Former NHL bench boss Ted Nolan, now the vice president of hockey operations for the Rochester Americans, only coached Brad Marchand for one season. In 2005-06, when Nolan coached the Moncton Wildcats, Marchand was a second-year junior player.
But Marchand made a lasting impression on Nolan.
“He always had that drive and determination, that’s for sure,” Nolan said. “The first time I saw Brad in training camp in Moncton, the first thing that struck me, more than anything else, was just his drive and his compete level. That’s one thing about young players coming up in the NHL. You can’t just play OK games. You’ve got be at your best the majority of the time.”
With Nolan behind the bench and Marchand playing a go-to role, Moncton advanced to the Memorial Cup final. Marchand’s teammates included Keith Yandle, Philippe Dupuis, and Martins Karsums. Moncton lost to Quebec.
“Brad was only 17,” Nolan said. “If he was 19 years old, we would have won the Memorial Cup.”
Look for more on Marchand in Thursday’s Globe.