CLERMONT – For the team-behind-the-team, making sure things go off without a hitch for the Canadiens' closed retreat represents a pretty big challenge. Meet the man who keeps it all together: Pierre Gervais, equipment manager extraordinaire.
From gloves to sticks to rolls of tape, it’s Pierre’s job to make sure everyone has what they need, when they need it, making the players feel right at home wherever they go.
|Habs' equipment manager, Pierre Gervais. |
“It’s safe to say that this is a lot different than what we’re used to. Especially since we came here right from Quebec City, and we’ll be leaving to go directly to Toronto and then Pittsburgh. We even needed double the jerseys for each guy since they wore red in Quebec but have to wear white in Toronto and Pittsburgh,” explained Gervais.”
“In a case like this, we need to find somewhere to lend us all our towels and a service to take care of the laundry. The basic things that we’d always have on hand in an NHL dressing room like water, drinks and bathroom products we all have to bring with us this time around,” said Gervais, who spent Saturday night unloading a truck packed full of the Habs’ necessities with the help of his team and a few Clermont locals.
“We had our truck loaded to the limit. Everyone working for the arena has been incredibly helpful in getting us set up. We have two dressing rooms reserved strictly for the players for the whole time we’re here. I brought my machine for sharpening skates as usual, but we also brought the machine we use to dry the gloves, which is something you’ll usually already find in an NHL arena.”
On top of everything just mentioned, Gervais also has to make sure he pays special attention to the single most important piece of equipment for any hockey player – his stick.
“When it came to the sticks, I asked all the guys to give me eight each before we left to make sure they had enough for the Quebec game and for while we were here in Clermont,” noted Gervais, who will begin his 23rd season with the Canadiens this fall. “Before we head out for Toronto, I’m going to pick a few sticks for each of the guys from what we brought and send the rest back to Montreal so we don’t transport too much stuff.”
As far as the arena that will see the Canadiens finish their training camp goes, Gervais has nothing but praise for the people of Clermont.
“Everyone we’ve dealt with here has been really helpful. Let’s just say it helps to give us a greater appreciation the massive facilities we have at the Bell Centre and Brossard,” concluded the Habs’ equipment manager.
Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.
Habs Fantasy Hockey PoolNotebook - Oct. 4, 2010 Man on Fire The Numbers Game - Oct. 2, 2010