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Where are they now? Jocelyn Thibault
MONTREAL | September 20th, 2012
Where are they now? Jocelyn Thibault
The Canadiens didn’t pile up 100 years of history without the blood, sweat and tears of the over 750 players to have ever worn the uniform. From the likes of Donald Audette to Zarley Zalapski, there are former Habs scattered all over the world. Although many hardcore Canadiens fans can rattle off the career accomplishments of hundreds of their old heroes, the question remains: what are these guys up to today? On the hot seat today: Jocelyn Thibault.

Where are you currently living?
When I retired from playing, I decided to come back to Sherbrooke where I had played my second year of Junior hockey. It’s where I met my wife and I’ve always really loved the area.

What are you up to these days?
I always wanted to continue to be involved in the world of hockey. Since coming back to Quebec, I noticed that the hockey facilities in the Sherbrooke area were starting to become outdated. With the help of a few associates, we were able to build a multipurpose sports complex in the Sherbrooke that we finally opened in 2011. Also, beginning next season, I’m going to be coaching the QMJHL’s Sherbrooke Phoenix part time. I’ll be on hand to help out with some of the practices in addition to attending games.

How many times per year do you still lace up the skates?
I still play hockey about two or three times a week – but as a defenseman! I almost never play goalie anymore. I step between the pipes maybe only five or six times every year for charity or alumni games.

Do you still stay in touch with any of your former teammates?
I still talk with Patrick Poulin quite a bit. Even though we never actually played together for Montreal, I often see Yanic Perreault since he has one of his businesses located in the sports complex that we built.

Around how many Canadiens games do you end up watching each season?
I watch almost every game on TV. Since all three of my girls play hockey, my nights are generally pretty busy, but I always take the time to tune into a Habs game if I have the opportunity.

When was the last time you made it out to the Bell Centre for a game?
I was there last March to watch the Canadiens take on the Florida Panthers. I also passed by in February to see my friend Stéphane Robidas who was playing for the Dallas Stars. I try to make it out to the Bell Centre at least once or twice a year, but living in Sherbrooke doesn’t always make that easy. I spend a lot of time with my kids, and I’m coaching a bit now too, so it makes it a lot tougher to get out to Montreal.

Who is your favorite player on the Canadiens’ current roster?
I really like the way that Carey Price plays. Having been a goaltender myself, it’s always interesting on a professional level to watch and see what other goalies are doing. It’s cool to see the different techniques guys today are using, compared to when I used to play. Carey’s a great goaltender and he’s going to stay that way for many years to come. He’s learned from his mistakes and matured in his game, which is going to put him on a good trajectory for the future.

Is there a game that you played in during your time with the Canadiens that sticks out in your mind?
The first game I played in Montreal in 1995 against the Rangers at the Forum will always be special to me. It was also an incredible experience to be able to close the Forum and open up the Molson Centre shortly afterwards, too. But I know I’ll never forget when a few weeks after I arrived in Montreal, we beat Mario Lemieux and the Pittsburgh Penguins twice in as many nights. Our second win was a shutout.

What’s your favorite piece of Canadiens memorabilia that you currently own?
The mask that I wore for my entire time playing with the Canadiens. It was based on the one that Jacques Plante used, and it’s extremely special to me. I think it’s one of the nicest masks I wore over the course of my entire career.

Battle of the mask