October | Marc Bergevin
JETELOVE MONTREALER OF THE MONTH
OCTOBER - MARC BERGEVIN, GM Montreal Canadiens
What a season it’s been for the Montreal Canadiens. Whether or not you’re a hockey fan, the excitement surrounding the HABS success in the last round of the playoffs revived the city during a time when Montrealers needed it the most. Cheering on our beloved HABS, a team that made it to the very end, on some days, against all odds.
With the hockey season starting soon, JETELOVE chose the man behind it all, Marc Bergevin, the General Manager of the Montreal Canadiens, as our Montrealer of the month.
For the past 12 years, Bergevin has been at the helm of one of the most storied sport franchises in the league. JETELOVE had the pleasure of sitting down with him in July for an interview during one of the busiest periods of the NHL season: the expansion draft and the regular draft, going on all at once.
We met him at his office located at the Complex Sportif Bell on a Thursday afternoon for a candid interview. He looked fantastic, in top shape, sporting workout attire and flip flops, prominently displaying his numerous tattoos each of which has a special personal significance. His stature is as impressive as his demeanor. As a former professional hockey player, scout and now GM, this veteran NHL player is no stranger to the pressure that comes with each of these titles.
We began our interview congratulating him on being named the second best GM in the NHL and by telling him that we would NOT be focussing on hockey (Well, we tried not to at least!). We wanted to know about Marc Bergevin. Who is he really? What are his passions? What are his superstitions? What’s his favorite part of the job? His least favorite? What are his thoughts on inclusivity in hockey? Who is his mentor?
This guarded father of three left Montreal at a young age to pursue his hockey career, spending most of his life living in the United Sates, in such cities as Chicago, Boston, New York, Pittsburgh, St Louis and San Diego, to name just a few. All three of his children live outside of Montreal. His daughter lives in Amsterdam, and one son resides in Seattle, and the other in Jacksonville, Florida.
How does Marc Bergevin always seem to keep his composure, cool, calm and collected? To this, he responds: “I’m very confident at what I do. Hockey is my passion, it’s what I know, it’s what I love”. He admits to never watching television and does not listen to sports stations on the radio either. He listens to satellite radio in his car and music at home. Bergevin’s passions include working out, playing golf, hosting dinners, spending time with his girlfriend Brigitte, family and friends.
JETELOVE asked: “What got you interested in the role of GM?’’ Bergevin responded by saying: “After retiring as a professional hockey player, I explored different avenues and was offered a job as a scout, recruiting young up and coming talent. I started from the very bottom and made it clear that I was eager to learn the ropes.” He traveled to many different cities and countries, which could be a challenging process for some, but he persevered through it. His dedication and strong work ethic paid off as he quickly got promoted and rose to success.
We were curious as to whether or not Bergevin has any superstitions, to which he responded: “I don’t really have any… except maybe for the suit”. The famous RED SUIT! He laughed when I reminded him of the media and the fans obsession regarding his outfits prior to each game. In solidarity with the players, he grew a moustache during the playoffs but has since shaved it off. When asked about his long hair, he replied: “It was impossible to get a haircut during Covid, so I let it grow then figured I’d keep it long.” We tried to investigate and find out what his tailor had up his sleeve (no pun intended) regarding his upcoming 2021-2022 hockey season look but, he didn’t divulge any information except that there may be something in the works but he’s keeping that to himself for now.
JETELOVE also asked the GM: “What advice do you have for kids that are aspiring to be pro-hockey players?” He provided the following guidance: ‘’ Stay in school, get an education while maintaining the balance with training hard. It’s super important.”.
Since JETELOVE fosters inclusivity, we asked Marc what his thoughts are about inclusivity in hockey. He says: “I don’t give it a second thought. A player is selected based on his talent and skill, regardless of their religion, race or sexual orientation”. He further expressed delight regarding Nashville Predators player Luke Prokop coming out as gay, earlier this summer: “It’s super important for people to be accepting and not make an issue out of something that is a total non-issue. My mentor Brian Burke’s late son, Brendan, came out in 2009 and made international headlines for it. He spoke out against homophobia in professional sports and was widely praised. We are on the right path, but there’s still work to be done”.
JETELOVE gives a portion of our sales to the Alzheimer’s Society since it is a cause that is near and dear to our hearts. “Has this disease affected you or your family?”. He responds: “It’s a horrible disease, it also runs in my family, my grandfather had Alzheimer’s also.”
When asked “What is your favorite part of being the GM for the Montreal Canadiens?”, Bergevin paused and answered: “Watching games, traveling, connecting with the players, the team, the energy”. And, his least favorite part? “Negotiating contracts absolutely”, he said with a smirk.
JETELOVE asked; “In today’s salary cap world, how do you build a dynasty team?”. Bergevin replied; “ It’s difficult because of this salary cap. Once a team is successful, players get raises and it can be challenging. We also need to keep in mind that there are now 32 teams instead of 21 which makes it even more trying.”
Since our initial interview, the Montreal Canadiens have announced that their team captain, Shea Weber will not be playing this coming season due to injuries. We jumped on a call with the GM and asked; “How do you replace the loss of a leader like Shea Weber?” he replied; “You can’t. Shea played a huge role and guided some of our younger players, taking them under his wing. They’ve learnt a lot from him and are all coming together to fill that void”.
We asked the GM how the players feel about things slowly opening up during this pandemic. He replied; “The guys are really happy that fans are back in the building cheering them on, they feed off of their energy and love it.”
During the photoshoot, JETELOVE asked what we knew was a completely ridiculous question which evoked the strong reaction that we expected: “Do you ever make a decision based solely on your gut instinct?” we asked. His eyes almost popped out of their socket, he looked astonished and laughed saying: ‘’WHAT?! Gut instinct?! Never, ever! I need to dissect every inch of a player, his skill, ability and performance!”.
When asked what sets Montreal aside from other cities, Bergevin affirms: “Definitely the culture and the language”.
In closing, when asked what message Bergevin would like to convey to Montrealers, hockey related or otherwise, the GM cautioned: “Be kind. Often times, you witness people being harsh, for example towards the athletes. They have feeling too. Everyone wants to perform and succeed.”
Thank you Marc, for paving the way to a magical hockey season. We look forward to what’s coming next.
Photo credit FCP Studios