The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League today announced the names of the three head coaches considered for the Ron-Lapointe Trophy. These coaches are recognized by the league for their leadership and dedication as well as for their team’s on-ice success. The 2019–2020 finalists are Serge Beausoleil (Rimouski Océanic), Steve Hartley (Drummondville Voltigeurs) and Stéphane Julien (Sherbrooke Phœnix).
The award is named after Ron Lapointe, who coached the Montreal Juniors, the Quebec Remparts and the Shawinigan Cataractes before graduating to the National Hockey League. While he was head coach of the Quebec Nordiques, he was forced to resign halfway through the 1988-89 season because of a kidney tumour. He died at the age of 42 after a three-year battle with cancer. Among past recipients of the award, we can list professional coaches such as Joël Bouchard, Dominique Ducharme and Pascal Vincent.
Serge Beausoleil just finished his ninth season behind the Rimouski Océanic bench. The expectations were high in the Bas-St-Laurent region with young sensation Alexis Lafrenière playing his sophomore and potentially last season with the team. Playing in the powerful Eastern Conference, Beausoleil’s team battled hard all season long to finish in fourth place with a 38-18-4-4 record.
Steve Hartley’s troops defied all the experts this season. The Drummondville Voltigeurs enjoyed one of their best campaigns in franchise history, posting a 36-25-2-0 record. Following the departure of many key players, many believed the Volts were entering a rebuilding cycle. However, Hartley and his team managed to surprise most hockey experts and ended the season in third position of the Western Conference.
It was a dream season for the Sherbrooke Phœnix and head coach Stéphane Julien. Coaching in Sherbrooke for seven years now, Julien and his men stayed at the top of the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings all season long. The Phœnix was also awarded the Jean-Rougeau Trophy as regular-season champion. The team concluded the campaign with an impressive record of 51-8-3-1, establishing a new franchise record in the process.