The CBHA is proud to announce that Michel Pérodeau of the Montreal Black Knights has been named to the CBHA Hall of Fame, as well as him being named to the International Ball Hockey Hall of Fame this year one of the few who were inducted from the CBHA. For those that never had the opportunity to watch this great big goalie play, you missed a chance to see the real Rock in action. Michel was a tall goaltender, who understood great positioning. More importantly what set him apart was at big moments in key National or International tournaments he provided the goaltending stability and key saves that engraved Gold on his team. In short he was the difference for his team every game.
Unquestionably considered one of if not the best who ever played goal in our sport. Michel always rose to the occasion. Earlier in his career he had a burning fire that sported a little Billy Smith/Ron Hextall tactics to warn his opponents about entering his crease. As he aged like fine wine, he became a little more clever about this, and drew even more concentration to do his job with excellence.
From a playing standpoint his first National championship he was electric, and later when backstopping perhaps the best Canadian team ever in 2003 in Sierre he was the glue that made that team so good. Michel Pérodeau was a proud member of Quebec ball hockey, and off the floor one of the nicest guys you would ever want to meet. So there you have it, class, and excellence of performance at National and International events, which make for another great addition to our CBHA Hall of Fame.
Below find some question that the ROCK answered for our CBHA readers;
Michel you are considered one of the best goalies ever. What led you to become a goaltender?
When I was young, I watched my dad play as a goalie. I wasn't sure I wanted to do that because the warm up period impressed me a lot with everyone shooting at him. I finally understood what the feeling was when he brought me to play outside wearing his old hockey equipment. It is at that moment I fell in love with the sport. I started my goalie career at 7-8 years old, and then my friends invited me to join their ice hockey team.
You were a great ice hockey goalie reaching high level. What are the biggest differences between playing in net in ball hockey from ice hockey?
The biggest difference between both is that it is much easier to move on the ice, it's faster. On the other hand, in ball hockey the surface is much more stable, if we get caught off position, it's much easier to go back to our position. The viewing angle is not the same when we are on skate because we are higher. Besides, the transition between ball hockey and ice hockey is not easy to do. Finally, it is easier to stop a puck than a ball. The trajectory of the puck is more predictable, a ball even if we stop it can keep moving. We have to be more focused.
You played on the Montreal Storm and were the spearhead of them winning their first National title in 1995. What do you remember about that tournament?
It was the first time that I was participating in a National Championship. When we arrived, I saw the other teams looking at us and not expecting a lot from us since Quebec had never won anything. But when we landed in Edmonton, we were on a mission, we wanted to at least go back home with a medal. We knew that we had a good team [14 players from Black Knights, 4 from New Bordeaux, 2 from Bullets and 1 from Steelers], but we weren't expecting anything. We'd become a true Cinderella team. Everyone believed it would be easy to beat us and that's what motivated me. We won the final in the third overtime period, a typical overtime goal, not very pretty... it was a wrist shot from Frankie Magno from their blue line. It took us a couple of seconds to realize we scored. It was the first National Championship I was participating into and we got to the end.
What was it like to play on the Black Knights?
[The Black Knights were established in 1989 by Tony Iannitto who still is the coach and general manager of the team.] I think I started playing with them in 1992. It was an incredible adventure. You had to be there to understand, it's really hard to explain in words. There were so many strong personalities and leaders in that team; starting with the two captains we had Mario Morroni [inducted in 2005 to the CBHA Hall of Fame] and Paolo Musto, that it was comical in the dressing room. For my part, I was quiet and left my actions talk on the rink. We were a close knit team, like a family. Each player who played in that team brought something special.
You won 8 provincial championships and played in 13 National championships. What were your favourite city to play in and your best memories?
I have participated in National Championships in all the provinces except Manitoba. Vancouver was beautiful and Newfoundland very warm-hearted. The best tournament team spirit wise was Calgary. But I think nothing could beat my first National Championship. We were in Edmonton, my first time in the West. I was really impressed by the quality of hockey I was seeing, it was tough, gritty and skilled. It was a great trip, I still remember the phenomenal banquet where the steak was all you can eat.
Who were the toughest shooters you had to face and why?
The last seasons where I played, it was always the same three guys: the line of Alex Burrows, Ian Fontaine and Benoit Gilbert from the Montreal Red Lite. it was also Team Canada first line!
You represented your country three times winning three gold medals. What was it like to be part of our National program? And what are your best memories of playing for Canada?
The three of them are engraved in my memory. When we have a gold medal hung around our neck and that we hear the National anthem played, it's indescribable. What motivated me the most was a small tactic from George Gorstos, Team Canada head coach. We would get the whole team sitting around a table and one after the other we would write a small message on the Canadian flag that would explain to whom we were dedicating our tournament and why we wanted to win that medal. It would make us feel closer and our success was due to the fact that we were playing together.
What would you tell a young player who aspires to play International ball hockey?
I can summarize it in one word: determination. Everything starts from there. A player can be the best in the world, if its heart is not there, it won't work. We can rely on talent to a certain degree only. Someone who is determined is a lot more dangerous than someone talented.
What do you think the future of ball hockey is, and why should a young player play our game. Or further why be a goalie?
I simply hope the sport will become more recognized. There is ball hockey of quality being played right now, the level, the quality, the speed of the game etc. And I have the impression it got even better in the last few years. I think games should be broadcasted on sports channels because there are a lot of quality players but they are not necessarily well known.
For kids, it is an excellent way of keeping a good cardio. We can't cheat like in ice hockey by letting ourselves glide. If we stop running, we stop moving.
Personally, I loved playing ball hockey because I didn't have the pressure I had in ice hockey.
We don't chose to become a goalie overnight. We need to start at a young age and I think it starts from the person itself. We are a goaltender or we are not.