It was after a three-week internship in the fall of 1980 that the young Cégep Limoilou student Nicole Bouchard received a call from the Quebec Nordiques.
“Two weeks later I received a phone call asking me to work for them in January 1981,” she recalls. For me, it was the realization of a dream. ”
A dream that she fulfills in a man’s world and in another era …
“It was intimidating, especially at the professional level because a woman in the entourage of a locker room that did not exist.”
Nicole Bouchard lived the history of the Nordiques in the National Hockey League and she was at the forefront of the Montreal-Quebec rivalry. She still remembers the tension after the Good Friday game.
“We were in an employee bus leaving the Forum and even Canadiens supporters were knocking outside on the bus. It was really a big deal. ”
If she forged links with several former players like the Stastny brothers, there were also the most loathsome like a certain goalkeeper …
“I was always a little frustrated to see players refuse to come to Quebec, including goaltender Greg Millen, who made us languish for several weeks before reporting to Quebec. These players thought that Quebec was a lost hole in the middle of nowhere, but they all learned to appreciate this one over time. ”
On May 25, 1995, his world slipped away. This is the departure of the Nordics.
“It was the end of the world,” she recalled. I get called at 6 in the morning to tell me that we have an important press conference. Emotionally, it was very difficult. It was my first job, I had given almost 15 years of my life to the Nordiques, it was my passion. I wondered what I was going to do … “
After the Nordiques have left …
It lived through the era of the Rafales and the Citadels, but it was the Remparts that gave it a sense of belonging.
She must convince herself to work daily with Patrick Roy, who was still in her head the sworn enemy.
“I didn’t know him, but I let him know there was no love because he beat us all the time. He said to me: “You’ll see, you’ll learn to love me when you get to know me.”
And she loves him so much today that she shed a tear at the news of her departure for Colorado.
From her 40 years in the hockey world, she has learned a lesson in life.
“I became a bigger person, because I was more shy in the beginning and over time, I learned to make a shell in this environment of men there. I learned to put my foot down, to assert myself, and I think I came out of it better. “