TORONTO -- It has to be a bittersweet moment this week for the four players invited to the NHL Scouting Combine from the Quebec Remparts.
That's because Remparts coach Patrick Roy was recently hired as the new coach of the Colorado Avalanche. Roy, who also served as part owner and general manager for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League franchise the past eight seasons, was introduced to the Colorado media on Tuesday during a press conference.
Remparts center Kurt Etchegary, No. 72 on NHL Central Scouting's final ranking of the top draft-eligible North American skaters, considered it an honor to be coached by a legend.
"It's a big disappointment for the players and the whole organization because he has so much experience and the Hall of Fame reputation," Etchegary told NHL.com. "But we're also excited for him because we know every coach wants to make the jump to the NHL and get into the big leagues. We all knew he had the potential to get there, so it was just a matter of time before it happened … but we were hoping to hang onto him for another two years."
Of course, there's also an outside chance that either Etchegary or his three teammates at the Combine, Adam Erne, Nick Sorensen and Anthony Duclair, could be drafted by the Avalanche. That could mean much more mentoring from Roy for the foreseeable future.
What made Roy so special behind the Remparts bench?
"He was confident and he always wanted to win," Etchegary said. "I never met someone who wanted to win as bad as he did. It was like, no matter who we played, a last-place team or first-place team, he wanted to score and win. And win badly.
"Off the ice, he's friendly and looks after the players, and on the ice he just tried to motivate us. He never tried to bring down a player; he just wanted to see us succeed and give us everything to get to that next level."