Martin St. Louis takes over as the team’s head coach on an interim basis after the team management dismissed Dominque Ducharme as head coach. St. Louis, a Hockey Hall of Fame member with 16 seasons in the NHL, takes charge of coaching responsibility for the Habs effective Wednesday, February 9, in what may be the biggest change in his long career in hockey since he played for the Hawkesbury Hawks in 1992.
« He’s always been an intense guy, he was always going full-blast, » said Carl Bougie, a former Hawks team mate of St. Louis, during a phone interview. « He always wanted to play, always wanted to be on the ice. »
Bougie, who now serves as assistant coach for the Vankleek Hill Cougars, played centre for the Hawks when St. Louis held the left wing position on the forward line. He remembers St. Louis as « a really good hockey player » and « a role model for the kids now playing », especially for under-sized players on junior and minor league teams.
« He paved the way for the smaller players, » said Bougie. « They (other players) didn’t call him ‘The Smurf’ for nothing. »
Bougie chuckled as he recalled how the five-foot-seven St. Louis would go through any bigger players who tried to stop him.
During his years on junior A and collegiate teams, St. Louis earned a reputation for scoring that helped get him drafted into the NHL, first with the Calgary Flames, then the Tampa Bay Lightning, and finishing with the New York Rangers. He has earned numerous awards, including the Art Ross Trophy for scoring and the Lady Byng Trophy three times for sportsmanship and gentlemanly conduct on the ice. He was part of Team Canada at the 2006 and 2014 Winter Olympics, and shared the gold medal with his team mates at the 2014 Games.
« It means a lot to the (Hawks) club, » said Bougie, regarding his former team mate’s accomplishments. « It’s good for all the Hawks alumni, when you see that. »