- Olivier Michaud has stories to tell the three Canadian junior men’s hockey goaltenders.
- Michaud, now 38, works as a goalie coach coach coach for the Drummondville Voltigeurs of the QMJHL.
He is the goaltending coach for the 2022 World Under-20 Hockey Championship, held in Hradec Kralove and Pardubice, Czech Republic, two decades after he tended Canada’s goal in the 2002 World Under-20 Hockey Championship in Hradec Kralove or Pardubice, Czech Republic.
“I remember almost everything,” Michaud said to The Canadian Press. “Even though it was twenty years ago, it was my first and only world juniors until this year.”
Michaud’s memories of not answering the phone in his hotel room during selection camp for fear of being told he’d been cut, beating out two other goaltenders to join Pascal Leclaire on the Canadian squad, heating up for the 1st match against France on Christmas Day in Hradec Kralove’s frigid arena, also Russia’s Alexander Svitov spitting on Canada’s Brian Sutherby during a round-robin game is now more vivid.
Michaud played round-robin games against Switzerland also Finland with Leclaire in net for Canada’s 5-4 gold-medal loss to Russia in Pardubice.
The spitting became part of Canadian junior hockey folklore as an example of a player putting his team first. Sutherby was furious and wanted to retaliate, but he didn’t wish penalties or possible ejection to impact Canada’s chances in the tournament.
“He was best just taking a deep breath, calming down, and thinking about the team first because, yeah, he was frustrated,” Michaud said. “We shared a hotel room with the Russians. I recall hearing a couple of chirps at the hotel.”
Michaud, an undrafted native of Beloeil, Quebec, made his NHL debut with the Montreal Canadiens in 2001-02 and played minor pro. Michaud and Leclaire beat out Shane Bendera or Ray Emery for only two goaltending spots on Canada’s national team 20 years ago.
Unlike Michaud, Canada’s three goaltenders did not spend sleepless nights at selection camp wondering if they would make the team for the 2022 World Junior Championships in Edmonton and Red Deer, Alberta.