Friday, January 23, 2009

"Montreal: This City is Hockey"

Really compelling story from titled "Montreal: This City is Hockey". By Sports Illustrated writer (and current Montreal resident) Michael Farber, the piece examines the site of this year's NHL all-star game on this, the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens franchise. Especially interesting is the look at the close personal connections to the NHL shared by the residents of the city.

Stories (and associated lore) such as this are why I love cities that care so passionately (and have the history to match) about the game.

Accompanying the Farber piece is this photo gallery of the 15 Canadiens whose numbers have been retired. Some of the gallery highlights are below...

With his #1 retired, Candadiens goalie Jaques Plante has had impact on the game far beyond his playing achievements. In 1959 he became the first goalie to wear a mask in an NHL game.

#9, Maurice Richard is perhaps the most famous member of "Les Habitants" and previously written about here on this blog as the subject of the film "Maurice Richard" (alternately known as "The Rocket").

Additionally, Richard (and a season-ending suspension to him handed down by the NHL) was the cause of the famous "Richard Riot on St Catherine Street" immortalized in the movie.

#10, Guy Lafleur. As his wikipedia page notes, he was known among English-speaking fans by his nickname "The Flower". So cool...

#33, Patrick Roy. Even given some highly questionable parenting skills (details in the last two paragraphs of the "post retirement" section on wikipedia)... 10 straight overtime wins en route to a Cup victory in the 1992-1993 season. Amazing.

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