“I never said I was Mario Lemieux”: Alexandre Daigle opens up about his controversial career in a documentary

He was the chosen oneThe chosen one”, as some newspapers headlined at the time. But 30 years after being selected first in the National League draft, Alexandre Daigle says it bluntly in Diary: “He was good, but I can’t say he was as good as Guy Lafleur or Mario Lemieux. Except those were the media’s expectations and I had no control over that.”

Starting Friday, Daigle will star in a documentary on Amazon Prime that focuses on his controversial career, during which, in fact, he never managed to live up to the immense expectations placed on him even before the Ottawa senators called him out. The presidency. podium with great fanfare.

See excerpts here:

Dressing up as a nurse for 12 million dollars

Noble Chosen: Alexandre Daiglethe show begins with Sportsnet archive footage from the mid-2000s, in which the host mocks the Quebec forward, who was then in his second stint in the NHL.

“Alexandre Daigle became a hero in the NHL, but mainly because of the money he earned and the girls he dated. Although I would also dress as a nurse for 12 million dollars and a little Pamela Anderson. The Wild player has had a strange career and many wonder why the former first overall pick is still playing.

Photo credit: Screenshot taken from Amazon Prime

To which Daigle, watching the images of the documentary filming, responds: “That’s a good question.”

But the original Laval resident had it in him, he said in an interview Monday. Contrary to what some of his detractors may have said during his career, he really liked hockey.

Enough, in particular, to end his career in Switzerland, where he retired 17 years after his first NHL skates.

“Enough, est*, with the “I don’t like hockey,” Daigle says to those who doubted his passion. I still play hockey, I listen to it at home and it doesn’t stop.

Photo credit: Stock Photo.

I missed “the edge”

What he was missing, he explains both in the documentary and in DiaryIt was more like “the edge”or that kind of desire to improve oneself and push one’s own talent even further that separates good players from superstars.

The one that undoubtedly differentiates Alexandre Daigle from Mario Lemieux or Guy Lafleur.

Inside Chosen oneDaigle, now 48 and an executive producer of television shows, details the moment he lost control.

He was 15 years old, played in the midget category and was used to scoring 50 goals per season. “Fifty was my goal, all the time. Then one day, poof, I lost that motivation.”

Alexandre Daigle

Photo credit: Screenshot taken from Amazon Prime

Daigle also believes, 30 years later, that things could have been very different for him if he had access to the same tools as today’s players. Sports psychologists, a help program… It’s fortunate that NHL hockey players now have access to all this help.

But at that time, “depression,” as his father Jean-Yves, who also participates in the documentary, says, “was a taboo.”

Alexandre Daigle

Photo credit: Stock Photo.

«It is what it is»

The context of his selection also did not help him reach his full potential, he believes. The Senators had 11 rookies on their roster, including him, the bilingual star who always spoke to the media.

Their general manager and head coach were also in their first year.

“It is certain that at that moment, I said to myself, is it going to end up getting better? But looking back, there was no chance of it happening again,” Daigle said.

Alexandre Daigle

Photo credit: Stock Photo.

Don’t think Daigle is looking bitterly in the rearview mirror, though. The one who now coaches his son in hockey still exudes on the phone that charisma and spontaneity that contributed, in addition to his immense potential, to making him the first face of the Senators in 1993.

«It is what it is» (“This is how things are and I can’t change anything”) is the expression with which he usually punctuates his sentences when asked about his possible regrets.

“After all, I had a really good life,” he emphasizes from Montreal, where he has lived since the end of his career. And I still have a tremendously beautiful one.”

Alexandre Daigle

Photo credit: Stock Photo.

It’s still strange to see Daigle star in a documentary, he who has been in the spotlight rather than in front since the end of his much-publicized career.

But the former first choice explains that he did not hesitate when Amazon contacted him to be part of this project. In particular for his children, “whom he had at the end of his career or after.”

Difficult interviews and dressing up as a nurse.

However, if we look at it from the outside, the exercise must not have been just fun. Time and time again we see Daigle watching footage from his career, and these aren’t just highlights of the 327 points in 616 games he ultimately collected in the NHL.

No, he also watches apparently difficult television interviews, given in the 1990s, during which he is asked about his dedication to hockey.

Alexandre Daigle

Photo credit: Screenshot taken from Amazon Prime

Period criticism from his former coaches or general managers, who said he should not spend his summers in Los Angeles.

These controversial quotes, like when he said (and explains that it was quoted out of context) that everyone remembers the first one, but not the second.

And there are those famous photos of him dressed as a nurse for an advertising campaign for The Score, which caused so much talk 30 years ago, and which earned him virulent criticism in the ultra-conservative environment of the NHL.

“Hey, I looked good!” she responds, laughing when she sees them in the documentary. Back then she had abs!

Alexandre Daigle

Photo credit: Screenshot taken from Ebay.

“It’s true that watching difficult things wasn’t always fun, but at the same time the documentary wasn’t made in a weekend,” explains Daigle, although he emphasizes that the first five minutes were more painful.

“It seems like I don’t really recognize myself: I was 18, I didn’t have the same reflexes, I didn’t have experience. The years have allowed me to put things in perspective. I laugh at the nurse’s story now, but at the time I didn’t think it was okay for her to be abused.

Here again, Daigle believes his story could serve as an example to better prepare young hockey stars.

“They are doing it now. I think everyone understands that you are investing in these young people for the next 10 or 15 years. “We must protect him and put the opportunities in his favor.”

“If I had had help…”

The need for support and supervision, but also this life. glamor of the young premiere, of these summers with the elite of Los Angeles, of these rumors of a romance with Pamela Anderson (about which he does not speak).

When we look back on it, beyond the context of the poor senators, Alexandre Daigle was ultimately too ahead of his time, in this NHL where hats and triple under five of PK Subban were still criticized a few years ago?

“Oh yeah, we see it now (this type of visibility), when it’s positive, it’s good for the league, it’s good for the athlete. So I would say yes, 1000%.”

Alexandre Daigle

Photo credit: Photo Pierre-Paul Poulin

Despite everything, Daigle says it bluntly: today he is “very happy.”

“But if I had had help, would it have changed the direction of my career? he repeat. Sure.”

Alexandre Daigle: The Chosen One will stream on Amazon Prime starting Friday, January 26.

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