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What was said at the end-of-season media availability

By Justin Vézina

At the end of its spectacular 2023-2024 season, the Laval Rocket held its end-of-season media availability to bring the campaign to a close. Ten players, plus head coach Jean-François Houle, appeared before the media. 

For those who wish to view all the press conferences, they are presented below. However, for those who don’t want to watch nearly 1h30 of content, here are the key quotes from all the speakers. First, a statement from the head coach, followed by those from the players, in alphabetical order.

Jean-François Houle

“A big part of my job is managing people. Systems and field hockey as such are totally separate from managing individuals. Then you have different individuals who all need different things. Some players need to be pushed, some players need to be pulled, some players need to be motivated. […] And I think that over the years, you’re always learning new things about how to deal with people. For me, the human side is very, very, very important,” philosophized the head coach about the progress he has made this season.

Lias Andersson

“Obviously, I signed here to get better as a player and have a chance to play in the NHL and, you know, my mindset doesn’t change. I want to play in the NHL. I still believe I can do that. We’ll see what happens next. But I’m gonna work harder. Keep going,” said the 25-year-old Swedish forward.

Tobie Bisson

“I love that role [of mentor]. Especially if I can take on the role of defensive leader, leading young players and helping them. I saw Logan [Mailloux] play in the NHL this year, and I loved it. Same thing with [David] Reinbacher, whom we’ll be seeing pretty soon [in the NHL]. For me, to see these guys get to the NHL quickly as well, and then I can help them know the little things to do. Well, I love that,” said the physical Rosemère defenceman.

Gabriel Bourque

“I’d definitely like to come back next season. Then the hug after the last game of the season is just to thank the guys for a great year. We’re a young team and we’ve worked hard. I was proud of the rest of them,” explained the captain.

Jakub Dobeš

“I’m so young and still learning. I have a big summer ahead of me and next year I need to be even more of a leader than I have been. I was perhaps the player who improved the most this season [according to Jean-François Houle], but now it’s time for me to go. Next year, I need to play from the first game and make sure the team and I are consistent. Without a good goalkeeper, you already can’t go far, and he’s a key part of the team. So I’m going to have a good summer, I’ll come back stronger and I’ll be ready from the start,” said the goaltender who ended the season with a 0.906 save percentage. 

Brandon Gignac

“It’s true that there are seasons like that when everything goes in. There are seasons when it doesn’t. Sometimes statistics mean something, but sometimes they mean nothing. So as long as I’m playing well defensively, and I’m playing well in my role, I’m happy with what’s going on,” noted the player who finished as the Rocket’s top scorer with 55 points in 61 games.

Logan Mailloux

“I feel like everything still has to be done [if I’m ready to play in the NHL]. That’s something I’ll have to prove at that point. In September, I feel like it doesn’t really matter what I’ve done this year. I’ve got to show up next year and show that I can be there,” said the man who finished top scorer among rookie defencemen in the AHL.

David Reinbacher

“It was really good and a good experience. I played eleven games and got a feel for the league now and how I need to prepare for next year. It’s probably a good thing for me to go back home [to Austria], prepare over the summer, come back and have a good season here,” said the 6’3″ giant.

Joshua Roy

“I think [the season] has gone really well. I’m happy with it. Of course, you always want more, but you know, in general, I’m really happy with how I’ve grown this year,” said Roy, who played 41 games in the AHL and 23 in the NHL.

Xavier Simoneau

“I think I’ve taken a step forward in my game. It’s going to be a big summer for me too. I’m going to fix [the problem with] that shoulder, and then have a big summer of training to come back strong next year,” said Simoneau, who will be ready for the upcoming campaign.

Mitchell Stephens

“When you have as captain a guy who has played nearly 800 professional games…. When he talks, we listen. It’s largely thanks to him that the youngsters have done so well this year. He’s so experienced, he’s a warrior on the ice. He’s blocked shots with his face, his head, every foot and so on. He’s the soul of this team, and I was happy to see that he got the most games out of a Rocket player last night,” Stephens praised Gabriel Bourque.