View Full Version : Chad Mercier Article

03-23-2006, 09:39 AM
from reginapats.com
Mercier has found comfort with his new WHL team

Greg Harder, The Leader-Post
Published: Thursday, March 23, 2006

After nearly two years of extensive psychological conditioning, Saskatoon Blades associate coach Chad Mercier has finally kicked the habit.

He's no longer a Pats-aholic.

"This second year I have been a whole lot more comfortable in Saskatoon," offered Mercier, who spent 12 years with the Regina Pats as a player and coach before he was hired away by Blades head coach/GM Lorne Molleken. "It helped having Lorne here. The Brodsky family (which owns the team) is unbelievable the way they treat their people. All that has helped. But it was a tough transition for me because I spent so many years in Regina and I'll never forget those years."

This is actually Mercier's third season as Molleken's right-hand man. They also worked together in Regina during the 2000-01 Memorial Cup campaign, but the duo has slowly grown accustomed to referring to the Pats as the enemy.

"My loyalties lie with the Saskatoon Blades," confirmed Mercier, a former standout goaltender with the Pats. "I was very fortunate to spend the time I did in Regina. I'll always have fond memories and I'll always have very, very good friends back there.

"I've been very fortunate to be involved in two real, real good organizations."

Mercier is so well-liked in Regina that, even upon his departure, Pats GM Brent Parker stated that someone could hold him over burning-hot coals and he couldn't say anything bad about his former assistant coach.

The feeling is mutual.

Mercier, who still refers to Regina as home, is the first to admit the Pats' colours will always run through his veins. With that said, the 29-year-old insists he can't afford any feelings of nostalgia heading into a much-anticipated playoff meeting between his current team and the old one.

"For me, it's always special to be involved in a playoff series," he said. "It's never about me or about heading back to Regina. I have a job I need to do as a coach to help our organization move on to the next round. That's really where my focus is and that's where I need it to be, because all the other stuff doesn't change the task at hand."

Mercier has already had his fill of distractions this season.

He was relegated to a part-time employee in the first half of the season due to some health issues which he believes have now been sorted out. Although he was never given a firm diagnosis, Mercier began suffering from abdominal pain early in the season which may have been related to a hip injury which ended his playing career.

He underwent a battery of tests and doctors experimented with different kinds of medication to combat the problem. However, Mercier believes the treatment made him even sicker, resulting in flu-like symptoms which left him virtually bed-ridden for about three weeks.

Although he's still unsure of the cause, Mercier is back at work full time and feeling healthy.

"Maybe I'm just old," he said with a laugh.

At the very least, Mercier admits to some new-found maturity. He and fiancee Kim Zehr are the proud parents to a nine-month old baby, Haileigh. The couple is preparing to get married this summer in Regina.

"It's amazing how much it changes you," Mercier said of fatherhood. "I wish I could explain it.

"It really has been a wild year," he added, "but the support that we've had as a family from the organization here in Saskatoon has been unbelievable. Right now I don't have to worry about all that other stuff. The focus has really turned to what we need to do to get ourselves ready for Regina."