When the former Nordiques Michel Goulet will put skates on Saturday in Clermont for the Bauer Winter Classic, it will be 25 years to the day after the famous match of March 16, 1994 at the Montreal Forum. It was that night that number 16, who was lining up with the Chicago Blackhawks, suffered the concussion that would end his hockey career.
G oulet had fallen, and his head had violently struck the band. The winger had been lying on the ice for long minutes before leaving the amphitheater on a stretcher. Even today, the date is still well inscribed in the memory of the Peribonka hockey player. “Do you realize that on Saturday, it’s been 25 years since I had my injury in Montreal?” Goulet said in an interview with Le Soleil, recalling that it took time and efforts before being fully recovered from this injury.
“It took me two years of therapy to deal with this injury in Chicago. That’s what struck me, I was just wondering what was going to happen while for those wounds, the only ones who know it are those who have already had a commotion or those who have the scientific knowledge on the subject “, he explains, recalling that concussions, if they are today at the heart of sports news, were unknown at the time. “My doctor, the first thing she told me was that she was afraid that one of her patients would take her life. We did not talk much about it at the time, it was before the cases of some sporting victims of concussions who took their lives do the headlines, “he continues.
At the time, some doctors had suggested to Goulet that everything would return to normal in a few weeks. That was not the case. “Initially, I lost everything. I was no longer able to hit a baseball, I was not able to lift thirty pounds! “, He recalls about the first weeks of his rehabilitation.
“Today is day and night with my time. We are more concerned about these injuries, even if it does not appear, physically, when you are injured in the head. In time, especially in the playoffs, we played anyway and the next day, we were no longer able to walk … ”
According to Goulet, now a scout with the Anaheim Ducks, the fact that organizations invest large sums in their players encourages them to better protect them, to take better care of them.
“I, after my injury, did not want to sit there, be sad, and get into bad blood, so I came back to hockey as a member of the Colorado Avalanche organization,” he said. scout for the Calgary Flames before coming to Anaheim. “I watch the NHL and American League teams. I still live in Denver even though I work for the Ducks because it’s a fairly central city in the United States and I have to travel everywhere. ”
“Gou” admits he would have liked to become a coach or general manager, as did several former NHL hockey players. At the dawn of his sixties, however, he turned the page. “I thought it might happen with the Avalanche, but that’s not what happened. At my age, I’m not sure I’m still trying to get into a job as a coach or a dg. “In his role as a scout, he continues to have fun and put his sense of hockey in the service of his organization. “I agree with statistical analysis and all the new approaches and tools that teams have to analyze players, but I can tell if a player has a sense of hockey, if he has the talent.”