Éric Chouinard had to wait a little longer than many would have thought, but it’s finally done: the Remparts will immortalize his time with the organization by retiring his jersey number. March 7th, 9th.
To date, Chouinard remains the top scorer of the club’s second generation since his return in 1997. In 180 games between 1997 and 2000, he scored a total of 148 goals and 148 assists, for a total of 296 points. He dominated in his first steps in the QMJHL at the age of 17, when he scored 41 goals and 84 points in 68 games, prompting the Montreal Canadiens to make him their first-round pick the following summer.
His other two seasons in Quebec were equally successful, as he scored 50 and 57 goals and finished with 109 and 104 points, respectively.
At the Remparts, he played rain and shine with the man who is now the team’s general manager, Simon Gagné. It was the latter who told him the news last Thursday.
“I was trapped,” Chouinard said, laughing. A colleague from QMJHL told me to stop by the Videotron center to help him and when Simon got there he asked me to visit him in his office because he wanted to talk to me about something. He said to me: “Listen, Éric, something has been wrong in the Videotron center since the beginning of the season.” I was surprised, then he said: “Look at the heights of the center, something is missing.” […] The fact that he is the one announcing it to me is very symbolic and much appreciated. »
Photo credit: archive photo
With his father
Throughout the interview between Chouinard and members of the Quebec media, we sensed that he was very emotional.
At some point the author of these lines asked him what it meant to join the other no. 7 was removed by the Remparts, that of his father Guy, who was immortalized by the organization in December 2016.
Photo credit: ANNIE T. ROUSSEL/JOURNAL
“It’s special,” he said simply, his voice strained.
Because beyond his personal achievements, Éric Chouinard will also confirm that he has successfully continued the family tradition. In addition to his father, his uncles Jean, Jacques and Pierre also wore the Rempart colors.
“Les Remparts meant a lot to me. I grew up listening to them. My grandfather was even a partner for several years and my father also played for the team. I wore this uniform with great pride and had a lot of fun doing it. I am proud to say that I am carrying on the family tradition. »
Bonds formed forever
Chouinard was also asked if a specific memory came to mind when he thought about his time in Quebec. Without being able to name anyone exactly, he assured that he had never experienced such a team spirit as that which prevailed at the Remparts between 1997 and 2000.
To illustrate his point, even though the Remparts told him last Thursday, they only made the news public on Tuesday morning and the first person to contact him minutes after the announcement was his former captain at the Red Devils, Gordie Dwyer .
“I fulfilled my dream of playing in the NHL and traveled around the world as a professional hockey player. I had a wonderful adventure thanks to hockey, but my years with the Remparts were extraordinary. The camaraderie and atmosphere that existed in this team was something I had never experienced in the pros. »
▶ Chouinard’s number 7 will join those of Guy Lafleur (4), his father Guy Chouinard (7), Réal Cloutier (10), André Savard (12), Simon Gagné (12), d‘Alexander Radulov (22) and Marc-Édouard Vlasic (44).
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