BOUCHERVILLE, Monday, August 16, 2010 - Jean Hébert, a six-year Quebec Major Junior Hockey League veteran, is making the jump to the National Hockey League. We were able to track him down and ask him a few questions about this new and exciting opportunity.
How does it feel to have signed a contract with the NHL?
“I am very happy to begin this new challenge in the NHL, but I’m a little bit nervous too.”
What is your best QMJHL memory?
“My best QMJHL memories are from the 7th game of the President Cup final between Drummondville and Shawinigan and the fact that I worked that game with Marc Muylart, Sylvain Losier and Daniel Béchard. The MasterCard Memorial Cup was also a very special moment, especially with my family in attendance.”
What will you remember the most about your QMJHL experience? In what way did the QMJHL become a springboard for your career?
“There are a lot of good referees in the QMJHL, that’s what I will remember the most. There are also a lot of ups and downs in refereeing. But there are always guys like Guy Pellerin or Serge Carpentier that always have answers for our questions. They are guys with a lot of experience. We learned quickly with them that in every single game, you have to give it 100% because they are all important. It’s the same thing in the pro leagues. The QMJHL is very lucky to count or to have counted on guys like Doug Hayward, Sylvain Bibeau and Jean Hould as chief referees. They largely contributed to referee development. I have a lot of respect for them.”
Was it a dream of yours to work for the NHL one day?
“I think that it is every little boy’s dream to work one day in the NHL. I once thought I would be there as a player, but it was impossible for me, so I gave everything I had as a referee and now I’m doing it. Everything is possible.”
Did you ever think it would be at such a young age?
“No, definitely not; I wanted to be a referee to stay in touch with hockey. At first, it was mostly a hobby. One thing led to another and I was one of the lucky ones to get a NHL contract.”
You worked for the Correctional Services of Canada. Do you think you’ll work in the field again? What will you miss the most about the job?
“I don’t think I’ll work again for the Correctional Services. For the moment, I plan to make a career at the NHL level. On the other hand, I’m going to miss the guys at Dorchester’s. There are a lot of my work colleagues that are hockey fans and it was always fun to talk about hockey between night rounds.”
So now, what’s next for you as a NHL referee?
“I will continue to work hard, and I’m sure that there will be a lot of challenges to overcome in the next years. My long-term objective is to referee in the Stanley Cup final.”
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)