Claude Julien laced up his skates as a player for the last time April 26, 1992, when he and the Moncton Hawks lost 6-5 to the St John's Maple Leafs in Game 2 of their American Hockey League playoff series. The Maple Leafs, led by veteran defenseman Joel Quenneville, went on to sweep the series on the way to the Calder Cup Final.
Julien and Quenneville both retired that summer, but they've opposed each other numerous times since then. They're now on opposing benches as each tries to lead his team to a second Stanley Cup. Quenneville's Chicago Blackhawks have a 1-0 series lead on Julien's Boston Bruins entering Game 2 of the best-of-7 Stanley Cup Final on Saturday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, RDS).
But the two men haven't always been rivals. They share a connection made more than three decades ago with the Windsor Spitfires of the Ontario Hockey League.
Quenneville, a 16-year-old Windsor native, was a local hero on an expansion team in what was then known as the Ontario Hockey Association. As he helped turn his hometown team into a competitive club, Quenneville honed the on-ice skills that helped him earn a 12-season career in the NHL.