I have never cheered for the Montreal Canadiens. Ever. I know there is a lot of history there, and I’ve heard about the ghosts of the old Forum, and the tradition, etc. etc. But growing up in Central Ontario as a Leafs fan, and later, when the Senators arrived, a Senators fan, the Habs have always been the enemy. Truthfully, it was not the Habs that was the enemy; it was the Habs FANS that were the enemy. As one Hockey Mom in Canada put it, in Montreal, “hockey is a religion”. Well, I guess that is probably true, but I still have a hard time with Montreal fans who are so tough on their players, especially their goalies. I vividly remember Patrick Roy’s last game as a Hab, and like many I’ve always felt that Montreal fans loved their players as long as they were doing well, if not, well, they are actually pretty savage. It has always made it hard for me to cheer for their team. Not to mention that against Pittsburgh, the crowd was booing Crosby. Hey CANADIENS….what is up with THAT?
But still, despite all of that, and despite fighting it for the first two rounds of the playoffs, everything is changing for me. I am reluctant to admit that I am actually rooting for the Habs. Before you ask me, “how can you”, I have to ask, “How can you not?”
I’m cheering for the players, not the fans, although they sure do look like they are having a grand old time when they are winning! But what a story it has been for the Canadiens….barely making it to the playoffs with an 8th place finish in the Eastern Conference. Then, taking out the much favoured Washington Capitals and shutting down Ovechkin. Add a hot goalie (Halak) that you can’t help but love, through in the spirited and classy Mike Cammalleri, and finally, bring in one of my favourite players (that I watched on the OHL), P.K. Subban. Oh ya…and, it’s a chance to bring the cup back to Canada. For me, with all these great personal stories, it’s a recipe for conversion, and if you read the blogs, listen to the radio, or watch the commentators, you’ll see that there are lots of reluctant Hab fans jumping on the bandwagon.
I’m not the only one really struggling with my change of heart. On our local radio station last week (MIX 97) the morning host, who is a Leaf fan called his priest to ask if cheering for the Habs was a cardinal sin. I could really relate to his dilemma.
I should also add that there has been one other factor swaying me towards the forbidden. It has been the spirited conversation on the Hockey Mom in Canada facebook page. So many Hockey Moms in Canada are rooting for the Habs in a non-confrontational way, that I feel justified in converting. You seem like a reasonable bunch, not at all like the hooligans who rioted in the streets of Montreal after knocking Pittsburgh out of the playoffs (I hope?)
So, after the last poor showing…(a 6-0 loss, maybe the hockey gods getting back at you for booing Crosby?), I’m hoping that the Habs can once again pull it out of their butts. I think Canada could use the Stanley cup back on home turf.
So, in the words of so many Hockey Moms in Canada, “Let’s go Habs! WAHOOOOOO!!!”
Have you been converted? Or do you cheer for anyone BUT the Habs. Leave a comment on facebook, or email firstname.lastname@example.org