QUÉBEC – 20 years after graduating to the National Hockey League, goaltender Jean-Sébastien Giguère will revisit his roots for an evening, when on Wednesday, he will be inducted into the Québec Major Junior Hockey League Hall of Fame.
An excellent season midget earned Giguère the Ken-Dryden trophy, given to the top goaltending prospect. The QMJHL’s Collège-Français de Verdun made him their first choice in the draft.
‘The team had one of the best goalies in the league in Philippe DeRouville. I was able to learn from him that first season, when I played backup. Joël Bouchard was one of the veterans of this team. He was 19 and brought a lot of leadership in the locker room,’ remembers Giguère.
At the end of the season, the Collège-Français were dissolved, which allowed expansion team, the Halifax Mooseheads to get their hands on some of the players in a dissolution draft.
‘That’s how I ended up in the Maritimes. I was excited to go to Halifax. I learned English, met my wife, and had some good seasons with great players. I’ve was able to keep in touch with, play with, or even face some of those players in the NHL; including Jody Shelley, Alex Tanguay and Marc Chouinard.’
Drafted 13th overall by the Hartford Whalers, Giguère also played for the Flames, Ducks, Maples Leafs, and the Avalanche. His best years were in Anaheim, where he won the Conn Smythe trophy in 2002-03 and the Stanley Cup in 2006-07.
Back in Time
A few weeks ago, Jean-Sébastien Giguère and his former Anaheim Ducks teammates got together to mark the 10th anniversary of the conquest of the Stanley Cup.
‘It was really great of the NHL to let us relive the memory. At our age, you don’t necessarily look forward to going to the rink to train just to leave all banged up. But you never get tired of the locker-room camaraderie, team spirit, or competition. 10 year have gone by, but it’s as if it was yesterday. We told the same old jokes after all this time,’ he smiled.
In the era of social media, everyone had been able to stay in sufficient contact to be up to date with each other.
‘Several players didn’t have children when we won in 2007. They took advantage of the occasion to take photos of them with the Stanley Cup. It was three really great days.’
Jean-Sébastien Giguère is no longer guarding an NHL net, but that doesn’t mean he is any less busy. Several times per week, he takes part in broadcasts for TVA Sports.
‘It’s a nice way for me to keep a foot in the hockey world. I also try to spend a lot of time at home with my children,’ he added. Goalie coach François Allaire will be among Giguère’s special guests at the Hall of Fame induction ceremony this Wednesday night at the Capitole in Québec City.
Francis Bouillon, Brad Richards, Gaston Therrien, and Luc Lachappelle will also be inducted.