Friday, July 21, 2006

Face of the Franchise, part 1

Manitoba Moose fan favorite and its face of the franchise for the past nine seasons, Jimmy Roy, decided to pack his bags and head to the German Elite League (via Ken Wiebe, Winnipeg Free Press):

During an informal media gathering to discuss his departure, Roy said it was an emotional decision but felt it was time to pursue another path.

"I know the grass is not always greener on the other side but after what I've gone through the last two years, I have to find out for myself," said Roy, who had 101 goals, 212 points and 1,434 penalty minutes in 603 career games with the Moose.

Roy's role with the Moose during the past two seasons was slightly diminished because of American Hockey League roster rules which limit the number of veterans teams can dress on any given night to five and Roy was often the sixth.

When his number was called, Roy showed he could still contribute and often garnered plenty of ice time, even in crucial situations.
As had been the case for most of his career, upon announcing his decision, Jimmy showed just how much of his heart he wears on his sleeve:

"Showing your emotion is no good for the team and you're part of the team so you have to do your part," said Roy, a product of Sioux Lookout, Ont., who now lives in Winnipeg. "I've known for a while that I don't want to sit in the press box anymore. I want to be a part of something and make a contribution on the ice still. I think I'm still capable of doing it. Maybe this is my way of dealing with it."
An AHL all-star last season, there was no shortage of good words for him. Here's Moose GM Craig Heisinger:

"He's given us a lot more than we've given him," said Heisinger. "To say that somebody is going to replace Jimmy, that's just not going to happen. Both sides have been excellent for each other's development.

"Jimmy has defended his teammates for all nine years that he's been here. And he probably scored the most important goals in franchise history in the biggest games. Now we're going to have to find somebody else to score them."
And here's Heisinger again, showing just how much Jimmy is valued by the organization:

Heisinger said it's a day he's prepared for during the past few seasons but that he's not prepared to close the book on Roy just yet.

"I'm not sure this is the end of the story," said Heisinger. "I think it's a bookmark of a chapter and we'll see what happens in the next year or two. I just find it hard to believe that when Jimmy hangs it up, that he won't be a Manitoba Moose."
Gary Lawless expresses more of the same in a nice piece in the Winnipeg Sun:

For the unsuspecting newcomer who requests No. 21 this fall at Manitoba Moose training camp, here's a quick list of what watchers will expect of the candidate inside that jersey:
Score giant overtime goals, provide selfless defensive play, display willingness to fight larger opponents on a near-nightly basis, visit hospitals, read to schoolchildren, be first out of bus to help trainers unload equipment, answer to media after games when most players have headed for refuge of trainer's room, provide Winnipeg dentists and plastic surgeons with endless work, sign autographs at grocery stores or restaurants or funeral homes or ice fishing huts, market franchise year-round and generally be the type of player every owner, coach and mother would love.

Jimmy Roy, who for the last nine years has worn No. 21 for the Manitoba Moose, is leaving to play this season in Germany for the Iserlohn Roosters. The Moose aren't just losing a player. They're having a hunk of their soul ripped away. Roy, the pride of Sioux Lookout, has long been the glory of the Moose, Winnipeg and Manitoba. They don't come down the pipe like this 170-pound redheaded slice of gristle very often. Don't think the Moose don't know it.
And if any of the Moose newcomers go for Jimmy's jersey, Gary has some advice:

So for now, No. 21 is empty and so is the stall in which Roy has sat these last nine years. Camp will open this fall like it does every year and the Moose will move on. And maybe some rookie fresh out of junior will want the number he's worn since his days as a pee wee.

Do yourself a favour kid, just walk away from the sweater.
And finally, some parting words from Jimmy Roy here (audio).

Comments/Questions: Feel free to post in the comments section or email me at gocanucksgo10 (at) hotmail (dot) com.

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posted by J.J. Guerrero, 12:52 PM


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