Sags-Drakkar: who will be sacred King of the North?
It is said that a rivalry is born from a competition between two people who aspire to the same thing. During the rivalry weekend, the Chicoutimi Saguenéens and Baie-Comeau Drakkar will have their sights set on the same objective; dominating the North.
Seperated by 325KM, both teams have a mythical past in the QMJHL and still, to this day, this rivalry is still very much alive in the hearts of their management teams and especially in the hearts of their fans, who can’t help but ask to relive the same emotions they’ve had in the past.
In 185 games between both squads, the Sags have won 88 games and lost another 84. Both teams have also split 13 games that resulted in a tie. Perhaps the most surprising historical fact is that despite the Sags 88 wins, it’s still the Drakkar who dominate in the goals scored department. The Côte-Nord team has found the back of the net a total of 626 times compared to the 531 goals scored by the team who’s been representing the Saguenay region since 1973.
To be noted, only the Shawinigan Cataractes and Drummondville Voltigeurs have played more games against the Saguenéens than the Drakkar.
Historically speaking, the Drakkar has often been haunted by Saguenéens players; a quick glance at the list of players who’ve scored the most goals versus the Côte-Nord representatives shows a lot of players who’ve worn the baby-blue colors.
Maxime Boisclair (42), Jacob Lagacé (41), Mathieu Melanson* (41), David Desharnais (40) and Nicolas Roy (39) are all among the top 10.
Over the past few years, both franchises were icing very different styles of rosters, but this year could be the official return of the rivalry. Both Northern representatives have younger teams and the Drakkar newcomers are keen on proving they are no push-overs. Players such as Bouchard, Fortier, Chekhovich, Joly, Martel and Lalonde are hungrier than past players the Drakkar used to have. By having veteran netminder Antoine Samuel play between the pipes, coach Martin Bernard finally has stability at the position.
On the other end, the Klima twins will try to accomplish great things alongside new captain Olivier Galipeau and teammates Rubtsov and Kotkov. Knowing Yannick Jean, the coach will do anything he can to give the Saguenay people a competitive team.
For a few years now, the QMJHL has been doing its best to help its teams recreate some of the rivalries that used to generate so much passion that fans would rush to the gates in order to soak up these magical and historical moments.
A native of the beautiful Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region, I grew up watching players such as Félix Potvin, Michel St-Jacques, Éric Fichaud, Steve Gosselin, Danny Beauregard, and many more. Later on, I had the chance to witness David Desharnais, Francis Paré, Maxime Boisclair, Stanislav Lascek, Marek Zagrapan, Francis Verreault-Paul, Jeff Drouin-Deslauriers, Nicolas Deschamps and Antoine Roussel as an analyst.
The history behind the Saguenéens organization is prestigious and the current edition will do all it can to entertain the Sags fans who’ve always stuck up for their team through the good and bad seasons.
As for the Drakkar, I will always remember the dominating offense that was generated by Yannick Lehoux, Marco Charpentier, Sylvain Deschatelets, Jonathan Gautier, Charles Linglet, Benoit Mondou, Joel Perreault, Patrick Thoresen, Pascal Pelletier and Jean-François Jacques, who scored so many goals over the 5-6 seasons in which the Drakkar dominated the QMJHL. On defence, I will always remember Ghyslain Rousseau and Maxime Fortunus, who made history for the Northern franchise.
Will the Dual of the North pick up from where it left off this season?
That’s what we’ll be finding out during the rivalry weekend taking place next October 13 and 14.