From positive to forced break?

There may be a bit of positive to be learned from this pandemic for the QMJHL teams. The long breaks to which the teams of the Courteau circuit have been forced have allowed them to work more with the players on their individual development, a situation which perhaps suggests that a reduced schedule in the coming seasons would be beneficial, believe some coaches consulted by The newspaper Friday.

It was Patrick Roy who first emitted this hypothesis, Thursday evening, after the meeting of the Remparts of Quebec against the Armada of Blainville-Boisbriand.

“Some will not like what I say, but our month and a half [sans jouer et à pratiquer] has been extremely beneficial. COVID may make us realize that by practicing more and playing fewer games, we will allow the players in our league to develop even more, ”he mentioned.

Words that several coaches currently inside the protected environment have endorsed.

“I had this discussion recently with Philippe Boucher and Denis Gauthier,” said Drummondville Voltigeurs head coach Steve Hartley. This break allowed us to take the time to work specifically on certain aspects with defenders and forwards. Last year, in the first seven weeks of the season, we didn’t have any three or four practice weeks. I think the way the schedule was done this year (60 games rather than 68, Editor’s note), we played on weekends, which allowed us to focus on development. In addition, school is very important and the calendar also allowed young people to concentrate even more on their studies. ”

Same story with the pilot of the Saguenéens de Chicoutimi, Yanick Jean. “I can’t disagree with that [les propos de Roy]. We had a three week break before our last game against Rimouski and we really felt like we had improved. Obviously, for the motivation of the players, it is important to play matches, but the idea of ​​playing less to help individual development holds. We have to find a balance. ”


This balance is probably the biggest challenge in adopting a reduction in regular season QMJHL games. On the one hand, there are the coaches, who want more time to work with their players, but, on the other hand, the owners, who are reluctant to leave large sums of money on the table by reducing the calendar. “Saying it and thinking it’s going to happen are two completely different things,” added Roy on Friday after his team’s training. Mentioning it is important, but I understand that there is the financial aspect in all of this. We must find a balance between our owners and the development of our players […] In a normal season, the QMJHL has a schedule of 68 games, as does the Ontario League (OHL) and the West (WHL).

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