It is an emotional topic. Quebec is a vast region with a small French speaking population. There are many challenges here, but if there is one thing that makes us proud, it is seeing our athletes represent us in various sports, including hockey.
The NHL’s top scorer now wins the Morris Richard Cup (since 1999) after every season. It was won by Vincent Le Cavalier in 2007 and now, for the first time, his name will be engraved on this remarkable trophy for the first time, American, Auston Matthews.
If, in the NHL, there are still more than thirty players from Quebec who play regularly for their own teams this season, it is less and less, because the international competition is fierce, but also because our model no longer holds the way. This is what many experts have noticed who want Quebec to restore its noble letters in this file.
One of these is Benoit Robert who owned the USHL team in Omaha, Nebraska from early 2004 to 2014 and who was the senior president of the Quebec Rimparts and Plainville Armada when he served as president of the Quebec Sports and Entertainment division.
Today, Benoit Robert believes it is time to rethink the Quebec model.
Establishment of an independent commission
“We are on the cusp of reviving the economy in Quebec as we emerge from the pandemic,” Benoit Robert says by phone. We should also take the opportunity to revive hockey because we lost our colors.”
Benoit Robert knows the hockey world perfectly. He knows all the championships in Canada and the United States and his real friends in life are Mario Lemieux, Luc Ropital, Marc Bergeffen, Pat Bryson, etc. He now lives in California with his American wife, but his roots are in Quebec. “I have never had a Quebec so close to my heart as I do today,” he said. The older we get, the more we cling to our roots and there is nothing more beautiful.”
His French is impeccable and his passion for Quebec hockey can be clearly seen in his voice.
According to him, an independent commission should be created to revive our national sport. He emphasizes in passing that there are extraordinary hockey chiefs in Quebec (Joel Bouchard, for example) who certainly have good ideas for finding the right solutions.
Benoit Robert also has his thoughts and they deserve to be heard. “I would like hockey to be available to young people again, as it is for soccer and football now. We can support ice hours. You have to sit down with equipment manufacturers to help young people. Rich people can let their children play hockey and nobody is responsible for that. However, There are a lot of talented young people out there who are no longer developing because of that. For 30 or even 40 years we were a machine for making hockey players, but that’s not the case anymore. You have to go back to basics and look at yourself in the mirror. We have to change the paradigm and that will definitely hurt.”
pass through school
As the owner of the USHL team, Benoit Robert had a priority, and this was to ensure that the youngsters who played on his team would receive the appropriate education. “Two percent of novice players will get jobs while 98 percent will be on their own. My priority in Omaha was that the path to player success was through school and a very good education. When they go to college, they have another four years to develop. They have a very good education.” American universities are very good, but tell yourself it is the same in Canada. It is also necessary that the revival of hockey passes through education, and therefore through schools.”
I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the Quebec government had a plan in mind now to allow all those who have an interest in Quebec hockey at heart to find a possible solution. Whether it’s QMJHL or the Montreal Canadiens, everyone has a keen interest in ensuring that Quebec becomes a force in the world of hockey once again. We have to find a plan, the right plan and the plan that will allow us to get back our pride that has been falling apart for far too long.