“Troy Fougere does a great job running these sessions for novice, atom and peewee hockey players,” Evans said. “Basically, Jamie Barbour and I support Troy. He does this for all the right reasons. I wouldn’t attach my name to something if I didn’t believe in it and that’s Troy.”
So, Tuesday afternoon, after the very focused skaters had left the ice, the scenario could not have been better. In a friendly dressing room, gifted hockey coach Fougere fielded all questions thrown his way.
A local schoolteacher for 20 years, Fougere now teaches Grade 6 English, social studies and health at Red Cliff Middle School. A former instructor for several years with Truro Minor Hockey’s initiation program, Fougere has coached 18 years with Hub Hockey Skills, Shawn Evans’ summer hockey school. The Cape Breton native is perhaps best known though as a longtime coach with the Truro Bearcats of the MHL.
Born in Cheticamp, Fougere’s early minor hockey was played in his home community.
“I remember looking up to our high school hockey team and wanting to be one of those players someday,” Fougere, 43, said. “I wanted to wear the team jacket and be an NDA Acadian.”
Junior A hockey saw Fougere play forward and defence for the Summerside Western Capitals in 1988-89 and the Halifax Dairy Queen Blizzards in 1989-90.
After playing his last serious hockey in 1992-93 with Truro TSN Bearcats of the Nova Scotia Senior Hockey League, Fougere coached midget hockey. In 1997-98, when owner Stu Rath entered Truro Bearcats in the Maritime Hockey League, Fougere became an assistant coach to Steve Crowell.
For the next two seasons Fougere assisted Richard Mackenzie, at the helm of the Brookfield Elks of the Nova Scotia Junior Hockey League. Rejoining the Bearcats in 2000-2001, this is the 15th straight year Fougere has been a Bearcats coach. Overall, he’s been a coach for 16 years of the club’s 18-year history.
“I’ve had the opportunity over the years to coach with Richard MacKenzie, Steve Crowell, Dave Barrett and Shawn Evans,” Fougere said. “I feel I’ve pulled something from each coach’s strength. This helped me develop my own coaching philosophies. For that I feel fortunate and I’d like to thank owner Stu Rath, who keeps me around.”
Evans and Fougere has been an amazing tandem, icing contending teams season after season since joining forces 13 years ago. The two coaching veterans have guided and harmonized young Bearcats players to the tune of three league championships.
“We’ve had a good run,” Fougere said. “But a lot of it is about helping these young players become better people. To see Todd Kennedy married with a family (and) Alan Dwyer the same. And look at Jamie Barbour, a former player, he’s come back and is helping coach the team. I enjoy seeing these young men go on and do well. It’s nice to see where their life goes.”
Head coach Evans said Fougere has arrived at an important place as a coach.
“When I ask Troy for his opinion he gives it to me quickly and with confidence. Troy is a very good coach and he is a great buffer between the players and me. The best thing I can say about Troy is that I trust him 110 per cent. I’m very glad to have Troy as a coach.”
Fougere and his wife Kathy reside in Valley. They have a son Matthieu and a daughter Sarah. Matthieu is a fine hockey prospect and plays defence for the Weeks Major Midgets.
“I watch Matthieu play whenever I can find a time our schedules don’t conflict,” Fougere said. “I never miss when the opportunity comes up.”
Note: Lyle Carter’s sports column appears Saturdays in the Truro Daily News. If you have a story idea, contact him at 673-2857.