Danny Groulx: the most prolific defenseman of all time
20 years on, Danny Groulx still holds the record for the most career points for a defenseman. Not many people can sport three President Cup rings with three different teams. Danny Groulx has left his indelible mark on the Victoriaville Tigres organization and will be inducted into the Québec Major Junior Hockey League’s Hall of Fame this week.
“It’s a great honour. It’s not something you think about when you’re playing, but all these years later, it brings back some wonderful memories”, he says with a smile.
A first-round draft pick, taken 11th overall by the Val-d’Or Foreurs in 1997, Groulx did not take long to find the spotlight.
Having won the 1998 President Cup, he became of interest to many teams that aspired for top honours in 1999. The Acadie-Bathurst Titan got him, and Groulx with his new team got to raise the coveted trophy.
Groulx would go on to finish his career in Victoriaville where in 2002, he slipped on his third championship ring, to make a set of three.
“I was lucky to be part of such great teams; but I also like to think that I took my part in their success. These three Cup victories were three completely different experiences, but all were fantastic. The Cup that I won with the Tigres was something even more magical. As assistant captain, I had a bigger role to play and it was my last year. It was a great way to end that chapter of my life”, says the defenseman who went out in brilliant fashion with a record of 112 points in just 68 games.
The Hardest to Win?
Many professional hockey players will tell you that the Memorial Cup is even harder to win than the Stanley Cup; a junior career often being so much shorter than a professional one.
“It’s true, it’s difficult’”, he laughs. “We were tight with the Tigres. I remember that after two defeats at the beginning of the playoffs, I was a bit overwhelmed. I went to see Stéphane Leroux and I told him, I’m not going to leave Guelph with a lifetime record of no wins and 9 losses at the Memorial Cup! We managed to win the next game and reach the final, but without being able to win the Cup. That Cup seemed so close!”
Groulx can take some consolation in his Calder Cup ring, won in 2007 with the Hamilton Bulldogs.
A Return to Victoriaville?
Danny Groulx is now a coach. He lends his advice to young athletes from the Candiac region who are enrolled in the Académie des pros as well as the defensemen of Charles-Lemoyne College Riverains in Quebec’s Midget AAA.
Would he be open to it if the Tigres offered him a return to the fold?
“You never know! For the moment, I am learning more and more every day in my coaching duties. I also admit that I don’t hate the current stability of my home life. We traveled a lot in the professionals here and in Europe. Now we are settled in Candiac; the kids go to school and have their friends … one thing at a time”, says the 36-year-old, who still has plenty of time ahead of him to win his first Memorial Cup from behind the bench.
Danny Groulx by the Numbers
332 points in regular-season play (1st among defensemen)
71 points in the playoffs (3rd among defensemen)
All totalled; 403 points in 419 games in the QMJHL