Over the course of 32 professional seasons, François Allaire helped many goaltenders refine their style and improve their effectiveness in net… He became the grand master of the butterfly technique, but above all the first goaltending specialist.
Allaire worked from 1982 to 1984 in the QMJHL with the Verdun Junior. Through his goaltending school Co-Jean, several dozen goaltenders benefited from his interventions.
It is with Patrick Roy as a student that his professional career really took off in the American League, and then with the Montreal Canadiens in the National Hockey League in 1985-86. Until he arrived, the profession of goaltending coach received very little recognition. In fact, goaltending coaches worked only part-time, for teams that even employed one.
During his 12 years with the Canadiens, he also worked as a scout, bringing Quebeckers Vincent Riendeau, Jean-Claude Bergeron, Frédéric Chabot, André Racicot, José Theodore and Mathieu Garon to the big club.
From 1996 to 2006, he became a private consultant, ensuring the progress of Martin Biron, Roberto Luongo, Patrick Lalime, Frédéric Cassivi, Emmanuel Fernandez, Mathieu Chouinard, Simon Lajeunesse, Maxime Ouellet, Corey Crawford… and many more!
During the same period, François Allaire was associated with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks. Beginning in 2000-01, Jean-Sébastien Giguère was acquired by the Ducks, and had the chance to follow the advice of a tutor who demanded intensity, speed and presence between the posts.
Under Allaire, Roy (2) and Giguère (1) won a combined 3 Most Valuable Player Awards in the Stanley Cup Playoffs, not to mention all the other honours such as the Vézina and Jennings trophies, as well as multiple nominations on the all-star teams. On three occasions, François Allaire’s name was engraved on the Stanley Cup, in 1986 and 1993 with Montreal and with Anaheim in 2007.
A true workaholic, this enthusiast will have watched more than 2,000 games for Montreal, Anaheim, Toronto and Colorado.
He transformed his summer hockey schools into real labs to polish and test his new ideas. He also explained and popularized his teachings by writing several books, including “The hockey goalie’s complete guide,” published in 1982, 1995 and 2008, and translated on two occasions. His international fame has taken him all over America, Europe and Asia where he has shared his expertise.
Nowadays, all teams have a goaltending coach. The average save percentage for goaltenders has risen from .850 to .920 in the last 30 years and the butterfly technique remains the optimal way to protect the net. What an inheritance!
François Allaire will be inducted into the QMJHL Hall of Fame on April 3, 2019, in the Builders’ category.