Heroes, Legends and 100 Years of Memories
With only minutes to spare, I briskly rushed down the wind-streaked corridor known as Dummond street, bee-lining it straight for the main entrance of the Bell Centre on the axis of Montreal Canadiens Boulevard(formerly de la Gauchetiere) and Drummond.
It was an automatic walk, something I have done hundreds of times over the last 13 years since the Canadiens moved from the incomparable Forum de Montreal into their industrialized mega-barn that is the now the Bell Centre, but it felt like a walk I had never taken before.
There was a spectacular presence of anticipation in the air as the crowds swarmed the main gate. Habs jerseys from every decade over the last 100 years could be seen popping in and out of the throngs of Montreal Canadiens fans. It was a glorious site.
The best part was the knowing look in all of my Bell Centre compatriots eyes. Everyone knew that whatever happened in the hockey game tonight, nothing would take away from the magic and history we were all about to witness.
My brother was late for the early ceremonies, stuck in work no less, so I called down my fellow Hab guru, Eric Engels from hockeybuzz.com, to come join me from the press box for a close up view of the ceremonies and a chance to enjoy it as a fan.
And enjoy it we did! Memories I won’t soon forget.
I have been fortunate enough to have seen over 500 Canadiens games over the last 20 years and have witnessed marvelous and incredible sites at the two homes of the Montreal Canadiens and, I have to say, last night’s ceremonies hit right to core of the Hab in me.
I witnessed and shared tears with Maurice Richard as the Canadiens faithful paid tribute to him and his career during the final closing ceremonies of the Forum.
I was there when we opened the doors and touched torch to the new ice of, what was then, the Molson Centre.
I stood and roared for the return of Canadiens legend Saku Koivu when he returned from defeating cancer.
I have cheered many a jersey to the rafters and I have seen Canada Cup and World Cup games, but last night was something special.
The price of admission ballooned out of control with word of $5000 tickets floating around the city all day, but the reality was that, when all was said and done, it was worth every penny.
The Montreal Canadiens may get villified for drawn out ceremonies and for sometimes focusing too much on the past, but when you’ve got 100 years of glorious history and rank among the greatest sports franchises of alltime, take your time, soak it in and bask in the glow of 24 Stanley Cups, 768 pioneering players, hundreds of staff, scouts, coaches, managers, owners and, most of all, 100 years of success.
I applaud the Canadiens for their ability to create a one of a kind memory for any and all who witnessed and got to take part in the Centennial celebration.
For those who missed out, don’t fret!
After a quick search of youtube, I was pleasantly surprised to find an excellent compilation of last night’s ceremonies.
So, without further adieu, please sit back and enjoy these very special ceremonies!
- All of the youtube videos were graciously provided to the world by BuffaloChoppers.
Oh ya, and there was a hockey game last night too!
Without going into too much detail, the current Habs did a magnificent job of paying homage to the many heroes and legends in the building last night as they man-handled the Bruins 5-1. Micheal Cammelleri’s hat-trick brought a flood of hats to the ice and a glorious ovation that simply wreaked of pure Habs enjoyment. Cammy couldn’t have helped himself as the camera focused in on him, post 3rd goal, catching the Canadiens sniper beaming with joy as he and his team-mates enjoyed their strongest game of the season. To top it all off, Carey Price turned in a 37 save performance with ease.
Kudos the Habs for their important win over the Bruins last night and to the Montreal Canadiens franchise for bringing millions of fans over the last century such great memories.
Here’s to another 100!
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