Fifteen years ago, in March 2008, Saguenay was rocking to the beat of a playoff series between Quebec Remparts and Chicoutimi Saguenaes. This series has already gone down in history, unfortunately for the wrong reason.
IMAGES SPREAD ALL AMERICA: Jonathan Roy crosses the ice to attack Bobby Nadeau, following a gesture from Remparts coach Patrick Roy, Jonathan’s father.
“The first memory that comes back to me is Richard (editor’s note: Martel, coach of the Saguenéens) standing on the tape, signaling me not to fight,” Bobby Nadeau said in an interview with TVA Nouvelles 15 years later.
The former Saguenéens goalkeeper, who turns 35 this week, is now a dentist in Kingston, Ontario, where he specializes in root canal treatment. During a generous 25-minute interview, he spoke about the event in a neutral tone, without bitterness.
“I don’t blame Patrick, I don’t blame Jonathan, even if Jonathan didn’t cross the ice without Patrick’s signal,” said Bobby Nadeau.
The famous scene takes place in the second period of the second game of the series. The Saguenéens, leading 7-to-1, are on their way to tie the series 1-to-1. A 10-man battle breaks out on the ice, and Jonathan Roy, who has just conceded three goals quickly after entering the game, goes to his own blue line. He is kept by the referee, but the latter ends up letting him interfere in the other fights.
A TVA camera near the Remparts bench captures Patrick Roy, pointing his hand toward the opposite net, as his son crosses the ice.
“I definitely saw Jonathan coming,” Nadeau said. There are a thousand things on my mind, whether I fight or not, but I also didn’t have to get out of the match. If it’s Kevin Desfusis (editor’s note: honorary goalkeeper of the Remparts that year), I’m fighting of course, but not with the backup goalkeeper!
“I thought to myself that at worst, he would brake in front of me to grab me and call me into a fight.”
“All stars are aligned”
Jonathan’s intention is completely different. Mask grabs his opponent, pulls him up, and instantly pummels him with dozens of punches.
“It was soon too late for me to react,” explained Bobby Nadeau. So I tried to protect myself as best I could.”
Fifteen years later, the victim gets a clear view of the event. His performance in subsequent matches suffered, but mostly due to the sheer volume of the media. This weekend of Easter 2008, the pictures are rolling in for a loop on the news channels continuously. Political backlashes are numerous, and Saguenéens supporters have filed complaints against Jonathan Roy for assaulting Bobby Nadeau in the Saguenay Police Department.
Analyzed Bobby Nadeau “All the stars were aligned. Patrick Roy is one of the greatest goalkeepers in history, and his son shares that. But I found myself with about twenty microphones and a camera under my nose without being warned about anything. My parents got calls at home from journalists from Canada English and even from the United States. I wanted to take a call from the league for advice on how to manage all this, for me and my family, and even to help organize the Saguenéens. A 19-year-old hockey player is not ready for all this.”
The next match, at the Coliseum in Quebec, did nothing to help Nadeau clear his mind. The league requires the two teams to keep warm-ups separate, but Richard Martel only mandates the starting goaltender and one other player. Two Saguenéens, who are feeling very lonely under the boos of 15,000 supporters.
“I never understood the idea of Richard,” admitted Bobby Nadeau. We could have a discussion about whether you are able to play, or whether you need to rest. After the event with Jonathan Roy, I felt a lot of guilt. I felt like I let my team down.”
Saguenens was finally eliminated after six matches. Nadeau played his final year as a junior with the Prince Edward Island Rockets, where he was well enough to earn an invitation to camp with the Vancouver Canucks.
Not against fights
Jonathan Roy’s offense prompted the Quebec Junior Hockey League to tighten its rules. Oddly enough, Nadeau is not in favor of simply calling off the fight.
He thinks “If we remove them, there will be more villains. We are talking about head injuries, but are there just brawls?” The player receives a lot of checks during his career.
In October 2009, Jonathan Roy pleaded guilty to assault. He was granted an absolute discharge.
“I never see him again, nor do I wish to participate in an arranged meeting,” said Bobby Nadeau.
“If I see him again, I think we’ll shake hands and find a way to laugh about what happened.”
Watch Jan Holley’s report in the video above.
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