Have you started planning your retirement from hockey?
Michel Mongeau - Ill deal with it when I get there. Its
something that is always difficult to face.
kind of relationship do you plan to have with hockey after you retire as a player? Any
interest in becoming a coach or scout?
Michel Mongeau - My link with hockey will be as a fan of the game.
HockeyZonePlus What is the highlight of your career so far?
Michel Mongeau - Winning the Turner Cup (IHL Championship) in 1991 with
HockeyZonePlus What have been the most difficult moments of
Michel Mongeau - The trades and the pressure that teams put on foreign
players in Europe.
HockeyZonePlus You have played for several coaches. In your
opinion, what makes a good coach?
Michel Mongeau - Someone with a good judgment who communicates well with
HockeyZonePlus In 91-92, after 4 years in the
IHL, you got the chance to play half a season in the NHL with the St.Louis Blues. How was
Michel Mongeau - Too short! It was a dream come true for me.
HockeyZonePlus Can you tell us the story of the incident in
the IHL, in the mid 90s, with Chris Tamer?
Michel Mongeau - I was skating toward the goal and I stopped to fake a
shot on goal. Thats when Tamer caught up me with me and cross-checked me from
behind. I fell head first on the goal post and got 7 fractures to the face :
upper-jaw, left cheek, nose and both eye sockets. I now have 3 metal plates in my face.
The rehab was very difficult and painful. My jaw was wired for a month and my face was
very sensitive. Eating with a straw is quite an adventure and a very good way to lose
weight... It took 10 months before I could play again and it changed my style drastically.
HockeyZonePlus You sued Chris Tamer. How did that go and was
there any pressure to make you drop the legal procedures?
Michel Mongeau - At the first trial, we got no result because a
strong woman in the jury made it turn into a mistrial. At the second trial,
the jury side with me but also decided that it was an accident. Go figure. I didnt
get any compensation and my lawyer got $60,000 in debt.
At first, there was no pressure on me to drop the case. Later on, there was. The
players and coaches testified during the first trial but were not there for the second
one. There was pressure on the coaches and, as for the players, we could not force them to
testify and it was the summer so they were all gone.
HockeyZonePlus Who was your idol when you were young?
Michel Mongeau - Guy Lafleur and the Montréal Canadiens. Later, it was
HockeyZonePlus During your 11-year career in the IHL, you won
different awards (All Star Team, best scorer of your team, etc.) and won some trophies
(Turner Cup, Ironman Award, Bud Poile Trophy, Longman Trophy, Lamoureux Trophy, Gatschene
Trophy, etc). Which one gave you the most pride and satisfaction?
Michel Mongeau - Without a doubt, winning the Turner Cup. The adrenalin
rush and feeling during the last game was unbelievable.
HockeyZonePlus In the last game that Mario Lemieux played in
junior in Laval, Québec, he had to get 11 points to beat some league record. To the
delight of the crowd, he managed to accomplish the impossible in a blowout win of his
team, the Voisins. You were a member of the team, what are your memories of the event?
Michel Mongeau - He needed 3 goals to tie the record of most goals in a
season that Guy Lafleur had. We all knew it and we also knew that with Mario, everything
was possible. Mario scored 6 goals and got 5 assists. Unbelievable! He even managed to
help our policeman, Michel Bourque, score a goal. Mario didnt really need our help.
When he was determined to play, it was impossible to stop him.
HockeyZonePlus Whats your opinion on the need for goons
Michel Mongeau - Goons have always been part of hockey and will always
be. I am not against them as long as they act within the rules. When you have a strong guy
on your team who knows his role and can play, it can help his teammates feel safer.
HockeyZonePlus During your last two years in the IHL, you
played for five different teams. How did you deal with that?
Michel Mongeau - It was difficult. I dont like change so trades
have always been difficult for me. Furthermore, during those two years, I underwent two
operations (knee and 4 hernias to the stomach) and those injuries were hampering my
performance. The teams were unhappy at my performance and didnt have the patience to
let me heal. It was very, very frustrating.
HockeyZonePlus Can you tell us any anecdotes that happened
during your career?
Michel Mongeau - I cant think of any right now where I was involved
but I remember a guy who was playing for Cape Breton in the American Hockey League. He got
called up to the NHL by the Edmonton Oilers. It was his first time in the NHL and he was
very excited. Three days later, the Edmonton Oilers management called Cape Breton to ask
where the player was. Nobody knew. The next day, the guy showed up in Edmonton. He
didnt know that he had plane tickets and drove 4 days to get to Edmonton! Its
amazing how we can do stupid things when were rookies...