Pierre Gervais: Working for the Canadiens was the honor of his life

All eyes will be on Pierre Gervais Friday night at the Bell Center for the Habs’ last game of the season.

The counter will stop at 3113 regular season games for the equipment manager.

Because the team’s trips were becoming more and more exhausting and he wanted to take care of his family, the duel between the Canadiens and the Panthers would be his last.

At peace with his decision and smiling, as always, the little guy from rue Fortin agreed to take stock of his career.

One thing is clear, working for Canadians has been the honor of his life.

It is a great pride to have spent 35 years in the national league, but especially with the Montreal Canadiens. Knowing that my name appears on 35 team plaques in the locker room, for the rest of my life, is fun. Having my name on the Stanley Cup is really something. That too is for life. No one can take that away from you. »

A quote from Pierre Gervais, equipment manager of the Montreal Canadiens

It is a long thought-out retirement for someone who started at the bottom of the ladder in fill water bottles for the players of the Draveurs de Trois-Rivières when he was 16 years old.

A career that will take him from the old Colosseum to the Olympic Games in Salt Lake City in 2002. Wayne Gretzky, then general manager of the men’s hockey team, asked him to be the equipment manager. of this team that will win the gold medal.

When Gretzky called me to go to Salt Lake it was something I didn’t even think about, I had never considered. I was very surprised at his call, and then to have gone there and won a gold medal, but also gone back to three more Olympics that’s something honestly remembered Pierre Gervais.

Highlights of his career

Among the great moments of joy in his career, Pierre Gervais remembers the 1993 conquest, but also great disappointments, such as the defeat of the Habs in the Stanley Cup final last year.

Missing the cup is one of my biggest disappointments. When you make it to the final, you’re this close to winning. It’s like someone taking a 6/49 and only missing the last digit. I was disappointed, but at the same time since I had already won it, it made me less something than those who never won it he said.

He remembers that Saint-Jean night when the Habs beat Las Vegas to reach the final. Moments that will remain etched in his memory forever.

Oh how much fun I had! Lucky we had our masks on because I had a smile on my face the whole time. To see veterans like Corey Perry, Weber and Price leading youngsters like Suzuki and Caufield was so beautiful to see. I really tasted it, because I knew my retirement was coming. confided the future retiree.

Pierre Gervais is behind the bench for the Canadiens

Pierre Gervais worked 44 years in professional hockey.

Photo: Radio-Canada / JONATHAN ROBERGE

Players, he rubbed shoulders with hundreds since 1987, the year he made the leap with the big club as an equipment assistant. He has risen to the top thanks to his attention to detail, but also by his respect for the players, according to former CH striker Steve Bégin.

He is so good, so thorough. All the players loved it. What struck me was that he was loved by everyone. Gerv, I’ve never seen him argue with a player. He asked them “Is that what you want? It’s beautiful I’m going to do it to you like that and it’s going to be on the marktestified Steve Bégin.

It is a total of 44 years that the new retiree will have spent in professional hockey. Especially with the Jets and the Sherbrooke Canadiens in the American Hockey League.

A career that also comes with its share of anecdotes

The funniest thing I saw was Pat Burns. He was a former policeman and he had a kind of invisible powder which, as soon as it touched water or humidity, turned blue. It was like ink and he had put some in Patrick Roy’s helmet before practice. When Roy came back to the bench to get some water, there was a disgusting blue on his face. I started laughing! He was so damned! remembered Pierre Gervais.

The sound of the siren that will announce the end of Friday’s game will also mean the end of a chapter. The father of four children, two of whom are young, will continue to be a member of the organization, but in a different, less grueling role.

In the future, Pierre Gervais wishes to give conferences and write a book. Players don’t have to worry, I won’t reveal their secrets. But I would like to write a book to show the behind the scenes of hockey like injuries, preparation, etc. he explained.

And for the next few months, he intends to return to his region more often, especially to Lac-aux-Sables, where his parents were born.


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