Yesterday morning, Isabelle Perron went to meet Jocelyn Thibault for an interview about his involvement in the Phoenix and the team’s long-term goals.
Without jargon, the CEO and owner of Sherbrooke Phoenix chatted with great enthusiasm.
Why was it important for you to put together a team of the QMJHL in Sherbrooke?
Jocelyn Thibault: “First reason, I have very good memories here of my time playing junior from 92-93, in Sherbrooke for my first year.
And Sherbrooke is a beautiful city at the base. This is a city that was absent from the QMJHL for almost a decade, I thought it was unfortunate because I think a city like this deserved its place in the QMJHL, for several reasons.
For visibility, because the junior circuit is one of the largest in Quebec see the so it seemed important to bring Sherbrooke countries in this circuit.
And you have a beautiful arena, we are blessed to have a beautiful place like this, certainly the best in the league. For all these things, I was pleased to be part of this project and the return of the team here. ”
What motivates you each morning to wear this challenge, which should take you a long time?
JT : “In fact, when you lived the passion for hockey, it’s hard to give it up, we do it because we like it. It’s really a passion for me, so to be part of a process of a major junior club like that is a privilege.
Lots of people would love to be in my place, to join the Phoenix some ways be it. It’s very motivating!
There are ups and downs, it’s elite sport as you can see in other sports. It’s the same in hockey, you win games, you lose games, with happy and less-happy sequences! But that’s what drives our passion! And every morning, I get up and I am very happy to come to the Palais des Sports to be part of the adventure. ”
If one looks back in time, what are your goals, what image would give the club?
JT: “One of my long term goals, and it is also one of the objectives of the organization’s leaders is to become a strong franchise at all levels, hockey, administrative, operational, becoming a reference year after year.
Hockey level, because I am perhaps more involved in the hockey section for 7-8 months, I want people to have a competitive team every year, which makes a clear identity. When people go about the Sherbrooke Phoenix, I want that one speaks of a team that works hard, difficult to play against. I want people to know what to expect, it will be difficult to play against us, year after year, in good times and bad cycles. That’s what I like to implement long-term.
In terms of administrative and operational it is the same thing, we acquired an interesting status at this level, it has become a reference in the event organization, also regarding audiences, at different hockey games on the international sphere that took place here. We want to be a strong organization at all levels and are on the way to getting there. ”
We have arrived at ¼ of the season mark, what can you say about what you see on and off the ice?
JT: “I like what is happening now, because we had a tough year last season, there were things that were not going in the right direction, which were not correct. There was much work to put certain things, then we work a lot with the players currently on the team identity, organizational culture, these are things that are super important.
Beyond the quality and defects of the players I think what is most important in an organization, it is culture, what is conveyed in the locker room as value. It does not mean that the victories is secondary, you have to win, we want to win and we are in the right direction to accomplish the first objective I mentioned and what is good is that victories come too. So we feel a new energy in the team ”
It feels that it is progressing fast but in a good way, this is a real “working progress” for 5 years?
JT : “Yes it is, but the important thing is not to go too fast, to the steps one by one. We have a good foundation, not go too fast, be patient and rigorous. Keep the plan in mind of what you want to do.
Stéphane and me to the level of Hockey Operations, has a great complicity then we have a very specific goal, you just keep the plan in mind.
Not to mention that players make us good, they perform well despite injuries, suspensions important players. They embark with us in what we want to do and it’s fun! ”
Finally, what do you have to say to the fans, to the people of the city of Sherbrooke?
JT : “Continue to cheer us, really we have the most beautiful amphitheater of the QMJHL, may be apart from the center Videotron (laughs) …
Young players give a good show, and they put in a lot of efforts to restore the former glory to our organization and I think we are on the right path. So we are waiting at the Palais des Sports! ”