September 25, 2011

Jean Francois Jomphe

JF Jomphe was born on December 28th, 1972 in Havre Saint-Pierre, Quebec. He would move on to play his youth hockey in Rosemère and Granby before jumping to Shawinigan of the QMJHL.

"I had tons of fun in Shawinigan," Jomphe told interviewer Frederic Lavallee. "In my second season there, we made it far in the playoffs. In my third year, I was traded to Sherbrooke. They were the best team in the League, but we lost in the Finals against a Laval team with the likes of Martin Lapointe, Philippe Boucher and Manny Fernandez in their roster."

Despite his play in the QMJHL, Jomphe was never drafted by a NHL team.

"I was not really worried," he continued with Lavallee. "In 1992, the Pittsburgh Penguins offered me an invitation to go to their training camp and try to sign me to an ECHL contract, but I went back to Shawinigan. In 1993, five teams gave me a try, including the Quebec Nordiques who offered me $33,000 in the minors or $235,000 in the NHL for three full years!"

Jomphe opted to sign with the Anaheim Mighty Ducks, one of two expansion franchises. He hoped that would give him his best shot at making it to the NHL.

It did not work out quite like Jomphe had hoped. He struggled in the minor leagues for the first two seasons, and then joined the Canadian national team program for the 1994-95 season.

"The Ducks organization thought it would be better for my development to play with Team Canada during the lock-out shortened season (1994-95) and I got to learn to play a more defensive game under Pierre Page," he told Lavallee.

It was one of his favorite seasons in hockey.

"I traveled around the world. I didn’t have the chance to play for Team Canada before, and to wear this jersey was very special for me. I grew up a lot that season!"

Jomphe returned to the minor leagues as a different player. He was having an excellent season in Baltimore, scoring 55 points in 47 games. It was his ticket to the NHL, playing 31 games in Anaheim, scoring twice and adding 12 assists."

The 1996-97 season will be Jomphe’s only complete one in the NHL. He played 64 games with Anaheim, scoring 7 goals and 21 points. But an abdomen injury prevented Jomphe from completing the season and participating in the playoffs.

Despite being reunited with coach Pierre Page in 1997-98, Jomphe was demoted to the minor leagues after just nine games. A knee injury prevented any chance of returning.

In June of 1998 Jomphe was traded to Phoenix for Jim McKenzie. He would only play one game in Phoenix. He was farmed out but later would be acquired by the Montreal Canadiens.

Playing for Montreal was a dream come true, albeit a brief one. He would only play in six games for the Habs.

"The Canadiens treated me very well. Seeing the Habs dressing room at the Molson Centre ( became the Bell Center in 2002 ) was impressive. On April 7th, we were playing Boston in Montreal. My parents were celebrating their 30th year of marriage and I wore number 30. During the game, a message appeared on the scoreboard, telling the crowd about my parents anniversary."

Jomphe would extend his career for four years, playing in Germany and Switzerland.

"Playing in Switzerland was great. We had cars for our families, an apartment, a good salary. Fans are great there and the ambiance during games is a fun experience as a player. We won the championship in my first season there, but I injured my knee. After my second season with Biel, the doctors advice was to stop playing, and so I retired, this time for good, to be able to walk after my hockey career!"

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