‘To be inducted in the the QMJHL Hall of Fame, is one of the great accomplishments of my career. One doesn’t just remember what you did during a particular season, but what you what you were able to accomplish throughout your professional career. It’s a feeling of indescribable pride. To answer your question; yes, this honour is as important as winning the Vézina or the Hart Trophy.’
José Théodore is visibly excited at the approach of the night when he will enter in the the Quebec Major Junior Hall of Fame.
Théodore has won the Gold medal in the World Junior Championship, the Roger-Crozier, Hart, and Vézina trophies, the Molson Cup, repeatedly, in addition to participating in the NHL All-Star Game. Despite all of his accomplishments, the former star of the Montréal Canadiens never thought that this particular honour would come so quickly.
‘A cup or a trophy, you can see them coming because there is a road that you take to get there. In this case, they decided to pay tribute to my career overall, and you can’t know when you are going to get that phone call. For me now, it’s doubly flattering because Daniel Brière and I are going to be the fist from our generation to enter the Hall. To see my name there beside Martin Brodeur, Vincent Damphousee, or Martin Lapointe… it’s something special,’ he said, smiling.
The Best Preparation
Théodore is at no loss for praise for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. In his day, the season consisted of 72 games, which is 5 more than today. He was drafted by the Saint-Jean Lynx before being traded to the Hull Olympiques.
’72 games is a lot. It’s a long calendar, like the NHL’s. For me, my time in junior were 4 of the best of all my years in hockey. You develop your character there, and when you succeed at winning there, that follows you for the rest of your life,’ he remembers, with justification.
The winner of the Guy Lafleur Trophy in 1995 (given to the outstanding player in the playoffs), he went on to win the President Cup in 1996. His brilliant performance won him spots on the QMJHL and CHL All-Star teams.
The following season he divided his time between the American Hockey league and the prestigious Montréal Canadiens.
‘The Olympiques were exceptional training for what was to come. In my day, the Hull market was one of the biggest in the league. There was an important pressure. It wasn’t stifling, but the team had a winning tradition and the fans’ expectations were high.’
The team was led at that time by Robert Mongrain with Claude Julien at his side. The same Claude Julien who would later coach José Théodore with the Canadiens.
Surrounded by family
The family will by on hand to witness this emotional evening. His wife and daughter will make the trip fro Florida where the Théodores have chosen to make their home. In total, 15 family members will be there to experience the moment with him.
Théo has hung up his blocker, but he continues to visit NHL arenas as one of the hockey analysts for TVA Sports, the official francophone broadcaster of the NHL.
‘Its really pleasant…we are exactly what you see on TV; a group of buddies that talk about hockey! I really have a lot of fun doing it,’ he smiled.
Daniel Brière, Réal Cloutier, Mario Marois, and Ron Lapointe will also be honoured.