Goyens takes junior head coaching job in Baie-Comeau
Updated: Sep 5, 2019
After a decade with the Lac St. Louis midget AAA Lions, Jon Goyens has taken a head coaching job with the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the QMJHL.
After a 10-year stint as head coach of the Lac St. Louis Lions, Jon Goyens is moving on.
Goyens, 41, took a step up the coaching ladder last week when he was named head coach of the Baie-Comeau Drakkar of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League.
He replaces Martin Bernard whose contract was not renewed after the Drakkar were eliminated by the Moncton Wildcats in the first round of the QMJHL playoffs following a 102-point season.
After developing 15 and 16 year old midget hockey talent for the past decade, Goyens is looking forward to the challenge of coaching junior.
“The timing is good and it’s a new challenge for me,” said Goyens, who met with members of the Drakkar organization, including GM Steve Ahern, at Saturday’s QMJHL Draft in Quebec City.
Goyens has a three-year coaching deal, two years plus an option.
He has coached in the ‘Q’ once before, as an assistant/video coach with the defunct Lewiston Maineiacs in 2008-09.
Afterward, he returned to the midget AAA ranks and guided the Lions to a pair of Jimmy Ferrari Cup playoff crowns in 2011 and 2016. The Lions also captured two bronze medals at the Telus Cup national midget championships those years.
Goyens cemented his coaching credentials this season after setting a league record with 75 career playoff wins, including a semifinal upset over the powerhouse Lévis Chevaliers.
Goyens also developed a slew of young hockey talent for the college, junior and pro ranks. Mike Matheson (Florida Panthers), Jonathan Drouin (Montreal Canadiens), Anthony Duclair (Ottawa Senators) are just a few of the Lions notables who’ve gone on to bigger and better things.
Goyens pointed out it has been another good year for former Lions with NHL aspirations.
“Gabriel Fortier signed (Tampa Bay Lightning), Joe Veleno signed (Detroit Red Wings), Arnaud Durandeau signed (New York Islanders), Jeremy Davies signed (New Jersey Devils) and Jérémie Bucheler is up for this year’s NHL draft. There’s also a slight chance Justin Hryckowian might be drafted, and Alex Campbell is from Lac St-Louis. He didn’t play midget AAA Lions but he was part of our (spring) 2001-team from a young age and we consider him part of the Lions family.”
Many hockey pundits wondered why it took so long for Goyens to get a junior gig considering his track record with the Lions.
Goyens has weighed other offers over the years, but the timing was not ideal. Family related matters often took precedence. He also had to shed the stigmatization of being a career “midget coach.”
“I didn’t think it would be 10 years,” he said. “Sometimes I thought it was a bad thing, but I came to a realization, especially in the last year, I’ve worn a lot hats and built a really solid foundation. So going into Baie- Comeau, although I’ve got some stuff to learn about the league, I feel I’m a lot more comfortable in my own skin had I only done, say, three years of midget.”
But there are personal sacrifices that go with the promotion.
Goyens will spend next season alone up in Baie-Comeau, nearly 700 kilometres, or a long eight-hour drive from his family in Kirkland. Staying behind are his wife Elara Verret and their 2.5-year-old son Henri who is into “trucks, sports and wrestling.”
Being away from his family might be the most difficult part of the task ahead, but Goyens is making preparations for frequent visits.
“The team gets discounts on flights. It might cost me a few dollars to do that but it’ll be well worth it. It will help towards my sanity, because it’s important for my son to see me more than once every two months.”
The Lions have yet to name a coaching replacement.