Kevin Owens and Bruce Boudreau | The most unlikely of friendships

It is rare to see a hockey coach fall into great displays of joy.

Posted at 6:00 a.m.

Guillaume Lefrancois

Guillaume Lefrancois
The Press

And then there’s Bruce Boudreau, who met Quebec wrestler Kevin Owens on Day 2 of the NHL Draft.

“Oh my God, Kevin Owens! Are you serious ? It’s fabulous… I’m all red! »

“I knew he was injured and we were in Montreal, but I hadn’t made 2 + 2 and thought he was going to be there. I was really surprised! Boudreau tells us on the phone.

Boudreau’s admiration for Owens was already known. Asked about his favorite wrestlers, in February, the head coach of the Vancouver Canucks and appearing in Slap shot named Owens second overall. But the two men had never met.

This is where the matchmaker of this viral moment, Jackie Redmond, presenter for the NHL Network in the draft, came in. Redmond also hosts for some WWE shows. She is therefore literally at the crossroads of the worlds of the two men.

“Kevin texted me saying he would throw paper airplanes at my set,” says Nova Scotian Redmond. And he asked me, “Will Bruce be there?” I’m going to land at the Canucks table!” So I replied: “Don’t go to their table, come on our set! »

What Owens did. “I don’t know much about hockey, but I know Bruce, I’ve always found him funny, he’s my style of guy, he’s sacred and I’m pretty much the same! “says Owens, met at the Bell Center a few hours after the coup.

To see his reaction, it was really the fun.

Kevin Owens

The discussion on the air lasted four minutes, but continued for a quarter of an hour off the air. “Kevin was so authentic,” says Boudreau. He was like an old school friend. I could have talked to him all day. I had so many questions for him, and he could have had his hockey questions for me. But I had to stop for me to go back to the Canucks table, otherwise they would have fired me! »

Redmond witnessed the scene. “Bruce would ask him about everything. “How is it, throwing yourself into the ropes, falling on a ladder?” The current flows. Bruce told her, “If you need anything in Vancouver, don’t hesitate.” Kevin told her the same thing. It was a real “bromance”. And 45 minutes later, Bruce texted me, “Thank you so much, this is the coolest thing I’ve experienced in a long time.” »

A wrestling fan

Kevin Owens has never been hockey’s biggest fan, but his career has brought him closer to it.

In Montreal, we see it on the giant screen (in a pre-recorded capsule) to encourage fans to shout. From 2022-2023, he will even have an annual subscription, but it is above all his father, the good Terry, who will benefit from it. Owens’ primary residence is in Orlando, an hour from Tampa, and occasionally attends Lightning games.


PHOTO MARTIN CHAMBERLAND, ARCHIVES LA PRESSE

Kevin Owens

On the other hand, Boudreau has always loved wrestling. He tells us about Bret Hart, of Stampede Wrestling, a Calgary organization where Hart’s career began at the turn of the 1980s.

“Bret Hart, all Canadians, the Rougeau brothers,” he lists. Boudreau came back a few years ago, fascinated by an entertaining storyline of friendship between Owens and another Canadian, Chris Jericho.

“I loved every story he was involved in,” notes Boudreau. His fight against Steve Austin was the highlight of last WrestleMania. His talent stood out, he made us believe he was going to win! »

What Boudreau likes about Owens? His ease at the microphone, to begin with.

He takes a lot of beatings, and he’s believable. He’s tough, he’s a real Canadian. We are not the biggest, the strongest, but we fight until the end.

Bruce Boudreau

“You see it’s a real fannot someone who says he watches the fight for the fun, believes Owens. The repechage, I do not know that more than necessary. He explained to me how it worked. Guys who get drafted achieve their dream, like me when WWE called me. It’s a different world, but there are parallels between the two. »

This is not the end of this story. On the air, Boudreau volunteered to be in Owens’ corner after all. “I want to be your Lou Albano!” “, launched Boudreau, in reference to the man famous for the rubber bands in his beard in the 1980s.

“When I was little, we organized wrestling matches at school. I know I’m too old to fight, but managers can stay longer! »

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