• Stephanie O’Hanley

Dany Brunet - a Vaudreuil-Dorion connection to Les Canadiennes


PHOTO BY CHC-FRANÇOIS LACASSE

Les Canadiennes' head coach Vaudreuil-Dorion native Dany Brunet in action. Brunet was named "Coach of the Year" at the 2015 Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) Awards Gala.

For more than 25 years, Dany Brunet, a Vaudreuil-Dorion resident, has worked in hockey. His CV includes stints as head coach of the Forestiers d'Amos Midget AAA, as an associate coach with Team Québec, Défi Mondial U17, U16, Canada Games and as a recruiter for the Sherbrooke Phoenix major junior ice hockey team.

Currently general manager of the LHJQ Vaudreuil-Dorion Mustangs, Brunet is also head coach of Les Canadiennes de Montréal, a Canadian Women’s Hockey League (CWHL) team formerly known as the Montreal Stars.

Thanks to Brunet, other Vaudreuil-Dorion hockey talent work for Les Canadiennes. Before becoming head coach of Les Canadiennes, Brunet coached for the team’s training program. Around that time he met Marc Beaudoin, then the Mustangs’ head coach. “I helped out the Mustangs because I live in Vaudreuil-Dorion and that’s how I met Marc Beaudoin. I needed an assistant coach and he’s agreed to do it for the past two years.”

Brunet said he met Étienne Rouillard in Vaudreuil-Dorion. “He was a recruiter for the Vaudreuil Dorion-Mustangs and we hired him as a recruiter for Les Canadiennes.”

Meg Hewings, general manager of Les Canadiennes, said in an email Brunet’s experience with elite hockey includes the LHJQ Midget AAA league, “which features some of the best young male talent in the game, and is renowned for having very dedicated coaches.

“Several members of our hockey staff have worked with Dany as part of the Vaudreuil-Dorion Mustangs and it has been rewarding over the past three seasons he has worked with Les Canadiennes to exchange our knowledge and experiences in the game, and to learn from each other,” said Hewings. “Obviously boy's hockey and elite professional women's hockey is different, but all hockey organizations share similarities. Dany and I are both very invested in constantly improving our organization, and creating a culture of excellence. We've also worked closely together to build our coaching team, and to develop our minor hockey programs with Les Canadiennes.”

Added Hewings, “He's been able to adapt well to the female game, and to bring his vast experience as a tactician and technician to the pro women's circuit, winning the CWHL coaching award last year.”

What differences does Brunet see between boy’s hockey and elite professional women’s hockey?

“I would say the only things that are the same is the game itself, the action on the ice,” Brunet said. “Each league has its realities. I’m getting to know each league and the big differences between men’s and women’s teams.” They include the approach a coach takes and the way they communicate with players.

Brunet said in general, “not everyone, I’m talking about the majority,” women players are more emotional “in the short term” than male players. “I’d say for women, for the group it’s important to be able to be sure they understand a subject or idea in depth and that means more in terms of content.”

He said male hockey players focus less on details and when an idea is presented they accept it as is. In contrast, women players “raise their hands, they want to be sure that it’s done right.”

Brunet said people often compare Les Canadiennes forward Marie-Philip Poulin, the CWHL’s leading scorer, to Sidney Crosby or other male players though her gender shouldn’t matter. “In my opinion the best hockey player in the world is a woman, and she’s Québécoise.”

As Les Canadiennes head into the Clarkson Cup playoffs, Brunet urges people to “come and encourage Les Canadiennes, come and cheer on our Québécoise because the best hockey player in the world is Marie-Philip Poulin.”

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