Marc Bergevin Named New GM of NHL’s Montreal Canadiens

By Community | May 4, 2012

Former Chicago Blackhawk scout Marc Bergevin is moving back to his hometown after he agreed to become Montreal Canadiens’ new General Mnanger.

The 46-year-old who grew up watching the Montreal Canadiens parade the Stanley Cup down Ste-Catherine Street almost annually is now responsible for reshaping the struggling team in a city that will watch and pick apart his every move.

The new Canadiens general manager brings to the job 20 years of experience as a steady, stay-at-home defenceman for eight NHL clubs and more than seven years of scouting and management with the Chicago Blackhawks.

But his first job as an NHL GM comes with many challenges as he takes over a club that finished last in the NHL Eastern Conference this season.

“I took this job first of all because I know I’m ready,” Bergevin said after he was introduced as executive vice-president and GM by team owner/president Geoff Molson on Wednesday.

“If I wasn’t ready for this challenge I wouldn’t be here today.”

He said that despite the team’s dismal finish in 2011-12, it will not need a complete rebuild but will require some changes to make it a winner.

The Canadiens were hit hard by injuries, but they have a solid top line of David Desharnais, Erik Cole and Max Pacioretty and the makings of a second line with Tomas Plekanec and Brian Gionta, as well as a young but decent defence and a talented goalie in Carey Price.

“I believe the pieces are really good,” Bergevin said. “Obviously finishing 15th in the conference, it’s a lot of work that needs to be done but you have a good base.”

While he offered only a few specific details of what will change, it was clear the easygoing Bergevin is a near opposite of Pierre Gauthier, the guarded, uncommunicative GM he has replaced.

“We were looking for a candidate with very strong leadership capability, great communication skills at all levels and someone with a clear determination and commitment to winning,” said Molson.

Gauthier was fired on March 29, near the end of a 31-35-16 season that saw the Canadiens finish miss the playoffs for the first time since 2007.

While he admitted he was a little nervous at a packed news conference that was being aired live in English and French on several television and radio stations, Bergevin kept his cool and even slipped a few jokes into his answers to reporters’ questions.

“I’m emotional because it’s the Montreal Canadiens,” he said. “I grew up here watching the Canadiens.

“I’m proud of it and I’m going to enjoy it.”