Wed Jul 06 02:21pm EDT
When team president Guy Carbonneau went behind the Chicoutimi Saguenéens bench, it read like a bit of a band-aid solution for a team in upheaval.
It appears Chicoutimi (owners of the best jerseys in major junior hockey, just wanted to mention that at some point) has taken a step toward stability. The small-market QMJHL club has turned to two its alumni for its coach-GM tandem, with Marc Fortier taking over as general manager with Marc-Étienne Hubert (pictured) making the step up to head coach after serving as an assistant for the past several seasons.
There's a lot of work to be done for a team which finished 13th overall in the then 18-team Quebec league, but the sooner that franchise can turn the page on a 2010-11 that unravelled after co-owner and governor Gervais Munger drowned last summer. One obvious hook is that Fortier's previous endeavour was working to help improve the QMJHL's player recruitment, which has become a recurring theme due to many young Quebecers opting out of playing in their home province to go the U.S. route. (A prime example is Detroit Red Wings fifth-round pick Philippe Hudon, a Montrealer who played at a prep school near Boston.)
One early payoff and possible proof that change is going over well comes via the irreplaceable Mikaël Lalancette of Le Soleil. Along with announcing their new front office pair, the Sags also have commitments from their first selections in the QMJHL entry and Canadian Hockey League import drafts, 16-year-old forward Jérémy Grégoire (taken No. 6 overall in June) and Czech centre Lucas Sedlak, a Columbus Blue Jackets draft choice.
Getting Grégoire, one of several Quebec prospects who was believed to be taking a long look at the USHL and NCAA, is a bit of a coup. One big recruit often begets another, so the fact Grégoire liked what he saw when he visited Chicoutimi prior to Wednesday's announcement is promising.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Canada Sports . Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @neatebuzzthenet (photo: CHL Images).