Broken sticks, unbuckled goalie masks, you name it. There is no shortage of situations that call for the help of the equipment manager, but their work is not limited to that. The role of an equipment manager remains a bit of a mystery, in addition of being underrated by many. That’s why we are pleased to present the members of the QMJHL equipment manager fraternity, along with a brief snapshot of their work.
Equipment managers must, first of all, prepare the dressing room and the players’ bench for morning skates, practices and games. They must also coordinate with their peers on the other side regarding the opposition’s arrival and their needs (ice time, laundry, etc.).
Equipment managers are on hand for all practices and games. They are always on the lookout for a broken or poorly adjusted piece of equipment to either fix it or replace it. They must be extremely organized and alert since everything is a split-second decision in the heat of the action.
On top of taking part in all road trips, they are also in charge of preparing all necessary equipment for the club’s trip. Many equipment managers are also responsible for reserving hotels, buses, meals, etc.
The equipment manager is also in charge of handling orders from various suppliers. They have CHL agreements that must be followed regarding equipment suppliers. This also applies to sponsorship agreements.
NHL players are not the only ones with special requests and superstitions, QMJHL players have their own as well! As such, equipment managers not only answer to their needs, but also go beyond in efforts to help them reach their optimal performance level. Needless to say, our players are waited on hand and foot. All players’ equipment is maintained and cared for to the finest detail to ensure safety as well as performance.
2019-2020 Equipment Manager Profiles:
George White – Acadie-Bathurst Titan
George just completed his second season with the Titan.
“I worked in Jr. A for ten years and when I had the chance to replace Jean Huynh in Bathurst for a couple of weeks while he was away with Hockey Canada, I took the opportunity and did so again for the first round of their playoff run. I was hooked with the level of hockey, the professionalism of the players and of the whole Titan organization. When I was asked to replace Jean when he left for Sherbrooke after Bathurst won the Memorial Cup, I jumped at the chance. It has been two full seasons now in the League and I have enjoyed the experience tremendously. It feels great to be a part of the Equipment Managers crew and the QMJHL family.”
Brian St-Louis – Baie-Comeau Drakkar
Brian is our longest-serving equipment manager with 34 QMJHL seasons under his belt. Currently with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar, he previously worked with the Hull Olympiques and he represented the league at several international tournaments with Hockey Canada.
“What I appreciate most about our job are the friendships we are able to form across the League. It’s always fun to bump into a fellow equipment manager, or a coach, or a player, and start swapping stories or just catching up on how they’re doing. The chance to travel all around the province and across the Maritimes, or even around the world, is another aspect of my work that I really enjoy. We have a lot of different things we need to do and you never know what a new day will bring, so our days really fly by.”
Martin Simoneau – Blainville-Boisbriand Armada
Martin just ended his first season as head equipment manager, after being an assistant last season. Being only 21 years old, he is one of the youngest equipment managers in the League.
“Being an equipment manager in a league like the QMJHL is a dream. This position comes with a lot of daily responsibilities, so it is essential for me to constantly be up to date and to listen to the players’ requests in order to answer each of their needs, sometimes very specific. What I love most about my work is that every detail is important, so it is essential for my team and I to pay special attention to every task we need to accomplish. There is no day off in our line of work. We work tirelessly to make sure that every player is fulfilled and to give them the best service. Every day, the players drive me to get better by taking it to the next level, and there is no word to describe the feeling of being part of a big family like this team.”
Aidan Rafuse – Cape-Breton Eagles
After a short stop in Halifax where he was the assistant equipment manager, Aidan recently concluded his third complete season in the League.
“I’ve always wanted to work in the QMJHL, it’s been one of my goals. After 10 years in the CIS (USports), here I am!”
Andrew MacNeil – Charlottetown Islanders
The one they call “Spider” just completed his 17th season in the League, first with the PEI Rocket and now with the Charlottetown Islanders.
“What I enjoy most about my job in the QMJHL is getting to work in the hockey world at a high level, not to mention doing so in my hometown and getting to meet terrific people. I also like seeing our young players get drafted, seeing them grow as people and then succeed in life after junior hockey.”
Denis Tremblay – Chicoutimi Sagueneens
Denis is another veteran in our League with 18 seasons, all spent with the Sagueneens.
“What I enjoy most is being in contact with our young players. That’s what keeps us young after all these years. And this line of work is all about passion.”
Robert Pouliot – Drummondville Voltigeurs
Robert just completed his sixth season in the League. Now with the Voltigeurs, he previously worked with the Titan.
“I knew what this job was all about, and I just gave it my all. I really enjoy the contact with our players, which is very rewarding. What I like most is ensuring that everything we do is as professional as possible so that our players can perform at an optimal level.”
Sergé Haché – Gatineau Olympiques
Serge has been part of the Gatineau Olympiques family since 1988; meaning he just finished his 32nd season in the QMJHL! The enthusiastic manager has been part of five Memorial Cups and two World Championship experiences with Hockey Canada.
“What I enjoy most is being surrounded each day by these young students-athletes who are so talented, dedicated and disciplined. It’s also special to help them grow to become good citizens who are productive and hardworking in a sport they are passionate about.”
Alex Ryan – Halifax Mooseheads
The 2019-2020 season was Alex’s first with Halifax. He was with Val-d’Or the previous season and prior to that, he spent four years working in USports.
“What I enjoy about my job as an equipment manager is being able to work in the great world of hockey and the friendships that it brings. I have been a huge fan of the sport since my childhood and being able to work with athletes and coaches of an incredible calibre, and watch them perform everyday, is a true blessing. I also get to do this in the great city of Halifax and working for an outstanding organization like the Mooseheads is an absolute honour. I am very grateful for everything the game of hockey has provided me, and I am happy to be a part of the QMJHL.”
Craig Roper – Moncton Wildcats
Craig has just completed his third season in the QMJHL, and he has been an equipment manager for over 20 years.
“Hockey has always been a passion of mine, and to be able to do a job I am passionate about in my hometown is very special. The Wildcats are an incredible organization to work for, I consider myself very fortunate to have this position.”
Stéphane Savard – Quebec Remparts
Stéphane celebrated his 12th season in the League with the Remparts this year.
“What connects me to the QMJHL is the chance to work with these great student-athletes who represent our future. Our team reflects society in that we have future mechanics, doctors, etc. For now, I just try to pass on the knowledge I have and help them grow and reach their full potential.”
Francis St-Pierre – Rimouski Oceanic
Native of Rimouski and with 23 years of experience in the hockey area, Francis has always been passionate by his line of work.
“I have the opportunity to share my experience with the young men et to contribute in my way to their progression. I surpass myself everyday. I appreciate the bonds I have forged over the years with the young men who followed their dream. We have the chance to help each other among the equipment managers and that is what makes the strength of our league. I am privileged to work for the Oceanic Rimouski organization and to support each player in doing what he loves most, which is playing hockey and reaching his goal. Every day is different, and the teamwork is essential to allow the players to live from their passion.”
Jean-François Larochelle – Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Jean-François, who has been working with the Huskies for seven seasons, appreciates his experience in his homeland.
“Since I am always looking for new challenges, I joined the team during the 2013 playoffs as a volunteer in order to learn more about the trainer job. The experience was interesting, so I joined the team officially a few months later. After a seventh season with the Huskies, I can say that my work is very rewarding. A lot of souvenirs are engraved in my memory but mainly, I developed a lot of friendships. Working in the QMJHL is really gratifying!”
René Arbour – Shawinigan Cataractes
Rene has just wrapped up his sixth season with the Cataractes.
“What I like most about my job in the QMJHL is the love of hockey as well as the daily contact I get to have with the managers, the coaches and the players. I like the mutual aid between equipment managers. I always give my 100% for everyone to make sure they have everything they need, both at home and on the road.”
Jean Huynh – Sherbrooke Phoenix
Jean just completed his second season with the Phoenix, after doing one year with the Titan.
« The QHJHL is an excellent opportunity for my personal and professional development. The people we are surrounded with push us to be better at our work, but also at being better citizens. The relations I have with players, therapists, equipment managers and all the personnel are important for me. It is a profession that I like everyday for the relations I have created but also for the skills I learn and that I try to master daily. I want to improve my abilities as an equipment manager and the League offers the necessary resources and asks us to keep high standards. I am proud of the work I do.”
Tyler Jay – Saint John Sea Dogs
Tyler just completed his first season with the Sea Dogs.
“What I love about working in the QMJHL is making connections with people from coaches, management, front office, League officials, volunteers, and players. I have made friendships within this league that will last a lifetime. “
Jean Desjardins – Val d’Or Foreurs
Jean just completed his first season with the Foreurs after working for nine years at the Junior AAA level.
“I love the contact with these young athletes and being surrounded daily with people passionate in the wonderful school of life that is hockey. To plan and to give the maximum for the players to perform in the best possible conditions is very exciting. Every day is a new challenge that I can’t wait to do!”
Christian Tremblay – Victoriaville Tigres
Christian, or those who know him better under his nickname “Colosse”, just completed his first complete season as an equipment manager for the Victoriaville Tigres. Previously, he was an assistant equipment manager for the Quebec Remparts for seven seasons (2009-2016). With this team, he had the chance to participate in the President Cup final and the Memorial Cup in 2015. He also took part in the 2019 Canada Games in Alberta, where he helped Team Quebec to a gold medal. Christian, who has always been in love with hockey, has over 23 years of experience in his field.
“For me, the most rewarding aspect of this job is to witness the evolution of these young players over the years. Some will grow from adolescence to adulthood during their career in the League and the support staff is in the front row to see those changes. We are there to take care of the players, but we also support them in many steps of their life (studies, hockey, community life, etc.).”