Opportunity Knocks, Desbiens Answers

By Paul Friesen
The Winnipeg Sun

Seven months ago, he was a 23-year-old without a job, relegated to hockey’s unemployment line, also known as the walk-on tryout.

At that point, another season with the Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL looked pretty good.

But a funny thing happened to Guillaume Desbiens on his way to becoming a career Coast Leaguer.

He became the Manitoba Moose surprise of the year.

“I came here thinking maybe I could make the team,” Desbiens was saying yesterday. “It’s been a good run for me this year.”

You could say that.

Second on the team in playoff scoring, fourth during the season — not bad for someone who’d been a spare part in Chicago’s run to the AHL title last year.

The NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, who’d drafted Desbiens in 2003, obviously gave up on him.

Someone in the Moose organization thought he might be worth a look, though.

Sure enough, he caught Scott Arniel’s eye in the pre-season. But the head coach’s plans for Desbiens were modest.

“We were looking for somebody who could fill that role of the fourth-line, hard-nosed right winger that could bang, protect his teammates and scrap,” Arniel said.

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