On Monday, Philadelphia Flyers teammates Max Talbot and Bruno Gervais conceded that all good things must come to an end.
In this case, they were talking about La Tournee des Joueurs.
“We want to maintain the quality of the product on the ice and the events around it so that it would be a great experience for the fans,” Talbot told the Montreal Gazette’s Pat Hickey of his barnstorming circuit, which played in nine different Quebec cities. “We have a small group of volunteers who followed us around who have real jobs, and it was getting hard for them and it was getting hard to maintain the number of players we needed so that we have a good game.”
“We didn’t want to make a promise to go somewhere and not have enough players to have a good show. We didn’t want to have a soft game.”
And with that, the league was done.
Gervais said he was “extremely proud” of what he and Talbot accomplished with La Tournee. The games featured a number of high-profile players — Jason Pominville, Simon Gagne, Brian Gionta, Andrei Markov, Alex Burrows, Corey Crawford — and raised more than $400,000 for a variety of charities.
Gervais and Talbot are currently skating in Montreal with other Tournee participants as CBA talks continue. Both said they’re encouraged by the latest developments, which includes Tuesday’s NHL-NHLPA meeting in New York.
“There’s a deal to be done, but it has to be fair for both sides,” Gervais said. “We don’t want to sign a deal and then find ourselves in the same situation down the line — it doesn’t make sense.
“[But] at least we’re starting to talk the same language.”