By Doug Reese
The Morning News
November 11, 2003
FLORENCE, S.C. – Five years ago, Victor Gervais left North American hockey, primarily for his wife and daughter.
He bolted across the Atlantic, like many aging minor league players, to earn a better living from the wider rinks and thicker wallets of the European leagues.
“The money’s a lot better over there. I got to see a new world and it was very good for my family,” he said of the experience. “It was a good family life, that was the main thing. My last year I think we had 28 kids (of players) on the team. Everybody’s married and has two or three kids.”
But after a half-decade abroad, the pool of options had dried up in the top-level German DEL. And Gervais wanted 6-year-old Dominique to start first grade in an English-speaking school.
He made some calls to old friends, including Norfolk general manager Al MacIsaac, about work back in the States. And MacIsaac just happened to have an opening for a veteran leader on his team’s new affiliate, the Florence Pride.
So Gervais packed up his life, left Frankfurt and prepared for a return to the ECHL, where he had last hoisted the Kelly Cup with the Hampton Roads Admirals in the spring of 1998.
Another move of several thousand miles across the ocean for his family.
First-year Pride coach Perry Florio worked with MacIsaac to bring Gervais’ wisdom to the youthful roster he was assembling.