I was going to write this story last night, before the game, but decided not to. I couldn’t imagine this team losing after the emotion of the evening which saw almost every living Montreal Canadien’s legend on the ice including many that I’d worked with in the past.
As a life long Habs fan it was an amazing tribute. I had the privilege of working in Hockey a million years ago in the early 90’s. I’d somehow ended up running Sports Card shows which were very hot back then and had the idea that it’d be a good idea to have NHL players sign autographs.
I ended up phoning the local radio station where my favorite player as a kid growing up in Chomedy was now announcing. I spoke with the late and legendary himself, Ted Blackman who didn’t just toss my query into the trash, but passed it on.
The phone rang later and it was Steve Shutt. It was the beginning of an amazing period of life for me that led to working for a Sports Card Company, representing athletes at other events, touring and working with The Greatest Legends on Ice (right here in Cornwall in 94) and eventually working for the Habs before I left the sports industry to go into film making.
I miss a lot of those days. I miss those bars while travelling; Frank Mahovilich screaming at me for mentioning Alan Eagleson one night in Northern Ontario; visiting Lorne “Gump” Worsley at his little house as he shared about his love of baking before he went to the great Rink in the sky.
It was super seeing Denis Brodeur there. I bought all of the photos I used at events from Denis. He had this kid, Marty, turned out to be a pretty good goalie. When I was thinking of entering journalism a million years ago Denis, Marty, and his brother Claude took me out to Le Biftheque and after several beverages and a lovely steak we had a very funny time with my recorder discovering how truly bad a journalist I could ever be.
It was a lot of fun, and there are a lot more stories that I can’t or wouldn’t tell than I would. 🙂
We had a gig in Kingston once and I was travelling with two hall of famers, one of which wanted a limo. We had stopped at Denny’s to get some breakfast, and it’d been a long night for me. We were just drinking coffee and being boys when the waitress ran up with a sharpie and a menu.
I was used to this as the boys always had this happen when we traveled, but this time she’d plunked them down in front of me. I blinked through my dark sunglassed and weary eyes from the night before thinking that the boys had set her up, but then she said “I’ve seen all of your movies Mr. Candy…”
I bet she still has that signed menu….
So watching last night brought back a lot of memories; almost all fine ones. Did anyone see King Patrick Roy’s hand shaking as he took the microphone? People focus so much on the big stars but it was amazing to see smiling Lyle “Flyboy” Odelein skating. I can’t think of anyone who wore the Habs Jersey with as much joy.
Lyle was a rough tough Saskatchewan farm boy playing in Sherbrooke when he heard that the GM at the time, Serge Savard was coming down to look at a prospect. He decided to show the boss what he did best, and that led to a decade plus career in the NHL. I remember having him up on a stand with Matty Schneider and he was just ripping up boxes of cards looking for his rookie card.
I look at this year’s version of the Habs and I see a glimmer of hope. I’m really glad that they spanked the Bruins last night. I think many of them were more afraid of Bob Gainey the morning after if they’d lost than Zdeno Chara.
They still were outshot, but Mike Cammallieri showed why he’s my new favorite Hab notching the Hat Trick, and probably could play on any team in Montreal History without embarrassing himself.
I think he’s had a good effect on Tomas Plekanec as well.
Hockey seasons can be magical. Almost anything can happen; especially in Montreal. Like it was said last night. It was the first night in the next 100 years. May they all drink from Lord Stanley’s Cup this Spring!
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