Of Aline Chatel
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Since leaving Caen in 2014, his beard and hair have grown. Jeremy Romand he is no longer the young man almost out of his teens who joined the Drakkars in 2010. At 34, he is coming out of fifteen consecutive seasons in the Magnus League. However, it is with unfailing determination that he prepares to find the Hockey Club of Caen, in a D1 that he will discover. Maintenance.
Eight years after your departure, did you imagine returning to Caen?
Yes, it is something that was in the back of my mind. I had spent four wonderful years in Caen. The city, the ice rink, the hockey … My wife comes from there. We had imagined returning to Caen to play hockey again. After that, I didn’t know what it would be like.
Come out of five seasons in Amiens with two French Cups and great individual performances. The best years of your career?
Completely. Whether on a sporting or personal level, it’s been an incredible five years for me, especially the first three. We had a crazy locker room, a great group. We spent three years having fun and winning games. It was great! Personally, I’ve had my best seasons. After that, Covid ruined the m … and last year it was a little less good on a collective level as well as on an individual level. But I loved my time in Amiens. To top it off, my son was born here.
Luc Chauvel’s youngest son was also born in Amiens when his father was performing there before returning to Caen …
If I could have the same career ending and post-career as Luc, it would suit me very well. It is one of the examples. The longevity he has had in Caen is the dream of many coaches.
“I’m not coming to early retirement”
When you enter Caen, are you planning to become a coach like him and begin your retraining?
It is not my priority. I don’t arrive in D1 for an early retirement or for a retraining. I face new challenges. If I get to D1, it’s to win titles and perform again. I am very far from thinking about what will happen next. I am trying to extend my career at a high level, even if it is a little below the Magnus League in terms of the number of games played (half in the regular season, ed). If I chose Caen it is because the quality of the work and the quality of the infrastructure are superior to some clubs in the Ligue Magnus. Not all clubs have a Johann Franchequin at home or the superb weight room at the Hélitas stadium.
Let’s assume you have been approached by other clubs. Was the reflection difficult?
Yes. In my head, I’m still a long way from giving up hockey. First I looked at what was happening in Ligue Magnus. I had contact with several clubs but I had a clear idea of what I wanted. I wanted to stay in Magnus to play the lead roles, not just to be in Magnus and play the play-downs. In terms of offerings, I was not very happy with Magnus. In P1 my choice fell on Caen because I know the club, I know what’s at stake. I think when you get out of Magnus, it’s easier to move to Caen.
Leaving Amiens, is a page turning?
It is the end of a cycle. A new cycle opens with the arrival of very good young people. I no longer fit into their financial and sporting project. I am very realistic, I have not had my best season. I made a very good living in Amiens. Inevitably, at some point it doesn’t work anymore. It is part of the sport. I accepted it.
“I’m becoming a major player in D1 again”
In Caen you will have your first experience in D1. How do you learn it?
The fact that I play fewer games scares me a little. For six years we have tasted 44 matches a year in the regular season. There is nothing better: we train little, we play a lot. In terms of hockey, I’m not worried. I know there is a very good level in D1. I watch a lot of games because I have friends and my little brother playing there. I’ll have to pick up the pace of one game a week.
Your arrival will raise great expectations. does it make sense to you?
Returning to the D1, that’s also what I’m looking for. I have not received a call from the big Magnus stables, I am returning to being an important player for the team in P1. Ever since I was little, I wanted to be the kind of player you expect, even if people aren’t happy when I’m missing something. That’s what I have chosen, to be one of the players who help the team win. I like scoring goals, making assists, winning … Staying with Magnus so as not to fill that role anymore has become complicated for me. I’m too competitive. I go down to D1 to be one of the best players on my team and, if possible, in the league. My ambition is to be a hub of Caen. But be careful, I’m not saying it will be easy.
As in Amiens, also in Caen there is the end of the cycle with the change of the coach.
I would have liked Luc (Chauvel) to stay another year before the cycle changed. I really appreciate him and love his work. I know Julien very well (Guimard, his successor, ed). I already had it in Rouen when I was young. I’ve been following his results since he became a manager. He is also an excellent coach. For me, he’s the manager that Caen needed to replace Luc.
He has already shown his title ambition. Do you share it?
Sure. He, like me, when you sign up for a club, it’s to win. So let’s be realistic. The goals will be announced later by the company, we must keep our feet on the ground. But you can’t just sign up to play, you sign up to win. If we can be champions next season, we won’t spit on it.
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