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The 2000s: Europeans join the party

 

 

With this season marking its 50th anniversary, the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League will be celebrating the milestone in a number of ways. One of those initiatives will be the unveiling of an all-star team for each of the League’s past five decades.

Each one of those teams will be comprised of 23 players and two coaches who impacted the history of the League in their own way, and were selected by a 22-person panel comprised of former players and general managers, journalists, statisticians and scouts.

In the fourth segment of its rich history, the QMJHL is proud to reveal the list of 25 individuals who have marked the League from 2000-2009, all while writing their names in the QMJHL record books.

In the 2000s, the League saw players hailing from both Europe and the Maritimes enjoy great success in the QMJHL. Any discussion of the decade from 2000-2009 must begin with a celebration of Sidney Crosby, who for two seasons with the Rimouski Oceanic brought fans up from their seats across the league. Crosby won a pair of scoring titles, including one at age 16, which was unheard of in the 50-year history of the QMJHL. The first overall pick at the QMJHL Draft by the Oceanic in 2003, Crosby then went first overall to the Penguins two years later. Today, he remains one of the QMJHL’s greatest ambassadors across the hockey world.

The first decade of the new millennium also saw the rise of European stars like Alexander Radulov, Ales Hemsky and Jakob Voracek. First off, Radulov’s harvest of 152 points on his way to leading the Quebec Remparts to the Memorial Cup hasn’t nearly been matched by a QMJHL player since. Czech stars Voracek and Hemsky are also part of this all-decade team thanks to their brilliant junior careers.

The years 2000-2009 also saw several players of smaller stature make their mark and then get their chance to shine in the pro ranks. David Desharnais, Claude Giroux, Pierre-Marc Bouchard and Mathieu Perreault were part of that impressive group who went on to enjoy success in the NHL. We, of course, cannot forget Maxime Talbot – a two-time winner of the Guy Lafleur Trophy as QMJHL playoff MVP, or Simon Gamache who to this day is the last player to have cracked 180 points in a season. Gamache also holds the record for most playoff points in one season with 57! Brandon Reid, Marc-André Thinel and Derick Brassard round out the group of forwards singled out by our panel.

On the blue line, the group of seven defencemen is led by Danny Groulx, the only player from this decade to have been inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame. Groulx is the QMJHL’s all-time points leader for defencemen with 403 points in 419 games, including playoffs. Groulx also won three President Trophies with three different teams, on top of winning Memorial Cup MVP honours despite not winning the tournament in 2002. And no player has played more games (regular season and playoffs) in the league’s 50-year history.

Author of a league-record 42-goal season in 2000-01, small-sized defenceman Marc-André Bergeron then reached the NHL, where he would play almost 500 games despite never being drafted by an NHL team. Marc-Edouard Vlasic is also on this list of seven blueliners to have marked 2000-2009. After winning the Memorial Cup with the Quebec Remparts in 2006, he then made the jump to the NHL as a 19-year-old with the San Jose Sharks. Kristopher Letang – who won a pair of gold medals for Canada at the World Juniors – Marc-Andre Bourdon, Mario Scalzo and Patrick Coulombe complete the list of rearguards on our list.

Between the pipes, the selection committee had no shortage of options to choose from given the amount of excellent goalies who played in the league in the millennium’s first decade. In the end, three goalies to have played in the Maritimes rose above the fray: Nicola Riopel, Ondrej Pavelec and Corey Crawford. Riopel holds the record for the best goals against average in a season thanks to his 2.01 posted in 2009-10 while with the Moncton Wildcats. Czech netminder Ondrej Pavelec was also dominant over his two seasons in the Q when he had GAA’s of 2.51 and 2.52 with the Screaming Eagles. And of course, then there is Corey Crawford, who piled up 96 victories and 11 shutouts over his four seasons in the QMJHL with the Wildcats.

As for the two coaches to have made the cut? The panel could certainly not overlook Benoit Groulx, who led the Hull/Gatineau Olympiques to three President Cup crowns (2003, 2004 and 2008). The other bench boss earning the nod is Patrick Roy, who in addition to winning the Memorial Cup in 2006, is also the coach who needed the least number of games to reach the 200-win (315 games) and 300-win plateaus (467 games).

(*by Stéphane Leroux, special collaboration)

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FORWARDS

  • Sidney Crosby
  • Alexander Radulov
  • Simon Gamache
  • Claude Giroux
  • Pierre-Marc Bouchard
  • Maxime Talbot
  • Mathieu Perreault
  • David Desharnais
  • Jakub Voracek
  • Brandon Reid
  • Marc-André Thinel
  • Derick Brassard
  • Ales Hemsky

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DEFENCEMEN

  • Danny Groulx
  • Kristopher Letang
  • Marc-André Bergeron
  • Mario Scalzo Jr.
  • Patrick Coulombe
  • Marc-Edouard Vlasic
  • Marc-André Bourdon

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GOALTENDERS

  • Nicola Riopel
  • Ondrej Pavelec
  • Corey Crawford

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COACHES

  • Benoit Groulx
  • Patrick Roy

 

 


Click here to see the 1969-1979 decade All-Star Team

Click here to see the 1979-1989 decade All-Star Team

Click here to see the 1989-1999 decade All-Star Team

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