It is interesting how things work out. On the very evening that the Montreal Canadiens celebrate their 100th birthday, I am responding to an invitation to explain what it’s like to be a a fan of the oldest and most storied franchise in all of hockey.
It’s a daunting task. How do I encapsulate one hundred years of history?
Supporters of other teams may try to entice with statistics. If that’s of interest, the Canadiens are without an equal. You may be told elsewhere about division or conference championships. We only count one thing in Montreal — Stanley Cups.
The 24 banners in the rafters of the Bell Centre all commemorate Stanley Cup championships, the most difficult trophy to attain in all of sports. The Canadiens’ achievement stands alone and will be unchallenged in the foreseeable future. The rival Toronto Maple Leafs have the second most Cups with 13, just over half of the Canadiens’ number.
The Canadiens are simply one of the most successful teams in the world of sports.
The NHL Record Book is filled with numerous individual and team achievements of those wearing the bleu, blanc et rouge. The 1976-’77 Montreal Canadiens are considered, by many, the best team ever to play in the NHL. They compiled a record of 60 wins, a remarkable 8 losses, and 12 ties for 132 points.
54 Canadiens are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame, including 44 in the player category. Former Canadiens are sprinkled throughout the NHL in coaching or management positions.
While numbers can indicate a measure of success and can be quoted with pride, they cannot express the sheer emotion that envelops all passionate Habs’ fans.
Who fills the 21,273 seats in the Bell Centre for every home game?
Who lines up on a cold January morning to pack the building for an All-Star practise?
Who boards buses and travels hours to wade into the unfriendly confines of the Wachovia Centre or the TD Garden?
The answer is obvious: fans of the Montreal Canadiens.
As they say in Montreal, the Canadiens are a religion. This city is fondly referred to as “the cradle of organized sport.” All hockey fans who make a visit to the Bell Centre, regardless of the team they support, report that it is an experience like no other in the league.
All of the above are compelling reasons to select the Habs as your team, but let me add one more.
As a fan of the Montreal Canadiens, you are welcomed into a community that is unmatched by any team. Devoted Habs’ fans can be found in any NHL city, and they show up by the thousands to support their team when on the road. Yes, even in Toronto.
But even more unique, Canadiens’ fans are located throughout the world. This vast and diverse network of people includes both new and life-long fans who are passionate devotees of the game of hockey, and the Canadiens. They will provide the ideal environment to help germinate the interest in the Habs as your newly adopted team.
Join us. We are Canadiens!
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