December 2010 Archives

Bonnes Fêtes / Season's Greetings


Bonne Année

Happy New Year 

Pour tous les lecteurs de cette chronique je vous souhaite Joyeux Noel, Heureuses Fêtes et Bonne Année.

J'espére que l'année 2011 serà  encore meilleur de point de vue de football.

L'année passée j'avais affiché une liste des résolutions, des souhaits et des éspoirs mais seulement trois d'entre eux se sont réalisées.

Alors, cette année je vais affiché un mis-à -jour à  cette liste. Je vous invite tous de noter dans les commentaires vos souhaits quant au football à  St-Lazare et les partager avec tout le monde. Voici les miens:


  • travailler pour rendre l'Association de Football de St-Lazare plus ouverte pour qu'elle puisse attirer plus des joueurs, des entraîneurs et des bénévoles à  fin de pouvoir accomplir d'avantage
  • améliorer le reportage offert ici sur le football à  St-Lazare

Les souhaits et les éspoirs:

  • que toutes les politiques et réglements soient en place et qu'ils soient communiqués clairement
  • une meilleur stabilité au sein de l'ensemble des entraîneurs
  • un engagement de la ville de St-Lazare d'installer une surface synthetique
  • que l'equipe junior soit gérée avec le respect digne de sont status d'une équipe élite
  • pour l'èquipe bantam de battre les Lions
  • pour les équipes de football du CEGEP John Abbott et de Valleyfield de même que l'école secondaire de Cité-des-Jeunes et le Collège Bourget de se qualifier pour les séries éliminatoires
  • avoir de la bonne musique au cours des joutes au Parc Westwood
To all the readers of this journal I wish to extend the best wishes for a Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and all the best in the New Year.

I certainly hope that it will be better than 2010 from a football point of view.

Last year, I posted a list of resolutions, hopes and wishes and unfortunately only three of them came true.

So, it makes sense to post an updated list. I invite everyone to share with others what you would like to see in 2011 as far as football in St-Lazare is concerned by leaving a comment. Here is my contribution:


  • to work towards making the St-Lazare Football Association more open in order to attract more players, coaches and volunteers so that it can become more successful
  • to provide even better coverage of football in St-Lazare

Hopes and wishes:

  • for all policies and rules to be established and clearly communicated
  • for stability on the coaching staffs
  • for a commitment from the city of St-Lazare to install field turf
  • for the junior team to be treated with the elite status that it deserves
  • for the bantam team to finally beat the Lions
  • for the John Abbott and Valleyfield CEGEPs as well as the Cité-des-Jeunes H.S. and Collège Bourget football teams to make it to the playoffs
  • to have some nice music during games at the Westwood field


Après le match éliminatoire contre les Raiders de Châteauguay, suite à  l'annonce de Skip Rochette qu'il quitterait son poste de l'entraîneur-chef de l'équipe junior des Stallions j'espérais que je serais en mesure de lui poser quelques questions à  propos de l'équipe et de ses expériences comme entraîneur.
 Il avait eu de la gentillesse de m'appeler le 23 novembre et m'a donné une opportunité de m'entretenir avec lui par téléphone.

Voici le contenu de cet entretien. Info: la conversation a commencé par une brève discussion sur sa famille qui venait de s'installer chez elle en Floride, de mes expériences au gala LFJQ et la réaction que mon rapport avait provoqué ainsi que sur les pièges potentiels des couriels.

When Skip Rochette announced soon after the playoff game against the Chateauguay Raiders that he would be stepping down as the head coach of the Junior Stallions team I was hoping that I would be able to ask him a few questions about the team and about his coaching experience.
He was kind enough to call me on November 23 and gave me a chance to interview him by phone.

Below is the content of that interview. Note: the conversation started with a short discussion about Skip's family settling down in their Florida home, about my experiences at the QJFL banquet and the reaction that my report generated as well as about the potential pitfalls of e-mail messages.

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Overall, how would you evaluate the 2010 season? Did you set goals, for example, with the coaching staff, did you give yourself a record, for example four-and-four or something like that? To you, was it a successful season and how did you see it?

Skip Rochette

Definitely. OK, in terms of the personal goals within myself that I had set, I was hoping that we would make the playoffs and then I knew with making the playoffs anything could happen. I was hoping we were strong enough to get there. Let's face it, the playoffs this year was right to the semi-finals and the Stallions have never been there before and it was, in many ways, quite a new team, while a lot of guys who were on the previous teams were not around. We definitely had a good nucleus of guys that were. It was definitely a difficult situation when you don't have that carry-over effect. My goal was to, in fact, make the playoffs and again, like I said, I knew that anything could happen at that point and we almost pulled it off. Taking that question in another context, I had also set a goal for myself that I felt we could attract through running the program a little bit differently more players to the program to practice and also to play, obviously. From that perspective I thought that it was a failure. I was really quite disappointed with the turnout you might say, and I don't mean that we only had 24 players at the practices but the fact that we only had 29 players on the team. I would have hoped that the program could have attracted more people.


That's been my kind of objective as well and partly what does it is publicity. You need to let people know that there is this opportunity, there is a team that's available, that we're putting together some talent, that we want to win the whole thing, but it's a well-kept secret.


Well, yes, exactly, it's a well-kept secret, and for some reason there has been some political stuff that has been flying around for a couple of years. I have been told that there have been people in the past in the organization that have not promoted the fact that people could go play for the juniors etc.


There was a big difference, for example, in the first year. We had advertisements on the radio, in the newspapers. They certainly drummed it up in the first year, 2008, but in 2009 and 2010, nothing.


So that was surprising. In terms of evaluating the season, that would have been the disappointing side to it.


OK, what do you think would make the Stallions junior program more successful? For example, to be able to beat the Chateauguay Raiders or the Jr. Riders?


Well, the bottom line, the issue is, if I can say it this way, we need more and better players.


More depth, I guess.


First of all, in numbers. Numbers could have helped because it would have given us the opportunity to have a little better competition. Therefore, guys would be better. But, secondly, we needed to be better in certain areas to be able to compete and we had some very week areas on the team to be able to compete. We had some very strong areas but we had some very week ones.


Yeah, it would have been nice to have some more depth at some positions.


Exactly. With depth guys can learn and you can practice better. You can do a whole lot of things with depth. When you don't have any it becomes very difficult for the guys to improve and put them in situation to improve and help themselves. You know, when the lines are short it's hard to get repetitions and run practices because players, you might say, save themselves when they know they're up again in 20 seconds.


Mind you, your system, initially I can tell you people on the sidelines, including myself, and keep in mind I'm not a good judge of football, I don't know much background, we were worried. What do you mean you will not have scrimmages and things like that? But I think that worked out for the best.


Well, it did, in the sense that we didn't have depth and you couldn't afford to lose anybody in a scrimmage. Because of injuries, we offset the scrimmages with a lot of one-on-one stuff and tried to do that regularly because in one-on-ones guys can protect themselves. Mind you, I will tell you that a lack of scrimmages is definitely what hurt us, especially in the first game. I don't mind saying that, I recognize that. Once we got the first game out of the way we were fine. So, we probably only needed one scrimmage, full scrimmage, to be able to do that but we didn't have the numbers to do that at any point, even in training camps leading up to the first game. So, in many ways it was difficult and you certainly don't want to go get an exhibition game and risk losing somebody because you end up playing him two ways because you don't have the depth. We spent a lot of time, as you saw in practice, doing one-on-ones and giving guys a lot of individual attention to improve their skills despite not having a full coaching staff. I know the coaching staff that we did have worked very hard and were very appreciative of working with me. I got a lot of e-mails from them.


On that subject of coaching, you announced that you will not be returning as a head coach to the Stallions but will you still be continuing when you're back in Canada next year? Will you still be involved in football in some way? Do you want to be involved in football in some way?


Well, I would like to be. I love coaching. I'm very passionate about coaching. I would like to coach somewhere with somebody. Where, I don't know and with whom at this point I don't know. But I would certainly like to do it. If I don't then I don't. I move on and that's fine. It's interesting; I get a lot of phone calls. I get phone calls form guys even asking me about coaching, you know. Believe it or not I just got an e-mail today from somebody who had played for me and wanted to talk to me about getting into coaching and the kinds of things one needs to do.


I'm sure you'll find a place somewhere.


You know, I have a problem in that in many ways I can be intimidating in being around coaches so it takes special guys to allow me to coach with them. They've got to leave their ego on the sideline, not that I will take things over, not that, but the presence when I'm around can be a bit intimidating.


I guess it's just a question of a comfort factor. I mean, different coaches have different styles and you just have to be comfortable with that style.


The coach who would hire me would have to be comfortable with himself, really, and know that he's going to get everything he gets out of me and we'll get results. But it takes a special coach to be able to deal with that and some guys can't.


Continuing on the coaching situation, when you started head coaching this year, was it your intent to just simply stay for one year, or would you have wanted to continue.


I would definitely have wanted to continue. I kind of had it in my mind that I would like to set up a program, make it run properly, get it running properly, do the things the way they need to be done. You saw we did some different things this year. I'll give you a simple example. I remember you asking me why we need to go to the games so early. It's because of how I want the guys to prepare, the seriousness of the game. We're not going to just show up at the last second, throw everything on. I want the guys to learn how to prepare for games, how to play, and all those things. You saw what I did with the film, which was different. For example, that last week when we prepared for Chateauguay, how we would look at film every night because I would have loved to have gotten it to that level where we could look at film every single time we practice. Then you really learn because you can zero in on different aspects of it and teach different things on different nights and the players are able to see it, to see themselves and see what they do. It all has to be done at the right level. On the one hand, you have to challenge them but on the other hand you have to try and teach them too. And you're not just yelling and screaming. You're more like, on the one hand trying to teach them and on the other hand saying what are you doing?

On peut trouver l'entretien complét dans le fichier PDF ci-dessous. The complete interview is contained in the PDF file below,
Suite au camp de sélection de la FBU/GrassRootsProspects qui avait lieu le dimanche, 21 novembre au Complexe Sportif de St-Lazare, plusieurs joueurs bien connus dans notre région auront une opportunité de montrer leurs talents lors d'un camp de sélection qui fera partie des événements entourant le match du football universitaire de US Army Bowl.
Ce match aura lieu à  la ville de San Antonio de Texas en janvier 2011. D'autres joueurs seront invités à  se qualifier pour l'équipe d'étoiles des jeunes joueurs canadiens qui s'opposeront contre des adversaires américains.

Les joueurs suivants ont mérité une invitation au camp de Texas:
  • Phillippe Poulin
  • Zacary Griffith
  • Marc-André Marchaud
  • Jason Ross
  • Kanerathens Bush
  • Luke Bertrand
  • Derek Corbett
Matthew Laporta a été invité au camp de sélection de l'équipe d'étoiles canadiennes.

Plusieurs joueurs se sont fait remarqués par les entraîneurs de la FBU dont Ryan Dickson de l'équipe bantam des Stallions, Gerry-Dean Mavrokefalos, Charles Schneider, Trevor Lamarche, Sebastien Serre et William Lemire.

Félicitations à  tous les joueurs et bonne chance à  Texas.
Following the FBU/GrassRootsProspects combine that took place on Sunday, November 21 at the St-Lazare Sports Center, several local players will have an opportunity to show off their talent at a combine in San Antonio, Texas during the week of the US Army Bowl events in January 2011. Others will be invited to try out for the Canadian youth all-star team that will play against American opponents.

The following players earned an invitation to the youth combine:
  • Phillippe Poulin
  • Zacary Griffith
  • Marc-André Marchaud
  • Jason Ross
  • Kanerathens Bush
  • Luke Bertrand
  • Derek Corbett
Matthew Laporta was invited to try out for Team Canada.

Several other players also made good impressions on the FBU coaches including Stallions' own Ryan Dickson, Gerry-Dean Mavrokefalos, Charles Schneider, Trevor Lamarche, Sebastien Serre and William Lemire.

Congratulations to all the players and good luck in Texas.

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