International Ice Hockey Federation

France forges ahead

France forges ahead

Fans remember last year’s upset vs. Russia

Published 09.05.2014 10:20 GMT+3 | Author John Sanful
France forges ahead
Experienced and talented, Antoine Roussel is expected to help France a lot. Photo: Richard Wolowicz / HHOF-IIHF Images
Although France finished 13th at the 2013 World Championship, they did manage the biggest win in national team history when they defeated Russia 2-1.

Thanks to hard work, determination and desire, France has remained among the group of sixteen in the elite level of this competition. Head coach Dave Henderson and his plucky group comes to Minsk with the intention of persevering and avoiding relegation, and maybe cause another surprise.


Cristobal Huet and Florian Hardy have been the recently active goaltenders for France in international competition. Last year Huet saw the bulk of the action with a win and a 3.66 goals against average in five games. Hardy was more impressive last year. He made 28 saves as he backstopped his team to the upset victory over Russia. In the two games he saw action, Hardy had a 1.66 goals against average and a 93.75 save percentage.


Nicolas Besch was a standout performer last year. In seven games he registered a +3, one of only five plus players on the team. Baptiste Amar returns to the national team after a one-year absence. He’s done well for his side in the past and his contributions would certainly help a defensive squad that needs it.

France surrendered 222 shots on goal in seven games in the 2013 tournament, giving opponents an average of 31 shorts per game. Obvious improvements are needed for an effective run through the Preliminary Round.


All of France’s leading scorers from 2013 return. Damien Fleury and Julien Desrosiers scored three goals apiece and led France in that category. They also tied for the team lead in scoring with four points along with Pierre-Edouard Bellemare.

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Former University of Massachusetts-Lowell standout Yorick Treille is also a longtime national team member. He was a standout performer for France at the 2008 World Championship in Halifax and Quebec City. France finished a respectable seventh with an 18.18% power play percentage. But they drew the second least penalties, meaning there were limited opportunities for them to take advantage. Desrosiers scored two of their four power play goals. Dallas Stars forward Antoine Roussel, fresh from the NHL playoffs, will help.


Dave Henderson has long been a fixture in France. First as a player with Amiens and then as a coach, Henderson has been a part of the French hockey community since 1975. It took Henderson four years after assuming his position with the national team in 2004 to get his team into the top group of the World Championship. Henderson has done an impressive job keeping France in the top division of the World Championship for six years. No small feat given the competitive nature of this tournament.

Projected Results

France has a long way to go to become a more competitive team at the elite level of the World Championship. Still, they are making important strides, with the development of NHL participants like Antoine Roussel and upset victories such as the one earned against Russia in 2013. Pivotal to their efforts in avoiding relegation would be their May 11th match-up against lower-rated neighbour Italy.


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