The one about…how they almost died

The best story of our breakfast with Maxim Lapierre and Jean-Francois is one that dates back to the 2004-05 QMJHL season with the pair playing for the Prince Edward Island Rocket and Alain Vigneault their head coach.

“We show up for practice one morning,” began Jean-Francois. “It’s February in PEI, it’s very volatile weather down there and this one morning the sun was out, no snow on the ground, it was nice. We put on our team jackets and sweat pants and sneakers, light gloves, and go to practice for a few hours.

“We leave the rink and it’s hell out there. Cars are covered in snow; literally you couldn’t see the roofs. Max was driving a 1994 beat up Hyundai two-door, one of the best pieces of crap I’ve ever seen, and we can’t even see it. Alain pulled up in his shiny SUV ready to do donuts around everyone, and said he would give us a ride to our billets.

“We jumped in. Max’s billets had just moved to a new place on a farm and so Alain asked if the snowplow would have gone through the street there. Max said he didn’t know. When we got close, Alain said he didn’t want to take a chance at getting stuck, so he dropped us off nearby, but we still had a little walk. We start walking and it turns out we really misjudged how far of a walk it was, we were like a mile and a half away.

“Picture this: 30-mile an hour winds coming at you, ice falling off everywhere, snow coming up to your knees, you’re dressed lightly and tired from practice. I’m pretty sure I saw the light at the end of the tunnel at one point. It was crazy.”

Lapierre, laughing hysterically, added: “He just kept saying: ‘I’m cold, I’m cold, I’m cold.’ It’s like a line from the movies.”

Jean-Francois continued: “We finally got to the billets and I removed my gloves and they took 12 hours to thaw.

“Then the next day Alain fined us for not being dressed in proper winter gear. I’ll never forget that. I don’t think he knows that story.

"Alain, if you’re reading this, we almost died. We didn’t, so we were more than happy to pay that fine.”