This week’s interview is with Quebec Tigres coach Martin Delorme.
SHL Digest: We’re here today with Martin Delorme of one of the SHL’s newest teams, the Quebec Tigres. Coach Delorme, thank you for your time.
Martin Delorme: As always, it is my pleasure.
SHLD: So, we’re halfway into the season. How do you feel your team is doing so far?
MD: I am quite pleased overall. We are consistently competitive, and our team is embracing its identity of hard work and scrappy defense. We are making a good account of it this season, and I believe we are well positioned for future seasons.
SHLD: What do you feel are your greatest strengths as a team?
MD: Our greatest strength, in my opinion, is in net. You cannot win a championship without a strong goaltender, and in Riki Tiktuunen, we have a goalie we can build around. He reminds me very much of [Michigan G Dirk] Lundquist. Apart from Tiktuunen, I am very impressed with our players’ willingness to sacrifice their bodies, bang the boards, dig in the corners. Everyone here is committed to doing the dirty work.
SHLD: What about your greatest weakness?
MD: Obviously, our offense is not strong. When you play a strong defensive style and have a very good goaltender, as we do, you do not need as much offense. Still, if we are going to contend in the future, we will need to add some forwards with a scoring touch.
SHLD: You play in the East, which is generally agreed to be the weaker division in the league. Does that make it easier to think about being competitive?
MD: I do not think so. First of all, the East has Washington, which is a very strong team that can compete with anyone. And I am sure the other teams will be working hard to improve in the coming seasons.
SHLD: When we interviewed you last season, you were coaching the Michigan Gray Wolves, and there were rumors about the ownership in Quebec looking to hire you away. Obviously, they succeeded in bringing you over. Do you think you made the right decision?
MD: Yes. As you know, I am proud Quebecois. My heart is always here. This is where I grew up, where I learned to play, where I learned to love hockey. To be back here and taking the ice in front of the fans in my home province… there is no feeling that can compare.
SHLD: As I’m sure you’ve noticed, Michigan is having a great season. They’ve rocketed their way to the top of the standings, and they don’t seem ready to let go. Do you ever look at the standings and feel regret, like maybe you should have stuck with them?
MD: Absolutely not. Of course, I was a bit sorry to walk away from that team. I knew there was greatness there; I knew that when I decided to leave. I knew there was a good chance that they could win a championship, and I would be sorry not to share it. But this is where I belong, and I have no regrets. I wish Michigan well.
SHLD: How would you feel if you met them in the Finals someday?
MD: I would be happy because we are in the Finals! Who the opponent would be, that is all the same to me. I know it would be a good series, because they are a strong team.
SHLD: Thanks for an enlightening interview, Coach Delorme. Good luck in the second half!
MD: I hope that the next time you interview me, it will be because we are in the Finals.