The Shawinigan Cataractes will ice one of the youngest squads in the QMJHL this season with nine players aged 17 and under, including no less than seven rookies. We sat down with General Manager Martin Mondou to talk about this upcoming historic season celebrating 50 years of hockey in the Mauricie region.
After missing the playoffs last year, can this young Cataractes team cause some surprises this season?
“We hope so! There are 18 teams in this league and only two do not make the playoffs. It goes without saying that you never want to be one of those teams. This is a priority for us. Last year we came really close to making it, but came up short in the end”, remembers Mondou. “Looking back now, I think our lack of veterans is what hurt us down the stretch. The goal this time around is to cause the biggest surprise possible with the young group we have and our good veteran players.”
How will your first-round pick Mavrick Bourque adapt to the style of play in the QMJHL and to the Cats’ team identity?
“Up until now, the answer lies in the statistics; he led the team in scoring during the preseason. We don’t have any specific expectations for him this season. We just want him to develop because he is a part of what the future holds for the Cataractes. Good things are happening for him right now and he had a good training camp,” explained Mondou. “So far, Bourque has delivered what the Cataractes were expecting. He is talented and engaged. His top quality is the way he works in all three zones. He has a lot of offensive talent, but he also works hard in his own end. His defensive responsibility is something that is really important to us.”
The franchise is celebrating its 50th anniversary this season. What does that mean to you?
“It is going to be an extremely special year. I have had the chance to experience both Cataractes realities. From a time when volunteers were keeping the team afloat day after day, in an outdated arena, and with very limited resources… to today. We have an ownership group that cares for this team which is now healthy again”, stated Mondou. “In our eyes, this 50th anniversary is the perfect time to thank all those that helped us be able to be here today by ensuring the survival of the team. There are a lot of people who contributed to that. The challenge is trying not to forget anyone who did their part over the years.”
This season, the Cataractes will be wearing throwback jerseys honouring both the Shawinigan Bruins and Dynamos. Two outdoor games will also be on the schedule and played at the famous Grandes Estrades, where the St. Tite Western Festival is held annually.