Monday, June 24, 2024

Ève Gascon and the business acumen of Canadian junior hockey

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Maria Gill
Maria Gill
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Although her presence was only required in one game, the talented gatekeeper discovered a side of hockey she was unfamiliar with when she found herself at the center of a small game of arm wrestling among hockey equipment manufacturers.

Since the age of 14, Yves Gascon has been wearing goalkeeping equipment made in Lachine, in the region where she grew up, by the famous Lefebvre family. Readers of this column are familiar with the history of Lefebvres. These craftsmen outfit half of the NHL goalkeepers and their separation from equipment supplier CCM caused a stir in the hockey world at the start of 2020.

In hindsight, we see that the company’s decision by CCM was unwise. A large number of National Hockey League (NHL) goalkeepers immediately followed the artisans who made their pads, shields, gloves and masks in place of the multinationals.

Then in September 2020, equipment maker True made an alliance with the Lefebvre clan, and this company immediately got the lion’s share of the best goalkeepers in the world.

To date, 35 NHL goalkeepers wear real Lefevre-made gear (the brand is spelled without B from the family name).

It now appears that the rest of this confrontation is taking place on the rinks of the Canadian Hockey League (CHL), which includes the junior leagues of the West, Ontario and QMJHL.

Let’s go back to Yves Gascon, whose presence in budding hockey Gatineau has given very positive visibility and media coverage across the country. To purchase such an advertising campaign, QMJHL and CHL will probably have to spend several million.

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But True Brand Ambassador Gascon was not allowed to display that link when she appeared in front of the Olympiques Network. the reason? The Canadian Hockey League has contractual agreements with other equipment manufacturers, including CCM.

Before confronting Rimouski Oceanic, Yves Gascon was asked to erase all traces of the True brand on her equipment. Even his wand was painted white for the occasion.

Yves Gascon had to hide the inscription on her wand on Saturday.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Justin Tang

I think putting that kind of pressure on Eve is very important, even though she only had to play one match. Especially since this presence at QMJHL was very important to her. You didn’t need that kind of distraction, thinks Patrick Lefevre. The latter is the director of development and co-founder of Lefevre

Patrick Lefevre briefly kept himself in the net at QMJHL. He is fully aware of the full extent of the feat that Yves Gascon has accomplished.

We have been taking care of her for several years and have been closely following her journey and development. Eve is a very good person. When you come to visit our factory, everyone finds it refreshing. It was always an excellent advice. But seeing her continue to maintain such high standards against men, and no longer against boys as they used to be in junior hockey, is pretty impressive. He said.

The discussion could end there.

After all, a contract is a contract. Putting ourselves in the shoes of other OEMs, one could certainly argue that True only has to purchase a license from the Canadian Hockey League if it wants its brand to be visible on its rinks.

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Specifically, Patrick Lefevre argues. The Canadian League does not allow us to purchase a license that allows players to use our equipment. We want to buy this license but have been told we are “banned” for two years.

We suspect, of course, that other equipment manufacturers aren’t excited about the idea of ​​seeing our products make it to the Canadian League. »

Quote from Patrick Lefevre

However, at the end of the day, it doesn’t make sense that half of the best goalkeepers in the world (those in the NHL) play with our equipment, but that all the goalkeepers in young Canadians, who aspire to a hockey career, do not have the right to wear it. However, we are a Canadian manufacturerhe regrets.

When asked by email why Ève Gascon could not show her affiliation with True and why True-Lefevre could not obtain a license that would grant access to the Canadian League arenas, QMJHL Assistant Commissioner Martin Lavallée answered that True is not a CHL approved goalkeeper supplier. .

Since this is hockey’s business, some observers noted over the weekend that if a hockey player played one game in the Canadian Hockey League, he automatically forfeits his eligibility for the AFL ranks.

Ève Gascon during the national anthem.

Ève Gascon could return to play in QMJHL this season, according to her Gatineau Olympiques coach Louis Robitaille.

Photo: The Canadian Press / Justin Tang

In fact, the NCAA considers the Canadian Junior Major Leagues to be professional circuits, and exceptional rules have been established to exclude CHL players from American College Hockey League.

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However, Yves Gascon must enroll at the University of Minnesota-Duluth in the fall of 2023.

However, it will not lose its eligibility because the mentioned exceptional rules apply only to men’s college hockey.

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