Jun 092009
 

Gilbert Perreaultgilbert-perreault

“I think the Team Canada ’72 series was a learning experience for all of us. I was a very young player at the time, just a kid and to play with all these great players was a big thrill for me. It was a great experience. However, I felt that they had too many players in training camp, 35 in all. I only got into two games so I guess my biggest disappointment was the fact that I did not get to play more. But I knew in my heart, that my turn would come a couple of years later.

My biggest moment in the series came in the Vancouver game. Harry gave me some ice time when we got behind 2-0–he thought I could skate with the Russians–and I capped off an end-to-end rush with a goal against Tretiak. I circled the net and my centering pass caromed off one of their defensemen. It was the highlight of the series for me.

I singled out Phil Esposito as one of the great leaders on the team and Yvan Cournoyer was also great. As for the Russians, I really admired the left winger Yakeshev, he had great moves and could really fly down the wing. Unlike some who thought Tretiak would be a sieve in goal, I had played against him and I knew how good he could be so I was not surprised that he was one of the top players in the series. I had played against him as a junior.

As for leaving Moscow before the series was over, it was a tough decision to make. At one point, I was one of ten or twelve guys who decided we’d come home. We knew we weren’t going to get any more ice time, so why stay? But in the end, only four of us came back. I was happy to hear J.P. Parise defend me. He said, “I roomed with Gilbert Perreault and I know him. And he’s no quitter.”

After the series I played in the NHL, retiring in 1986, and had a couple of years coaching the Victoriaville Tigers in junior hockey. I currently do some public relations work for the Buffalo Sabres. My home town is Victoriaville.

Perhaps I had been selected to Team Canada because I had won the Calder Trophy as Rookie of the Year in 1971. And I am quite proud of my NHL career. I played in over 1000 games, and scored 512 goals. My only regret is that I never played on a Stanley Cup winning team.”

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