Thanks to Maxime Gagnon’s passion for para hockey, he has grown the sport to 150 players in Quebec and hopes to continue developing the game across the country
When Maxime Gagnon was approached by a local Montreal club over a decade
ago about including para hockey in the Défi sportif AlterGo, he didn’t know
anything about the sport. Now, he is one of the biggest advocates of para
hockey in Quebec and across the country.
Curious about the sport, Gagnon joined the 11-player club at a tournament
in London, Ont., as a coach, since the small team didn’t have one. His
introduction to the sport was also his first day he began working with the
program in Montreal.
After his time on the bench, he wanted to learn as much about the team as
possible. What is the yearly plan? Are there recruitment efforts to get
more players? But the players with the small club team said all they did
was play the game they loved. Next, he approached Parasports Quebec, but at
that point, there wasn’t anyone dedicated towards para hockey.
“At this time, I saw the opportunity,” says Gagnon, who is the director of
the Défi sportif AlterGo. “And I said, ‘Let’s go jump [into this].’”
His first call was to the City of Montreal to inquire about ice times for
“They offered us ice time at 8 p.m., so that was good for the guys I had at
the time because at the beginning, they played Sunday morning at 5:30
a.m.,” Gagnon says.
Initially, he worked collaboratively with Parasports Quebec and found a
club in Laval with more players, but after a few years, Gagnon decided to
approach Hockey Quebec.
“The general manager that was there is a good friend of mine, and I said,
‘Why are you not involved with para hockey?’ He said, ‘I don’t know what it
is.’ So, we start with him and Hockey Quebec is now the only province that
gets 100 per cent involved in para hockey.”
This is the 13th season Gagnon has been involved with para hockey, and
there are now about 150 para hockey players across Quebec. The players
compete in a five-team league, which is expected to grow to potentially
seven teams by next season. In addition to Gagnon’s work with Parahockey
Montreal, he is also the head coach of Quebec’s provincial team.
Merci 2022! 🌟
On a hâte de voir ce que tu nous réserves, 2023!
Bonne année 2023! 🍾 pic.twitter.com/uKEvYyK9sp
— Parahockey Montréal (@parahockeymtl) January 1, 2023
The recruitment of new players is…
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