It was three years ago. Drummondville, during a golf tournament bringing together a crowd of QMJHL alumni, governors, sponsors, journalists.
In an interesting interview in front of everyone and answering Bernard Lepage's questions, Patrice Bergeron had been wonderful, remarkable.
Becoming one of the most respected and admired hockey players on his planet, Patrice Bergeron explained in rich and colorful French how his passage in the Courteau circuit had been profitable and enriching for him, explaining in particular the provisions to help him to study, to become a responsible man, a serious and committed competitor.
For more than 30 minutes, we were all hanging on his lips and he made us all realize that this circuit has become much more than a junior hockey league. Young people are monitored, supervised and trained professionally.
Gilles Courteau, an extraordinary man, has produced a colossal body of work. In 1986, when the young Courteau took over the reins, he was asked to stand guard until a personality strong enough to lead, develop and expand was found.
He was said to be “interim”, but the owners of the teams quickly realized that they had no more to look for.
The young Courteau was the man for the job, who he would quickly become the rector capable of taking major junior hockey to the top and competing with Ontario, the west of the country, Europe and American universities.
Today, young hockey players come from far away to learn here. Also, the Maritimes have added teams to the circuit. Coaching is not only for those who are likely to get into the NHL.
There is hockey, but there is also education, training, human development. At the end of their internship in the QMJHL, the kids are not helpless. They leave enriched.
Gilles Courteau led the league for 37 years as if these athletes were his own children.
Today, in 2023, these young people play the TV and they make the long journeys by plane.
Parents, team owners and players know very well that they have the chance to evolve in one of the most beautiful development circuits in the world. Nothing less.
AND THE NEXT
Upon entering his new office, Mario Cecchini probably immediately realized that he was going to succeed a man of irreproachable uprightness leaving an organization, books, administration and discipline directly on the mark.
When I heard Québec solidaire MP Vincent Marissal demanding Gilles Courteau's immediate resignation, I thought it was a joke.
He who entered politics as a clumsy storyteller and who begged the public to disregard his attitude of turning the hood and move on.
He negotiated with Justin Trudeau and other federalists before sleeping with Quebec solidaire. A proud great among the great.
Moreover, government, minister and prime minister, what a magnificent demonstration of incompetence, ignorance and unconsciousness giving us the assurance that the parliamentary committee will not go anywhere but in the field.
What you have just done like gluttonous hyenas is to destroy, to tear up like innocents the end of the career of a great Quebecer, an exceptional builder so much more dedicated than the losers who have just discovered initiations. Mr. Gilles Courteau has absolutely nothing to do with the initiations as the rectors cannot be blamed for the atrocities committed with corpses in the faculties of medicine of the universities.
Gilles Courteau never lowered the panties of a kid. He has never locked a naked youngster in the toilet of a bus and has never participated in, approved and above all not condoned this crap.
Gilles Courteau, a more than respectable man who , within the walls of the august National Assembly, should have been decorated, medaled, rewarded.
Mr. Courteau, on behalf of all those who are well aware of your work, thank you.
Happy, happy and sweet retirement and the “Courteau circuit”, we will never forget.
Thereupon, good luck, Mario Cecchini and beware of scavengers.   ;