Wednesday, September 28, 2022

‘Believe in my ability’, says Canada’s new GM Kent Hughes

“I sincerely hope I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t been the best candidate for the job.”

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Kent Hughes grew up in Beaconsfield and dreamed of one day playing for the Canadiens.

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On Wednesday afternoon he experienced what he said was the next best thing, being officially introduced as the 18th GM in Canadiens history.

Team owner/president Geoff Molson, who was part of an onstage news conference on the ice at the Bell Center with Jeff Gorton, executive vice president of hockey operations, said that 11 candidates were interviewed for the job before the decision. Hughes, who has been a player agent for over 20 years.

“I can assure you that I would not be here today if I hadn’t had confidence in my ability to become general manager of the Montreal Canadiens,” said Hughes, who was very comfortable answering questions in English and French. . “The other part is that I’m happy and glad they went through a process and I sincerely hope I wouldn’t be here today if I hadn’t been the best candidate for the job.”

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Molson and Gorton were part of a four-member committee to find the next GM, along with former captain and GM Bob Gainey and minority team owner Michael Andlauer.

The three finalists were Hughes, along with former Canadiens Matthew Darche and Daniel Brier.

“I know he was an agent, but I think of Kent as a hockey person first,” Gorton said. “I have spent a lot of time with him in the last two weeks talking about hockey and team-building and I love his out-of-the-box thinking. But, ultimately, it came down to a great experience with Kent and I liked his overall vision of where this team is going, what we need to do and I look forward to the next several weeks to get the plan done. . where we need to go.”

Hughes was asked what makes him optimistic he could replace the Canadiens, who are last in the overall NHL standings with an 8-25-5 record in Thursday’s game in Las Vegas against the Golden Knights. (10 PM, TSN2, RDS, TSN 690 Radio, 98.5 FM).

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“I think to be fair to the players I need to take the time to get acquainted with them, familiar with the organization, the staff, everything else,” he said. “We have challenges, no questions. The team is not where we expected or the Canadiens expected it to be at this point in time. I think some of it is circumstance, but there’s no question that Change is needed. … I want to get to know Jeff. We are going to spend a lot of time together here over the next 5-7 days and start discussing what steps need to be taken.

“My vision is that this is going to be an organization where everyone is coming together,” Hughes said. “We’re all on the same team, we’re not coming from different sides. I’ve been fortunate enough to have worked with 31 other organizations, or 32 to date, in my experience as an agent. So my I have a lens of how things are done, both from what I see, but also from all the customers we have. I spent a lot of time talking to them not only about their game, but about the organization, What they like. I’ve always been someone who was curious about the game of hockey and how organizations run it. I can tell you that in the last 5-7 days I’ve been here not only about my plans and it (its clients) I’ve had some really long conversations about influencing but also what they love about an organization that they think they lack and I’m going to take a lot of their thoughts and we’ll look at them. Going to discuss and try to build a very modern organization that the players want to be a part of.”

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Hughes noted that the team that wins the Stanley Cup every year is not the team with a roster full of the most talented players.

“To me, team-building is definitely a culture that we need to build or establish here and an environment that people want to be part of where there is a sense that everyone is pulling in the same direction,” he said. said. “In sports I have been on the side of the players, so I know players are concerned that they are in a third-line role rather than a second-line role and that affects their earning potential and things of that nature. . . me It seems that sometimes it is more about the opportunity than the money. But we have to create an environment where everyone wants to be pulled in the same direction at their full potential.

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“I also think personnel wise – I’m not talking about hockey, I’m talking about the people who work here – I want everyone to feel like they’re part of the process. His contribution to the whole organization is pulling in one direction and trying to win together. As far as team-building goes, there’s going to be a first-line center, there’s going to be a fourth-line center. So, yes, we need to be able to identify and put together a team as part of this process that fits our identity, how we want to play. Choose a coach who is coaching those players Barry Trotz is coaching in New York (with the Islanders) – it’s probably the perfect team for him to coach – and John Cooper coaching in Tampa – it’s probably the right team to coach John Cooper. So All those things are relevant when you’re trying to build a winning team.”

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twitter.com/StuCowan1

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