The Halifax Mooseheads and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies might be separated by a 19-hour drive and some 1,862 kilometers but that doesn’t mean there aren’t close ties between these two QMJHL franchises heading into the President Cup Playoffs.
For Mooseheads Head Coach Andre Tourigny, he gets to battle the team he led both on the ice and in the front office for 11 seasons as he guides his young Halifax team into the postseason in his first year behind the bench since being hired in the offseason. Tourigny holds every conceivable coaching record in Rouyn-Noranda, going 337-336-20 during his tenure before heading off to the NHL for three seasons.
2016-17 also marked the second straight year that Halifax dealt it’s Captain to the Huskies, beginning with Timo Meier last season as the San Jose Sharks prospect helped lead the team to the Memorial Cup Final. This year it was Meier’s successor Taylor Ford who was traded mid-season as the Moose picked up a valuable 2018 first round pick as compensation for the 19-year-old defenceman.
“Excitement. That’s all that was going through my head when I found out. I don’t think you could have written a better script,” Ford said about his opportunity to meet Halifax in the playoffs.
The Saint-Lazare, QC native was originally a second round draft pick (38th overall) by the Mooseheads in 2013 as the team picked him along with Max Fortier just four picks apart as the city of Halifax was still soaking in its first Memorial Cup Championship that came less than two weeks earlier.
“I was really hoping I’d get a chance to play against them, so when I heard the news, I was ecstatic.”
By the time Ford was traded, the Mooseheads and Huskies had already played their two annual games so it didn’t appear he’d have the chance to return to Scotiabank Centre ice until next season at the earliest.
“I’m sure it’ll be a little strange and I imagine it will be like that right up until puck drop. Once that puck hits the ice though it’s game on. I won’t be thinking about anything other than winning.”
Ford played 171 regular season games in his two-and-a-half seasons in a Mooseheads uniform, scoring 40 points and piling up 191 PIMS. He considers Halifax home and will likely return here once his Q career comes to an end. He has lots of fond memories and plenty of friends in Moose Country but he’s already issued a warning shot to Mooseheads leading scorer Max Fortier.
“I told him to keep his head up or he’ll be in the third row.”
Fortier had a pretty good rebuttal.
“I told him it’s hard to hit someone you can’t catch!”
Well Taylor it’ll be good to see you but you better be ready for the dynamic duo of Fortier and Hischier coming your way!
The series shifts to Halifax for games 3, 4 & 5 if necessary on Tuesday, March 28th, Wednesday, March 29th and Friday, March 31st. All three games start at 7pm.
Tickets for games 3 and 4 of the Mooseheads first round playoff series vs Rouyn-Noranda go on sale Tuesday, March 21st at 11am at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office at Scotiabank Centre, Mooseheads Official Shop in Scotia Square Mall, select Superstore Outlets, TicketAtlantic.com or by phone at 902-451-1221. Service charges apply