Sorel-Tracy Éperviers of Quebec’s LNAH: where to from here?

Quebec-hockey-LNAH-Sorel-Tracy Éperviers

Dan Archambault is Assistant Coach of the Sorel-Tracy Éperviers, the current champions of the Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey (LNAH), a Quebec-based league comprised of six teams.

As a regional, semi-professional league, the LNAH has historically attracted crowds by encouraging on-ice fighting, a long-held hockey tradition which has significantly declined over the last decade.

“I’ve been around for fifteen years, played in the league, and now I’m coaching,” Mr Archambault says. “Back then, when I started, fighting was part of everything. The tougher you could get, the better your team would be.”

The successful teams in the league had a core of aggressive players filling the role of enforcers, throwing their weight around to make space for the technical players to shine and win matches. Teams without this core could be easily intimidated by opponents.

“It was the toughest league in the world, for sure. All the tough guys from around the world, were coming here to make money. The tougher you were, the more money you made.”

The reality was that technical players would often be too afraid to play without the backing of tough enforcers, who were in high demand. This meant that more aggressive players from the NHL were switching to the LNAH to play for bigger wages.

In the past few years, however, the league has had a dramatic change in character. The fighting that once made it so popular is becoming scarce, an outcome that Mr Archambault is in no doubt about.

Sorel-Tracy Éperviers-dan-archambault
Dan Archambault is Assistant Coach of the Sorel-Tracy Éperviers, part of Quebec’s
Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey (LNAH)


“There’s no more tough guys,” he says. “From the junior majors, the fights went down, so where do we get the tough guys? Even if we wanted to stay the toughest league, there’s no young guys that are coming to our league and being tough.”

This doesn’t mean that the fighting has disappeared altogether. Mr Archambault admits that a number of the older players are keeping the tradition alive, but the fact is that the make-up of teams has had to fundamentally change.

“For the owners, if you have four tough guys, and fifteen good players, it will cost a lot more than if you only have two tough guys. The salary cap used to be much higher, so if you didn’t have many people in the stand, you couldn’t pay the guys.”

With a decline in the entertainment provided by regular fights, the league has had to work hard to stay sustainable. The LNAH has already seen the downside of this, with a number of teams setting up and then folding over the years.

“We’re only six teams around Quebec,” Mr Archambault says. “For me, it’s not normal. It’s a good level of hockey, and there should be at least 8 or 10 teams around the league. I think it’s because of the [way the league was] before.”

Without the level of entertainment that used to be on offer, crowds are dwindling. Teams are now less inclined to spend a lot of money with the expectation of coming out with no profit, meaning many aren’t able to sustain their place in the league.

One of the league’s more successful teams are the Sorel-Tracy Éperviers, a long-standing league member with regular success over the years. The team is the current league champion, and works particularly hard to be financially sustainable.

“We’re not into paying a lot of money for [players]. Our best player is not making $500 [a game]. A lot of people around the league make more than $500, but then you see at the end of the season those teams lose a lot of money.”

Having lost a number of players since the success of last season, the team is already feeling the strain on the roster. For all the teams in the league, replacing players of the same standard for the same cost can be a headache.

“Losing a couple of players in our team has made some empty spots that right now we’re not able to fill. Right now there are not many players on the team that can play, so the players that are there need to play.”

Once the world's most violent hockey league, Quebec's Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey (LNAH) is having to reinvent itself as the role of the enforcer fades away
Once the world’s most violent hockey league, Quebec’s Ligue Nord-Américaine de Hockey (LNAH) is having to reinvent itself as the role of the enforcer fades away


With the risk of fatigue and injuries always a concern, this lack of bodies can be make or break for a team such as Sorel-Tracy. It will need to make the most of any opportunities it gets to bring in new faces.

“Every year there is a draft, to draft players from Europe. When guys are done with junior, sometimes they go to the NHL, or they go East Coast League, they go Europe, and when they’re done they finish their hockey career here.”

The hope is that these European drafts will help fill the hole left by the enforcers of yesteryear. One thing that seems likely is that the quality of the league will only go up, with less focus on the physical side of the game and more on faster, technical players.

With the decline in tougher players joining the league, the LNAH has had to adapt. As is always the case in sports, this comes down to money. The league hopes there will be enough talent on show to keep bringing in crowds, even without the promise of a fight.

Find out more about Les Éperviers de Sorel-Tracy by visiting

International Bridge, Tunnel and Turnpike Association Annual Meeting & Exhibition

It was 1999 when the IBTTA membership last came together for an Annual Meeting in Halifax under the theme “Growing Your Toll Business in the Next Millennial.” Twenty years later, our industry has grown by leaps and bounds so we’re headed back to Halifax where we’ll hear from toll operators about innovative tolling projects from around the world. This Annual Meeting is intended to be a collaborative event, addressing challenges in this new multi-modal, technology-driven environment. Beyond a few key General Sessions, the content will be broken into three tracks – Technology and the Customer Experience, The World Showcase and the Business of Mobility. If you were in Halifax in 1999, we hope to see you again 2019. And if this is your first time, make plans to join us this September for Halifax 2.0!

The Annual Meeting & Exhibition Hall will be held at the Halifax Convention Centre. IBTTA will post a listing of hotels convenient to the Convention Centre shortly.

This meeting is preceded by the fall Board of Directors and Committee Meetings.

Unifor Convention 2019

From August 17 to 23, 2019, the Québec City Convention Centre welcomes Unifor Convention 2019.

Unifor is Canada’s largest private sector union, with more than 310,000 members across the country, working in every major sector of the Canadian economy.

102nd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition

From June 3 to 7, 2019, the Québec City Convention Centre welcomes the 102nd Canadian Chemistry Conference and Exhibition. The Conference features internationally renowed speakers that will discuss chemical sciences topics.

The Canadian Society for Chemistry (CSC) is a national, not-for-profit, professional association that unites chemistry students and professionals who work in industry, academia and government. The CSC is recognized by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) as the technical organization for Canadian chemists.

IMMO 2019

On April 5, 2019, the Québec City Convention Centre welcomes IMMO 2019, a unique opportunity to network with key players in real estate.

SETAC North America 40th Annual Meeting

SETAC global meetings offer a multidisciplinary forum for scientists and institutions engaged in the study of environmental problems, management and regulation of natural resources, environmental education, and research and development. Cutting-edge scientific presentations and unique learning and networking opportunities help scientists from around the world stay on top of emerging research, regulatory developments and the latest methodologies.

Accounting and Finance Show Toronto

The Largest Free Accounting & Finance Conference and Exhibition. Tech, ideas, skills for Accountants, Bookkeepers & Finance Managers. The Accounting & Finance Show brings together the technology, the people and the experts that will keep you ahead of the exciting changes that are sweeping your profession. Whether you are an accountant or bookkeeper in private practice or a finance manager in a small business, this is the event for you.