Hockey is a way of life for so many Canadians. We all have our own unique stories in the game.
From subtle beginnings to memorable Championship experiences, hockey becomes more than just a game it shapes our lives. Hockey dreams inevitably start at home.
That’s what makes Phil Roy’s journey in the game so special.
Hockey has been a part of his life as long as he can remember.
That journey has finally brought him and his family back to their home province of Quebec.
Friday’s official announcement comes days after Roy’s name surfaced as a possible candidate for the young highly touted Shawinigan Cataractes.
Ron Choules and Phil Roy inherit a team on the cusp of being a championship contender.
Philippe Roy and his family have taken the long way home and are extremely excited to see what the future holds.
“Professionally as a coach this is a great opportunity,” Roy said of being hired as the Asst. Coach of the Cataractes.
“My decision to become a coach and develop players is my passion.”
“This is a great opportunity professionally to continue that same passion.”
The veteran bench boss has had a very unique and rewarding journey in the game.
“I have fifteen years experience and I have a different background than a lot of other people and I think that was the attraction and interaction with Shawinigan,” admitted Roy.
“We have a young team and we are going to have to do things differently so I think they were thinking outside the box,” explained Roy.
“For what I can offer, I think it was a good match for what they were looking for,” said Roy.
Philippe Roy has always thought outside the box.
In an era where many players chose the QMJHL route, Roy embarked on a unconventional path in the game.
Roy patrolled the blue line at Clarkson University for four seasons before turning pro in 2000-2001.
Roy’s pro career would last five seasons before ultimately making the decision to step behind the bench.
Roy’s passion for the game can be traced all the way back to his childhood home in St Leonard, Quebec.
Roy’s dream to play at hockey’s highest level started like many other young hockey crazed Canadians on the street and on outdoor rinks.
Hockey was a way of life for the Roy family.
It definitely helps when you have hockey crazed neighbours as well.
The street hockey battles were pretty intense in Roy’s neighbourhood, especially when you next door neighbour is a future Hall of Famer, Martin Brodeur.
You see that’s what makes Phil Roy’s new chapter in the game so special.
He’s homeward bound.
“It’s been twenty six years since I lived in Quebec,” confessed Roy.
“We have three kids and my wife is from the Montreal area as well so it will be special for all of us to get back home.”
The Cataractes are a team on the cusp of something very special.
The organization has a spectacular young talented core group of players and are a few moves away from being a championship contender.
Ron Choules and Roy will bring a new philosophy to the organization.
“It’s a young team with a lot of returning players with a lot of fire power.”
“Ron and I are going to continue compliment that continue develop that in certain areas, but I with the puck I think this team is very potent.”
Roy is extremely confident in his abilities as a coach and is really looking forward to the challenge and opportunity with the Cataractes.
“I’m going to bring the experience of two games a weekend that I have experienced with college hockey and everything that comes with that.”
“There’s a lot more preparation going into a two games a weekend so I will be able to use my experiences and share some of that knowledge with our staff.”
Being a former defenceman Roy is confident he will have an immediate impact on all of the Cataractes defenders.
“I’m going to be able to help our guys with all the little subtleties away from the puck, and the taking the rush.”
“Like Coach Choules said we want to play fast, we want to develop our players and develop away from the puck.”
“Ultimately we want to develop relationships which will lead into more wins,” Roy said.
What has Philippe Roy learned about himself as a player and coach throughout his journey in the game?
“When I first started coaching I attended a seminar and didn’t know anyone.”
“I felt like a freshman in high school.”
Roy was waiting in the hallway before the next session to begin when he had a chance encounter with the special guest speaker.
“I was starring at a painting on the wall when I realized Scotty Bowman was standing next to me.”
“I’m twenty five at that point, so I pump up my chest and get a little bit of courage to shake his hand and introduce myself.”
“Mr Bowman, I’m Phil Roy, originally from Montreal and I’m a huge fan.”
“How can you a teach a young coach to be successful,” Roy asked the coaching legend.
“I thought he was going to give me my seven commandments and I’m going to be a NHL Stanley Cup winner in two years, he’s going to give me everything I need to know, he’s going to be my Messiah, I’m meant to be here.”
“It’s nice to meet you Phil,” Bowman said.
“It was a great time in Montreal, I may have over stayed my welcome, we won and I learned a lot about myself and the players,” Roy remembers Bowman saying.
The next piece of advice has stayed with Roy all of his coaching life.
“Good advice for young coaches, to be successful, Bowman said, well I would start by getting some good players.”
“He shook my hand and took off,” Roy said laughing.
“I’m there like what the,” Roy said.
Roy expected a lot more from Bowman at the time and was certainly taken aback.
Nevertheless, Bowman’s message continues to impact Roy’s coaching career.
“I’m thinking I needed more from you Scotty Bowman,” Roy said.
“So I get hired and a month or two on the job all of sudden the light bulb goes off.”
“That’s priority number one, if you get good players, you can develop,” admitted Roy.
“It’s like everything else you can lead them to well, they have to drink it.”
“For us it’s about development, it’s about taking that next step,” Roy said of his role with the Cataractes.
“I have family all over that area so it’s pretty special,” said Roy.
Roy has called a lot of places home over his career, but was definitely deeply rooted in Regina having coached and managed the Jr A Hounds at famed Notre Dame for the past two seasons.
How difficult was it to leave Notre Dame?
“It’s like anything else in life, we all have a journey, it’s a start of a new one,” Roy said.
“You are trying to get that balance, it’s a great opportunity to take a step in the Q, with a great organization.”
“At the same time Notre Dame a phenomenal program in Canada, it’s the relationship that you have built with players and recruiting and bringing kids in at the first of September and coaching them for the past two seasons, to starting some roots here and living here in Regina, it’s like anything it’s a balance,” explained Roy.
“This is the end of one storyline and a start of a new one.”
“There are great people here,” Roy said of Regina and Notre Dane.
“They gave me a chance to get back and start my head coaching and GM career.”
“It’s a great league, it’s a tough league and I learned a lot,” Roy said proudly.
Roy’s philosophy on coaching is very concise and simplistic.
“I love the development, I love the relationships and I love to see a kid progress with the aid of someone else and I want to be part of that and I just love the game and winning,” stressed Roy.
“The best feeling is when you win a game, everything else seems to go away.”
“I have learned a lot about myself and how to deal with today’s kid,” Roy said of his experiences in the game.
It might have taken a long time with many different twists and turns along the journey, but Phil Roy and his family have taken the long way home.
As they say, there’s no place like home.
There’s no question the upstart Shawinigan Cataractes are in very good hands with Phil Roy and Ron Choules at the helm.