What identity will the 2018-19 edition of the Olympiques have coming off the rebuilding process that began last season?
“We will have a fast team with a lot of talent and skill and a blend of veterans and rookies,” says Gatineau General Manager Alain Sear. “Seven players will be in their first QMJHL season in spots they all richly earned at camp. We have a pair of experienced goalies as well which is never something to underestimate as we begin another long season. We will be an exciting team that will compete every night.”
After having had so much success with a European player like Vitali Abramov, what kind of impact do expect from newcomers like Likhachev and Aebischer?
“The impact of our European players has been unparalleled in recent years. This season, a guy like Yaroslav Likhachev is going to bring people out of their seats with his hands. Fans will love him – he is an exceptional talent! He was dominant for Russia at the Hlinka-Gretzky Cup which was the World Under-18 Championship held in Edmonton this summer, explains Sear. As for David Aebischer, he’s a very mobile defender with a very good first pass. His flair will create the type of offensive spark that will greatly help us this season.”
With several veterans having moved on since last season, which players do you expect to step up as team leaders?
“Tristan Berube will be our No. 1 goalie this year. He has a great attitude and is very respected by his teammates,” assures Sear of his netminder. Defencemen Gabriel Bilodeau and Chris McQuaid will take on a leadership presence in the dressing room. With the experience they bring, wingers Maxime Trepanier and Jeffery Durocher will also have big roles. We will have a good team this year and we are looking forward to getting started!”