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This article was published 25/8/2011 (3925 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
It's a story of perseverance and will, of dedication and a pure love for the game.
But it's also a tale with a bit of an ironic twist.
Jimmy Roy is the Winnipeg Jets new director of player development, a post in which he'll be asked to play coach and psychologist, confidante and mentor for all the franchise's prospects trying to make it to the show.
And, for the record, the 35-year-old pride of Sioux Lookout, Ont., never managed to play even one shift in the National Hockey League through a long and respected career that saw him suit up for the Canadian national team, the Manitoba Moose for nine seasons and the last five years with the Iserlohn Roosters of the Deutsche Eishockey League in Germany.
Of course, that might just make him the perfect fit for the gig.
"Every player is going to be different," said Roy Thursday at a media conference. "There's going to be players that are more mellow, more skilled players, there's going to be players that have the fire... to help deal with all those personalities and try and get the most out of each and every one of them every time they step on the ice is going to be a real goal and a real challenge.
"As I kid I grew up five hours from here in Sioux Lookout watching the Winnipeg Jets and all the players. To be able to have this opportunity to work with the Jets is a dream come true."
Asked if every future Jet prospect with have that competitive drive -- a Roy trademark that made him a fan favourite here and despised everywhere else -- he grinned, then added:
"Hopefully they have more skill than I had."
Roy wrestled with the idea of retirement and had the 'Am I doing the right thing?' pangs when he returned to Germany recently and saw his old squad gearing up for the start of the season. But this opportunity with the Jets -- to return home, in effect -- was just too good to pass on at this stage in his career.
And so in managing the retirement decision Roy, an admitted hockey lifer, now looks at his new job as simply the next transition chapter in his life.
Truth be told, however, he hadn't really thought about it all until assistant GM Craig Heisinger approached him about it this summer before flying to Chicago to meet Kevin Cheveldayoff.
The other irony here? Roy used to hate the Chicago Wolves, Cheveldayoff's old club. The feeling, not surprisingly, was mutual.
"I admired his feistiness and certainly (he) was someone that each and every time the Wolves would play the Moose we had to be cognizant of," Cheveldayoff said. "He played the game as hard as he could possibly play it. Sometime you read some people the wrong way on the opposing team, but... We laughed about a couple stories, one in particular. A certain Wolves' player came into the locker room one day and said, 'Who told Jimmy Roy that I was overweight?!'
"The passion and the excitement that was in Jimmy's voice when we interviewed and talked about the position is the same passion we saw each and every night from him on the ice.
"We kept coming back to the fact it was very important to have a person that really embodied how we wanted to become; someone that worked extremely hard, someone that had to fight and claw their way up to the top of the professional ranks. That was the type of person Jimmy was when he played and we feel very confident and happy that he chose to join us."
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