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Montreal Canadiens

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jedi17
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Montreal Canadiens

Post by jedi17 on Fri 19 May 2017, 8:04 pm


Favorite Canadiens memories in honour of Montreal's 375th birthday
May 17, 2017, 2:01 PM ET [314 Comments]
Jennifer B Cutler
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSS • Archive • CONTACT
May 17th, 2017 is the 375th anniversary of the founding of the great city of Montreal. It could easily be argued that Montreal is best known for hockey and the Canadiens. Its logo is known and recognized all over the world. The team has over 1.41 million Twitter followers. Of course Montreal is also known for smoked meat, bagels and its countless wonderful festivals just to name a few. Besides seeing the Stanley Cup hoisted at the historic Montreal Forum 12 times for the Canadiens (and another two for the long defunct Montreal Maroon’s), the city has seen its fair share of incredible sports moments from Nadia Comaneci's perfect 10 at the 1976 Olympics to Gilles Villeneuve’s 1977 win at the Canadian Grand Prix in its first year on Ile Notre Dame to the rise and fall of the Montreal Expos as well as various Montreal Alouettes championships not to mention the city’s newer love affair with the Montreal Impact.

In honour of Montreal’s birthday and seeing how this is a hockey blog, I present my top ten favorite hockey and Canadiens memories from over the years...

1) I received my first Canadiens bleu-blanc-rouge jersey in 1986 from my older brother and father after they returned home from a game at the Forum. At five years old I knew a little about hockey but not much. That jersey changed everything. I knew it was important. I knew that it was special. I suddenly knew that I was a hockey fan and devoted myself to learning all that I could about the game. It certainly helped that the Canadiens would go on to win the Stanley Cup that year.

2) My favorite thing to do every morning as a child was to grab the sports section of the Montreal Gazette and catch up on all of the Canadiens news by reading the incomparable Red Fisher’s articles as well as those by Michael Farber. Hockey is what led me to my love of reading. Whoever said sports were not educational?

3) I attended my first playoff game in 1992 during the first round of the playoffs when the Canadiens eventually defeated the Hartford Whalers in the first round. I also saw my first regular season game earlier that year but nothing compared to that playoff atmosphere. The intensity was palpable. I got to see the great Patrick Roy get a shutout in game one of the series. This entirely made up for having to watch Andre Racicot backstop the Canadiens to a 4-3 loss against the Philadelphia Flyers for my first regular season game. There is simply nothing like springtime playoff hockey in Montreal.

4) I vaguely remember the Canadiens winning the Stanley Cup in 1986 and I was positive that they would win again in 1989 against the Calgary Flames. It was constantly being touted that the Canadiens had never lost a Stanley Cup on home ice. I received an early lesson that there is a first for everything. It was with a big relief that the Canadiens won their 24th Stanley Cup in 1993 and I can still recall just about every detail of that memorable run.

5) That Stanley Cup win led me to attending my one and only parade in person. My Mother, who is the greatest, took me out of school that today so that we could go see the parade together. It was a similar feeling to seeing a game live in that you get the chills of knowing that everyone is there because of their love of the game and Canadiens. The team has an ability to bring together people of all ages, gender, ethnicity and so on. No matter anyone’s personal beliefs, everyone was there for the same purpose. To celebrate the Canadiens. It was an early life lesson that you can find common ground with just about everyone if you dig a little deeper. Also, Montrealers know how to party.

6) My Father is a casual hockey fan. He may not always follow the team day to day but he understood my early passion for the game and helped to cultivate it. My favorite in game memory was one time in the mid-1990’s when we were at a game and sitting right next to where the referee, linesmen and zamboni went in and out. After the pregame skate a linesman kindly threw me a puck. That is not the favorite memory. Don Koharksi was the referee that night and let me just say he had a particularly rough night. After the game as he headed towards the dressing room, my Dad stood up and booed him like I have never heard anyone boo before. I had never been so proud and simultaneously embarrassed at the same time. Koharski looked up and glared at my Dad. He got the message loud and clear.

7) One of the best parts of the Montreal Forum was that they did not have their own indoor parking lot for the players. The players had to park inside a building across the street on de Maisonneuve. That meant they had to literally walk outside and cross the street to get to their cars. Standing outside after practices was a ritual for many as the players were usually quite approachable and signed countless autographs. My second Canadiens jersey is signed by many from that 1993 Cup win. I of course would never let that jersey be washed in fear of their signatures losing their lustre, mustard stains and all.

8) When Saku Koivu returned to the lineup against the Ottawa Senators on April 9th, 2002, the city of Montreal stopped to watch him. His bout with cancer gripped the city and fans rallied around their captain. His return to the ice that night was about more than hockey. It was recognition of his victory and hard fought battle. It was inspiration for others to fight through tough times. It was a celebration of life, mixed with in with hockey and the Canadiens clinching a playoff spot.

9) The Canadiens unlikely playoff run in 2009-2010 was nearly magical. That the Canadiens came from behind against the mighty Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins was just sensational if not unbelievable. The Canadiens had not gotten past the second round since 1993, a drought that was much too long for this franchise. Those playoffs reinvigorated a city that was not sure if they were going to embrace all of the Canadiens new players and were still upset over the departure of Koivu. Canadiens fever was at a high and Jaroslav Halak the brief hero. It was also a coming out party for a young chap named P.K. Subban.

10) Watching Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer finally have their number 12’s retired by the Canadiens on November 12th, 2005 was especially moving. I adored Dickie Moore. I obviously never had the privilege of watching him play in person but every time I would hear an interview with him I would be captivated by his stories and jovial nature. His stories were a link to the past greats and you could get a real sense of what it was like to play in his day. The excitement over the Canadiens finally honouring past heroes and retiring their numbers was long overdue. That night in the crowd as his and Cournoyer’s numbers were raised to the rafters, I had tears of joy as they joined their rightful place in the Bell Centre.

Bonus:

11) Perhaps my greatest joy stemming from hockey in Montreal comes from passing on that love with my husband to our two sons. Our six year old has become obsessed with hockey and the Canadiens while this year he started to play organized hockey. He gets to play ice hockey every week with his best friends and has already learned so much about teamwork and playing just for the joy of the game. Our one year old follows his brother everywhere with a mini stick in hand. His first word was literally “hockey”. Okay, he said “hock” but he pointed to the game on tv. It still counts. In true Canadian fashion, we have block street hockey games where our neighbors and friends show up, sticks pile up and teams are divided. This is how we celebrate Montreal. This is how we celebrate hockey.

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In other news, two Canadiens prospects were honoured today as goaltender Michael McNiven was named to the OHL’s First Team All-Stars while defenseman Mikhail Sergachev was named to the Second Team All-Stars.

    Current date/time is Fri 22 Sep 2017, 3:47 pm