Passion and expertise guide Véronique Lefebvre, head coach of the M13 BB team of the Draveurs de Mont-Laurier
Hockey is a sport that brings many emotions to its participants and teaches them important life lessons.
As head coach, Véronique Lefebvre ensures that all her players can learn from their experiences, regardless of the outcome of the games.
Seeing that the Sieurs de Matane club held a clear lead over its team, the Draveurs de Mont-Laurier, with only a few minutes to go in their meeting in the Dodge Cup quarter-finals, Véronique stood on the bench players in order to deliver an important message to his M13 BB formation.
“What I told my team was that we have come a long way, that there are three minutes left [à jouer], and that they had to have fun! “, she explains during a telephone interview. “You had to play hockey and go out with your head held high. We had a good season, we went far, and we had to take advantage of it. »
At the sound of the last siren, the Draveurs’ incredible journey ended with a 6-2 loss against the Sieurs.
For kids 13 and under, it was a real nightmare. For Véronique, it was the perfect opportunity to remind them of all the feats they had achieved to get this far.
“I do not hide from you that some had tears in their eyes”, she underlines. “But I always try to bring it back to the positive. Yes, we made mistakes, but it doesn’t matter. We are going to rework these aspects and then go further. »
Véronique’s go-getter attitude is nothing new. She has been immersed in hockey since she was very young, having herself already evolved at the college level, with the Cheminots de Saint-Jérôme, in addition to playing for the Avalanche du Québec, in the defunct National Women’s Hockey League. .
“I’ve been playing hockey since I was little. My children are now 13 and 14 years old, and I have always accompanied them since their beginnings in the novice”, she mentions. “At one point, I was sitting in the stands and I thought to myself that I would like to go behind the bench, to have this experience. I know my hockey and I would like to be able to bring it to life for others. »
This is how Véronique made her debut as a hockey coach two years ago. She first took her place behind the bench of her eldest son’s U13 AA team, before making a comeback this season, this time as head coach of her youngest’s U13 BB team.
” [Mon garçon] asked me to, but I had an interest too,” she admits. “I said to myself that as long as you sit in the stands, see things and feel like sharing them, you might as well participate in a different way! »
” Right here [à Mont-Laurier], we don’t have women’s hockey. But no matter, I tell myself that I can still bring my knowledge. So why not? »
What was to follow was a dream season for the coach and the young Draveurs.
After finishing the regular season schedule with a 16-2-2 record, they won regional championships together, before moving on to provincial championships.
However, it was not the Draveurs’ results that caught the eye once they got to the Dodge Cup. It is rather the presence of Véronique behind the bench that has caused ink to flow.
“I think I was the only woman behind a bench at U13 level this year. I must admit that since our return from the Dodge Cup, I have nevertheless given several interviews. People are surprised that a girl can coach masculine! »
“We often hear that coaches have to be men in men’s hockey, but that’s not necessarily the case, we have our place too,” she adds firmly.
However, it is not only as a coach that Véronique gives her time to young people. She also acts as registrar for the Mont-Laurier/Ferme-Neuve Minor Hockey Association.
In addition to being a true hockey fanatic, the former left winger doesn’t have to look far when it comes to finding role models in the volunteer world.
“My parents, they volunteered with it, as long as my brother and I were in hockey. That’s what allowed us to push, to play,” she admits. “I tell myself that now, as a parent, by volunteering on my side, this is what allows many other young people to practice their sport. Volunteers, we miss them, we look for them and we always need them. If we don’t get involved as parents, it’s boring to say, but one day, our children will no longer be able to practice the sport they love. »
The one who is a specialist educator in primary school in everyday life recognizes that her familiarity with today’s young people helps her greatly in the world of training. It is by reconciling her experience as a player and her professional experience that she manages to better understand the players on her team.
“I’m used to dealing with young people. But in hockey, it’s very different. Each young person has their own way of interacting, each young person will experience their emotions differently and, through all of this, you have to learn to help them, to manage them. Each young person has their own way of doing things, so we adapt to help them get through it”.
To see the results obtained by her training as well as the great wave of love that the Draveurs have shown towards their trainer, we have to admit that Véronique already manages to provide her young apprentices with the tools necessary to be successful in the sport. , but also in life in general.
“My goal this year was to have fun with the players. For the players to enjoy playing hockey, I wanted them to enjoy every practice, every game, and find it fun,” she says of her approach.
“I didn’t want them to find it boring and start saying that the trainer is like this or that, or that she makes them do this stuff or that stuff. We had fun all the time, and I think that’s what pushed our team to go further. »
Although the work accomplished with the Draveurs this season is a real source of pride, Véronique would be even prouder to see more women follow in her footsteps. According to her, it is high time that women who act as coaches in men’s leagues become the norm rather than the exception.
“I just hope there will be other women. Those who have a small interest in hockey and who say to themselves that they would like to become coaches too, it will perhaps help them to get started, to tell themselves that they too are capable, and to try it. , she admits.
“There will never be a perfect volunteer. We try to be the best, to be at our maximum. But I believe that just being able to give your time, to get involved and to listen, that’s what makes you a good volunteer and you can help in an association. [de hockey
mineur] like ours. »
It is words like this that prove that hockey can indeed, even today, provide important life lessons to its participants.
With information collected by Sylvain Turcotte and Hockey Quebec.