The man behind the hockey player

The man behind the hockey player

When I was born, you scored 125 points and won your second Stanley Cup with the Canadiens. Obviously, I haven’t seen that, but I’ve heard a lot about it. Later, I had the privilege of seeing you spin and shine on the ice. I was, like all little asses my age, amazed by your skating and your nimble hands.

Posted yesterday at 1:00 p.m.

Nancy Audet

Nancy Audet
The little girl from Saint-Dominique-du-Rosaire

At the rink in the village of Saint-Dominique-du-Rosaire, where I grew up, we all wanted to wear number 10. It was even the number that my father sometimes wore in his garage league. He admired you like crazy. But you, Guy, you weren’t just the idol of our fathers, our grandfathers and all the little guys who played hockey. You were also the idol of our grandmothers, aunts and little girls like me. You were everyone’s idol. You were real and genuine. You were unique, but we could all identify with you.

In 1989, I remember that I cried when I saw you in the uniform of the Nordiques de Québec. In my heart, it was not possible that you agreed to play for the opposing clan, for the bad guys. I cried even more when you retired.

I knew this time it was over and you weren’t coming back. I wasn’t the only one sad. We always wanted to see your hair lift when you gave the impression of flying on the ice.

At that time, little Nancy did not know that one day she would have the chance to meet you and often more. I had only recently been a sports journalist when my boss at the time told me that I was going to do an interview with you.

I didn’t tell him it was one of the best days of my career. I was going to interview the Blond Demon. Me, the little girl from Saint-Dominique-du-Rosaire. I couldn’t believe it.

I was nervous, but you quickly made me feel comfortable. You spoke to me as if we had known each other forever. As you did with everyone you met.

You always said yes when you were called for interviews. We knew that with you we would always have the right time as to what was going on at the Canadiens. You didn’t have your tongue in your pocket. You wanted them to play with more heart and passion. You wanted them to be proud to wear that uniform like you had been so proud to wear it.

I admired you even more when I discovered the man behind the hockey player. I understood why people loved you so much. You had this gift of making us feel important. You looked people straight in the eye when you talked to them.

You’ve had your share of hardships, but you’ve never stopped getting involved in helping young people. Even when you were sick, you decided to team up with the Fondation du CHUM to raise funds for cancer research.

This morning I had tears in my eyes thinking of you. I went to a rehabilitation center to meet children from the DPJ with Olympic medalists Mikael Kingsbury and Kim Boutin. Times are difficult for these children and we wanted to see them smile. I received a message: “Did you know that Guy sometimes visits the children of the DPJ? No, I didn’t know that. You went there on the sly to offer them Canadiens jerseys. I was moved, but not surprised at all.

You were everyone’s hero. You never forgot where you came from. You were a good man. We will miss you, Guy.

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