The Sick Podcast: The problem with hockey in Quebec.

Former NHLer Enrico Ciccone joins Tony Marinaro to discuss the issues regarding hockey in Quebec.

Last week on the Sick Podcast, host Tony Marinaro was joined by former NHL Player Enrico Ciccone to discuss hockey in Quebec.

As many Habs fans are aware, one of their last games of the season had no Quebec-born players in the lineup for the first time in Franchise history. Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante and Quebec Premier Francois Legault were quick to share their thoughts, with both stating that the organization needs to do more to bring in French-Canadian players. Ciccone admitted that while he was disappointed about this situation, he wasn’t surprised.

“What we saw was a result of something that went wrong many years ago,” said Ciccone. “Hockey Quebec’s mandate isn’t to form players for the NHL. On the other hand, if you have good development and surroundings here for our kids, how they can develop as athletes will make them become better hockey players.”

Ciccone continued to break down the issues with Quebec’s hockey development. “We identify a star player too rapidly here in Quebec. We put him in a structure and try to make an elite player out of him. We shouldn’t do this. A lot of kids develop in the longer run. Some are taller, some are bigger, etc.”

Hockey Quebec’s development program has put more of an emphasis on competitiveness and less on actual development, and this has unfortunately been a major downfall for the province’s hockey players. “Look at Finland, Sweden, and even the US. They don’t look at stats, positions. They play everywhere and everyone has the same skills on the ice. As they grow up, everything falls into place naturally,” explained Ciccone. “Here we decide that at 12 years old, a player is a defenseman and he will play 12 months of AAA hockey. A lot of kids just leave because they are fed up.”

This prohibits most players from playing other sports, which according to Ciccone, limits their athleticism. “You have to be an athlete before you become an NHL player.”

As of today, there are only 60 Quebec-born hockey players playing in the NHL among 31 teams (soon to be 32). Two of these players are on the Habs. “Asking the Canadiens to have six, seven, or even eight French-Canadian players when there are only 60 isn’t realistic,” sa