. In 13 games that year – the format was different – he had collected 24 points.
“My preparation started at the beginning of the year and we entered the most advanced today [Thursday]. I have to approach these matches as if they had no tomorrow and that I give my 100%.”
There is no doubt that Rousseau finds himself in good company at the tournament of the Memorial Cup since the other three teams also have top-notch goaltenders. The proof, the trophy for the most useful player of the playoffs was awarded to a goalkeeper: Michael Simpson with the Peterborough Petes and Thomas Milic with the Seattle Thunderbirds.
Milic, incidentally, was the starting goaltender for Team Canada at the last World Junior Hockey Championship in Halifax. Rousseau had almost taken part in it too, before being the last goalkeeper cut off from training camp.
“When I go against him, of course I will want to beat him. I would have really liked to carve out a position with the team, but that is in the past. I have to focus on the present moment.”
A good time to do well
If the Remparts want to lift the Memorial Cup, next June 4 , they will obviously have to have everyone's contribution, but Rousseau's performance could play a big role.
“The guy I would like to have is the guy who played against Gatineau, mentioned coach Patrick Roy. We would never have beaten Gatineau in four without him. He was then good against Halifax but he had been better against Gatineau. It's hard to repeat, game after game after game. If there's a week Will wants to be hot in his life, this would be a good one.”