Another season is underway and as teams hit the ice in their quest for the 2011-2012 NRL Championship title, we’re taking a closer look at each team in the league. The new series is called 19 Teams in 19 Days and we would like to encourage you to join in the discussion on Twitter by following www.twitter.com/nrllnr or by sending us an email at NRLchatter@nationalringetteleague.ca
Last season finish:
Regular season – 12th place Eastern Conference
Head coach: Yves Leclair
Two questions with coach Leclair:
What would it mean to you, as a coach, to win the NRL championship this season?
Reaching the NRL Championship would be without any doubt succeeding in my main objective. To win it would obviously be a dream come true, a goal sett by all coaches in the league. Since I began coaching, I wholeheartedly wished to take part in this Championship. This year, I think that my team, Le Royal de Bourassa, has the necessary capacity to earn a spot in the NRL Championship finals.
What does your team have to do to win an NRL championship?
Firstly, let me specify that there have been many changes within our organization since last year. Our transition from BLL to Bourassa started, among other things, with the addition of many positives to the team. Thanks to those changes the players are highly motivated and as the season starts, the team spirit both on the ice and off is very positive. The young recruits fit in very well! We have a good core of players and as a coach it is nice to see that they have good chemistry together. By continuously working at improving on our weaknesses, we will be able to go far by relying on our strengths. Given our ranking last year, we have to work on our confidence – that is each player’s own confidence in herself and the confidence in the team. The coaching staff and I are very confident in our capacities. It is time that the other teams respect us and see us as a threat.
The NRL nugget to know about this team:
This year we have two new teams in the form of Atlantic Attack and the LMRL Thunder. But we have a third team with a new name. Le Royal de Bourrassa were previously BLL Nordiques. As a fair warning to everyone, we are going to stop writing (fomerly BLL) after their name soon. Get on board people!
The question to be answered:
Can Jessica Pepper’s 25 goals be replaced? Karyna Dallaire led the team in scoring last year and may be able to build on her goal total, but there remains a question of how to replace the rest. Jessica Pepper’s sister Genvieve (who Bourassa drafted a day after trading Jessica to Rive Sud) will be counted upon to provide some of the scoring punch that her sister had provided last year.
What happened in the off-season:
Bourassa added Jade Abboud, Quebec’s leading scorer among defenders at the Canada Games, and they re-added Marie-Helene Belzile after a year away last season. Both additions should bolster the team defensively, which will be essential playing in the same division as the Montreal Mission and Rive Sud Revolution.
The (hidden) gem:
Karyna Dallaire has scored a lot for this team. Last year, she led her team with 26 goals and has 85 goals in 107 career games going into this season. Dallaire has flown under the radar a bit on a team that has struggled over three seasons, but she may be ready for prime time this season.
Reason for optimism:
The team’s new name and the trade of Jessica Pepper will really allow them to turn a new leaf and put several sub .500 seasons behind them. With a solidified defence, they may be able to do just that.
Reason for concern:
Bourassa has a big hill to climb to get into the Eastern playoff picture. They have some assets to build on, but a lot of things are going to have to fall into place in order to make it happen.