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TheRC
Rookie



105 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  11:03:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
First off, a warning: this isn't necessarily about the team on the ice. If that's all you are interested in, this topic will probably bore you. Second, yes, I'm a leafs fan, but my intention is not to troll. These are honest questions!

Ok. So I moved to Montreal from Toronto a couple weeks ago. Now, I knew people in this city were serious about their hockey team, but I'm a bit shocked just HOW serious.

There are Habs flags hanging in just about every bar or pub I've been in, plus a hearty assortment of memoribilia in lots of them. The old forum is a site of veneration: despite no longer having anything to do with hockey, you know damn well who used to play there at all times. It's cool.

Less cool was the fact that when I realized I don't own an up-to-date Leafs jersey (never having much need to represent among my friends back home, all of whom know where my heart lies) I simply could not find one for sale. Two fair sized athletic apparal stores each had dozens and dozens of Canadiens jerseys on sale, along with a few random team Canada and maybe a half dozen other NHL teams... no Leafs. I understand there's a rivalry going, but hell, if a Leaf fan wants to give you $150, why not take it?

I honestly do respect the passion, but I've found it hard to fight through that passion and actually have reasonable, well informed discussions about hockey with people. I'm basing this off an admittedly small sample, mostly of 20 something Anglos (my French needs work) some of whom were rather drunk, but the fans here are... How do I put this gently? Downright delusional. One extreme example was a guy who argued (not all at once, but over the course of our conversation) that poor officiating and/or bad bounces have cost the Habs the cup for the past three seasons running, and that he expects Montreal to lead the East by a wide margin this year. Even discounting that sort of lunacy, at least 80% of the Montreal fans I've spoken with so far expect their team to be a legitimate contender this year. Based on discussions in this forum, with my friends from both Toronto and elsewhere, and from reading all the sports writers I follow, that seems unlikely... Yet people here believe it, wholeheartedly, and aren't afraid to shout it it... when they stop telling me, over and over again, how bad my favorite team is (a fact which I don't even really contest).

It's charming, this level of enthusiasm, but it's also really weird. I know some crazy, if not stupidly optimistic (or just stupid) Leaf fans, but for every one of those there is a pessimist and a few other reasonable hockey fans. I've never seen anything like the pure fervor for the Canadiens, except maybe in the UK where certain teams represent some very old class or religious divisions. Hell, I might even understand this if Montreal had both a French and an English team which people supported based on language or something... but as it is, I just. don't. get it.

So, Montreal fans, do this silly Toronto kid a solid: explain what it is about your team that makes you so crazy.

Also, bonus points if anybody can tell me of a bar that plays Leaf games. I know there are places to watch Habs games in Toronto, is the reverse true?

"If at first you don't succeed, you fail"

Guest4312
( )

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  12:11:40  Reply with Quote
the habs have a rich history, the most stanley cups, and tons of hall of fame players. i'm gonna do you a favour and prepare you because this thread is quickly gonna turn to what makes the leafs so special
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5810 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  13:02:36  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Only been to Montreal once, and it was during the off season, so i don't have a lot to add. Comparing it to Vancouver though, it's not unusual at all to see Canucks banners, flags, etc in most bars. It's more notable in the recent past due to the success the Canucks have had. Even without a cup win, the city has embraced this team after years of futility and restaurants and bars have jumped on the bandwagon.

As far as the fans go, i'm sure you'd find MANY here who'd blame a bounce or two and/or other things as the reason for the prolonged cup drought but not to the effect you're seeing there. I don't think you'd find many fans here claiming we were close to a cup and a serious contender back in the days we were slipping into the playoffs in the 6-8 spot. This of course is not to say that 8 seeds don't have a good shot, as we've witnessed a few come very close in the not too distant past. Perhaps these Hab fans are riding the Price train and have it set in their heads that if he pulls a ROY and plays his butt off, they really are a serious contender. Who are we to say they're wrong??? In fact, the Habs could find qualifying for the playoffs to be just as tough as winning the cup once they get there (if they even do?)!!!

Lastly, you would have no problem finding a Leaf jersey for sale here. Not every store, but many would carry them, however, don't go to a Canucks game and expect to find one. I recall the old days of the Pacific Colosseum when the souvenir stand was filled with Canucks garb AND the opposing team's goods. Now, the store in GM Place / Rogers Arena is ALL Canucks! NOTHING from other teams! Also, while you might get bugged being a Leaf fan, you'd no doubt find many Canucks fans willing to chat honestly to you about yours and their favorite team. Mix in some alcohol, and sure, the level of the roasting may rise slightly .
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Pasty7
PickupHockey Veteran



Canada
2283 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  18:18:23  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
First off RC Welcome to La Belle Province, Now to address your need for a Leaf's jersey Sport Rousseau has everything, their is one in Laval but i usually go to the one in St Hubert (on the south shore of the island)

as for a pub that play's Leaf's games, this is a tough one but on any night the habs are not playing most pubs have other games on, Yee Old Orchard pub tends to play a lot of Bruins and Leaf games when the habs are not playing

Rc talking about the fans i agree 100% and as most know i am a huge habs fan, i watch every game and love to talk and argue about the team, But you are right in Montreal i find myself most of the time coming off as a hab hater because i try and explain to the hoards of retarded habs fans that the habs are a middle of the pack team, and this player or that player is not actually as good as they seem to think! Espcially 2 seasons ago when i was trying desperatly to defend Price while everyone was trying to mount a possey to run him out of town, i don't know how many times i said the words "he's only 21" hahaha

but all in all RC it's a great place to watch a hockey game if you surrond yourself with the right people, and it is a great city for pubs and great food, might i suggest the team 990 am for radio talk they have great team of sports casters and regularly have guys like Bob Mckenzie Pierre Mguire and Tony Marrinaro in the mornings from 10am untill 1 pm has a lot of inside info and often announces trades are gonna happen days before they do,

it's a great city if you ever wanna catch a game sometime let me know !

"I led the league in "Go get 'em next time." - Bob Uecker
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nuxfan
PickupHockey All-Star



3598 Posts

Posted - 08/29/2011 :  21:08:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:

Ok. So I moved to Montreal from Toronto a couple weeks ago. Now, I knew people in this city were serious about their hockey team, but I'm a bit shocked just HOW serious.



So RC, let me get this straight - you moved from Toronto to another Canadian city, and were shocked that you found hockey fans as passionate about their local team as Toronto fans were?

Do all Toronto residents think they have a monopoly on fanatic and passionate fans?
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slozo
Moderator



Canada
4607 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  05:06:48  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I have to laugh at these Canuck fans comments, seriously . . . they are not even in the same league as Toronto or Montreal when it comes to fandom.

Nice write-up, RC - interesting observations. Not surprised at how difficult it is to get a Leafs game at the bar . . . guess you're going to have to dish out the cash for cable!

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
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freddyboy
Rookie



Canada
218 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  08:13:04  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Interesting comment in fact, i believe you also know i'm an habs fan, and well if your looking for leafs jersey, i belive you could find some at Sport expert? I saw some at some sport shop on Ste Cath street (crescent sport or something like that)

i'm sorry but i don't have a clue on where you could watch Leafs game in bar except when they play the Habs.

Regarding the comments of the delusionnal fan, some fans are delusionnal and moved by their emotion and sort of intense in believing that we will have an almost perfect season etc... I personnaly believe we do have a good team that can do the playoffs, as for the cup, we never know what can happen in the playoffs. Playoffs are a new season and those 82 games doesn't count so much anymore.

A little side note, i was in Toronto this weekend and i went to a sporting good shop (don't remember the name) but i found that the only NHL team jersey the had were Leafs jersey, but they had a lot of CFL teams jersey (not only Argos), NFL jersey's, MLS's jersey (not only Toronto FC) and lots of NBA's Jersey (not only Raptors).... so i don't know if it was only this shop or if it's also generalized and focused on the Leafs only

joe is a god, if u dont agree....i dont care
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nuxfan
PickupHockey All-Star



3598 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  08:49:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:

I have to laugh at these Canuck fans comments, seriously . . . they are not even in the same league as Toronto or Montreal when it comes to fandom.



so you do think you have a monopoly on fandom. Thanks for verifying.
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Beans15
Moderator



Canada
8191 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  11:26:47  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by nuxfan

quote:

I have to laugh at these Canuck fans comments, seriously . . . they are not even in the same league as Toronto or Montreal when it comes to fandom.



so you do think you have a monopoly on fandom. Thanks for verifying.



Well, I am not sure if I would say there is a monopoly on fandom but I do know who I would put my money on to have the monopoly on ingnorance...........Thanks for verifying.


To the point at hand, just a couple of things to discuss:

I live in Edmonton and spend 3-4 days a month in Calgary. I will tell you that in either city you will not find any bar that will show a game other than the home team if the home team is playing. If you go to a pub on a day when the Oilers or Flames or not playing, what every game is on TSN or Sportsnet will be on. If you go to Calgary on a day that Edmonton is playing but Calgary is not, the Edmonton game will be on (and vise versa).I think that is pretty standard in most every city in Canada.

In Edmonton, you will find some gear from the original 6 teams as well as Calgary, and Vancouver. Maybe now you will see some Jets stuff too. However, all of that product combined is stocked 1 for every 10 Oilers products. If there are 200 jerseys in a store, 20 of them are for all the other teams 180 are for the Oilers. This is simple retail operations. You overstock what sells and under stock what does not sell.

All fans are delusional. Toronto fans are walking around talking about making the play-offs right now. So are Oiler fans. Flames fans are talking about a deep play-off run, and Canuck fans are talking about the Cup as a sure thing. All fans are delusional, this is not specific to Montreal.


And, believe it or not, this craziness of fans does not end as the western city limits of Toronto. Believe it or not, there are hockey fans coast to coast and they are all as passionate and crazy as any other hockey fan. Some might find that hard to comprehend, but it really is the truth!!



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Sensfan101
PickupHockey Pro



Canada
500 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  12:16:59  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Beans15

quote:
Originally posted by nuxfan

[quote]



All fans are delusional. Toronto fans are walking around talking about making the play-offs right now. So are Oiler fans. Flames fans are talking about a deep play-off run, and Canuck fans are talking about the Cup as a sure thing.




Ottawa fans are talking about finishing 29th overall
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Guest4312
( )

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  12:46:57  Reply with Quote
[/quote]

However, all of that product combined is stocked 1 for every 10 Oilers products.

[/quote]

lol try living in saskatchewan. 100 rider jerseys to 1 of any of other league, any other sport, any other team... but there is absolutely no way you would find any other CFL team here.... in fact if a store sold another CFL team apparel i'm pretty sure it would get the boycott treatment. Just the way things are. I told a friend my new 2nd favourite team was now the Jets and he was worried i'd become a bomber fan aswell.
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Porkchop73
PickupHockey Pro



640 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  14:56:00  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
RC, I am Leaf fan that has spent some time in Montreal. Usually for a couple of weeks on business. Let me tell you that Montreal is probably my favourite city in North America. The culture, the people, the european feel are all things that make Montreal great.

The city goes crazy for Habs/Leafs games, much like TO when the Habs in town. I have not experienced that type of atmosphere for regular season games anywhere else. And I can tell you that i have experienced several games in each Canadian city and most in the US as well. In spite of what any Canuck fan will tell you, there is nothing like HNIC in Montreal or TO especially when its Habs/Leafs. Unless you experience it then you really don't know. Sorry to the non leaf or non habs fans but its true. I mean no disrespect to fans of the other teams when I say that. I have been fortunate in my life to have experienced hockey cities and their fans all over our country and they are all great and fanatical but when you put Habs/Leafs in the same barn it takes it to another level.

I never had to look for Leaf gear while in Montreal but there was a sports bar on Crescent St (not far from Wandas) that has multiple TVs and the staff will put on any game for you. Expect to be razzed by the Habs fans when you ask for a Leafs game but they will join you in watching the game and likely buy you a couple of rounds.

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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5810 Posts

Posted - 08/30/2011 :  19:05:07  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by slozo

I have to laugh at these Canuck fans comments, seriously . . . they are not even in the same league as Toronto or Montreal when it comes to fandom.




Slozo....Please take a second and clarify what you meant by the above (bolded) words? I only see two Canucks fans who've made comments, one being me, and therefore have to assume you're "laughing" at my comments as well? Please do me a favour and explain where the humour in my post came from? As far as i can see, i didn't try to claim Vancouver is on an equal with ANY other city as far as "fandom" is concerned? So, if there was something else humorous, please do fill me in.

As far at this whole "fandom" crap anyway, what exactly are you guys talking about? I have no doubt that a Leafs / Habs game in either TO or Montreal is extremely exciting, but what exactly, in your minds, makes those two cities "fandom", any more large scale than other Canadian cities? I'm not arguing either, nor saying other cities are better / bigger, i'm seriously inquiring exactly what you are referring to? Are there more Leaf jersey's? Are there more fights? Is there more noise? Is there more partying? What exactly are you implying???
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Porkchop73
PickupHockey Pro



640 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  03:51:54  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alex116, I think you may just have to be a Habs or a Leafs fan to get it.
Perhaps because when I went to an Oil/Flames game I did not get it because I was not a true blue fan of either team. Granted it was a great atm at the games I went to in both Edm and Calgary. I must say that the Oil fans provided a little more atmosphere then the Flames fans.
To be totally honest with you, at the three Canucks games that I have been to in Vancouver it was like sitting with the suits at the ACC. One of those was a Flames/Nux game too. Thought there would be a little more atm created in that game.
I will not comment on "fandom" and which fans are the best because obviously every has "their" team and naturally gets more excited for that team then any other team. But if you get the chance you must attend a Leafs/Habs game (anytime in either city) and you will get exactly what I mean about it. Most non Leaf or Hab fans are totally blown away by how crazy both cities get when the two teams play.
Actually I was at a Wings/Leafs game in Detroit this past season and was surprised at the game their. It was about 50/50 split between Leafs/Wings fans and there was constant cheering battle all game long, it just did not die for one minute. To bad with the stupid schedule these two teams do not meet more often because that is what going to a hockey game is all about.
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slozo
Moderator



Canada
4607 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  05:38:45  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Alex, I'll take just a second then:

When Vancouver is charging $50 for a nosebleed seat against a non-divisional / historical rival (Detroit) . . . for a preseason game . . . and the place is filled to capacity with a loud obnoxious and rousing fans . . . cheering on a team that hasn't made the playoffs in 7 years . . .

. . . THEN you will get it.

When you go to a smaller market Canadian team or a northern US team's city, and watch your Canucks play the home team and see a quarter to half the jerseys in the stands for the Canucks, THEN you will understand.



"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
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Alex116
PickupHockey Legend



5810 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  08:35:57  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by slozo

Alex, I'll take just a second then:

When Vancouver is charging $50 for a nosebleed seat against a non-divisional / historical rival (Detroit) . . . for a preseason game . . . and the place is filled to capacity with a loud obnoxious and rousing fans . . . cheering on a team that hasn't made the playoffs in 7 years . . .

. . . THEN you will get it.

When you go to a smaller market Canadian team or a northern US team's city, and watch your Canucks play the home team and see a quarter to half the jerseys in the stands for the Canucks, THEN you will understand.



"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug



Thank you Slozo for your interpretation of "fandom". That is all i asked for. Basically, you've explained to me, that the Leafs have a greater number of fans throughout North America than most other teams. Honestly, i didn't really need you to explain that to me. I'm well aware that the Leafs have a huge following and that they've been around since the early 1900's. If that's what "fandom" is, so be it. That's all i wanted to know.

Oh, and for the record, i've not "been to" a Canuck's game in a small market, but i did see Canucks fans in abundance attend games last year in LA, Anaheim AND Phoenix to the point where they were very noticable and possibly even in the majority in Phoenix, granted, due to their regularly poor attendance. Keep in mind as well, many of these fans aren't just long time fans who happened to be there, but ones who bucked up on their dime to make a road trip vacation of their own to follow their team. The Leafs on the other hand, like the Habs, because of their history, have many fans (transplanted, or simply long time fans who cheered for them before local teams existed) in most cities!

I'm not for a second trying to say Vancouver's fans are better, more willing to travel, compare in numbers, etc., i'm just pointing out that your explanation of "fandom", in all it's cockiness, really only explains to me that the Leafs and Habs have MORE fans than most other teams. IF that is "fandom", so be it, thanks for the explanation.

BTW, i still don't see the humour in my original post?
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Beans15
Moderator



Canada
8191 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  08:36:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I can't believe I am going to do this, but I actually have to defend the Canucks. However, I believe this will most likely fall on the deaf ears of the ignorant.

Vancouver does sell out. They sell out every single night. They have sold out for more than 300 consecutive games and the last time they did not sell out was in 2002. This is through a recession and around the Olympic Games. They still sold out. By the way, they sell out a stadium as big as the ACC with less than 1/2 the population of Toronto. No one in the NHL has a longer sell out streak than Vancouver. Might I add in the 9 years since they last missed a sell out, they had a stretch of missing the play offs in 2 of 3 seasons and they still sold out. Sold out, sold out, sold out.


Secondly, there are as many Bruins jerseys out when the Boston is in town as there are Leafs Jerseys out when Toronto is in town. This is the same as any other original 6 team. But I guess the funtion of population growth and migration has become a measuring stick for fandom??? There are as many Canucks jerseys in Edmonton during those games as Leafs jerseys out during those games too.

Finally, the dollar value of the ticket is also a view that is askew. I went on ticketmaster today and searched for tickets for the Ottawa vs Toronto preseason game and the Vancouver vs Calgary preseason game. Magically, I can get the cheapest ticket for the Leafs game for $35.50 while I would have to pay $40.25 for the Vancouver game.


Ignorance is bliss..............Just sayin

Edited by - Beans15 on 08/31/2011 08:41:58
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nuxfan
PickupHockey All-Star



3598 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  08:36:49  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Slozo, the Canucks charge more than $50 for nosebleed seats for all exhibition games. And they cheer pretty loudly too, although we understand its the preseason (time to get the rust off, check out the prospects), and there are bigger things to come, like defeinding your division/conference and gunning for the cup again.

Perhaps this is why there is so much cheering at Leafs pre-season games - because fans know this is as good as its going to get for the season?

quote:

Alex116, I think you may just have to be a Habs or a Leafs fan to get it.



porkchop, that I believe.
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fat_elvis_rocked
PickupHockey Pro



Canada
899 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  09:59:22  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I would venture that in the province of Quebec and particularly in the city of Montreal, the 'fandom', transcends mere team support, and gets in to more of the cultural identity thing.

They are the only team in the NHL that have that cultural identity tagged to their team, whether they want it or not, and I'm sure they do. You often hear of players going there and being overwhelmed by not only the expectations placed on them by the fans for their athletic talent, but also to be able to immerse themselves in to not only the community, but the culture as well. No other team has that 'grass roots' level of fanaticism.

To compare even the Leafs to this phenomenon, makes me laugh, much like Slozo's dismissal of a Canuck fan's comparison.

The Montreal Canadiens, to me anyways, represent much more than just a city, just a team, just a bunch of fans. They represent the pride, and embrace the difference of a whole society of people. That, IMO, is what accounts for their supporters' 'over the top', allegiance.
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Leafs81
PickupHockey Pro



716 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  12:17:18  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I live 1000 km away from Montréal in a province that is not Québec and we are in the Habs country. I know exactly what you mean RC. I'm doing pools regurlary and everytime all my poolmates are habs fans and I hear all the time all the praise about all those players. During hockey games, at work, in a bar, etc.

Perezhogin was a god, Higgins was gonna be a 40 goals sniper so was Ryder, the two Kostitsyn were gonna be the next Sedin's, Pouliot was the next Lecavalier, and so on and on and on. Now I hear the same type of praise about Eller and Pacioretty.

Like Fat Elvis said it's a cultural thing, the history behind the team, the language, etc. Watch The Rocket and you will understand where it all comes from.
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MrBoogedy
Rookie



Canada
195 Posts

Posted - 08/31/2011 :  22:41:19  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Why the hell would someone want to spend good money on a Leafs jersey? Unless you're talking about little voodoo doll sized jerseys, that I could understand.

hmmm.... ideas are forming.....

btw: awesome post elvis. I think that pretty much answers the question.

Edited by - MrBoogedy on 08/31/2011 23:54:51
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slozo
Moderator



Canada
4607 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2011 :  05:05:10  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
quote:
Originally posted by fat_elvis_rocked

I would venture that in the province of Quebec and particularly in the city of Montreal, the 'fandom', transcends mere team support, and gets in to more of the cultural identity thing.

They are the only team in the NHL that have that cultural identity tagged to their team, whether they want it or not, and I'm sure they do. You often hear of players going there and being overwhelmed by not only the expectations placed on them by the fans for their athletic talent, but also to be able to immerse themselves in to not only the community, but the culture as well. No other team has that 'grass roots' level of fanaticism.

To compare even the Leafs to this phenomenon, makes me laugh, much like Slozo's dismissal of a Canuck fan's comparison.

The Montreal Canadiens, to me anyways, represent much more than just a city, just a team, just a bunch of fans. They represent the pride, and embrace the difference of a whole society of people. That, IMO, is what accounts for their supporters' 'over the top', allegiance.



I don't entirely disagree, Fat Elvis. Your defending of Canucks pride because of my insensitive remarks aside, you are correct: there is a whole language and culture attached to Montreal, and Toronto does not have that.

I'll leave it at that - Montreal Canadiens might as well be called the 'Quebec Francophones', because that is the kind of support they often get, and it's why there is a very special emotional investment in their team, that transcends sports.

The Richard riots would never have happened in Toronto, and it's a point well taken.

(backs away while clamping mouth shut to prevent a parting shot at Vancouver)

"Take off, eh?" - Bob and Doug
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Beans15
Moderator



Canada
8191 Posts

Posted - 09/01/2011 :  08:40:17  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
I think one can compare the Montreal Canadiens fans to those in European and South American Soccer. If anyone has experiences that sport first hand you can appreciate that those fans, soccer is more important than religion.

As far as the Richard riots go, it's a good point. But it is also a pretty tough comparison as there really hasn't been anything in TO to be passionate about for nearly 60 years.

It's hard to show passion where there is nothing to show passion towards.
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TheRC
Rookie



105 Posts

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  12:12:50  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
60 years might be a bit of a stretch Beans, but I'm trying not to be that annoying Leaf fan who makes everything about his team, so I'll move along ... But anyway, I get your point that the closest thing you can liken Montreal Canadiens fandom to would be European (in my case British) soccer clubs.

The only reason I'd brought up Toronto at all in my original post is that I know it's a big hockey city (s*** team or not, the numbers don't lie) and I've been told so by a number of visitors. I wasn't trying to say my city should have a monopoly on good fans, or that I don't understand why anybody would ever be a Canadiens fan (despite the rivalry I have to respect the Canadiens for playing an entertaining game, and usually stepping up when they have to, unlike some of our other rivals - I'm looking at you, Ottawa Senators) It was more to say I was shocked by just how much more passionate every day fans here are than, well... anywhere else I've been. Including Toronto.

I can totally appreciate the intensity of the Montreal support. Even as a Leaf fan I know it's going to make catching a few games in the pub a great experience. But it has it's downside too. Everybody knows their team, but I've yet to meet many people who actually know the game of hockey outside of loving their team. At least far fewer than I would have expected considering the intensity with which people follow the Canadiens. I will, however, be the first to admit that I haven't spoken to a huge number of people, and it isn't even hockey season. I assume the level of knowledge, and hopefully the realism of assessments of the home team, will improve once the season starts, I get back on the ice, and I start meeting some more serious fans of the game.

Those of you from outside of Montreal, all I can say is this... Come check this place out one day. Talk hockey, you'll notice pretty damn fast, despite how passionate your hometown crowd can be, that this is something completely different.

"If at first you don't succeed, you fail"

Edited by - TheRC on 09/02/2011 12:15:30
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Guest2744
( )

Posted - 09/02/2011 :  12:55:14  Reply with Quote
True story

It was 1988 and i was in grade 10 and it was in february. Me and my dad flying(from Halifax) up to Montreal to watch the Bruins and Canadiens. We were staying with the son of one of my dads friend.

That night in the apartment complex, there was a fire in the unit two rooms down. We evacuated immediately out too the street.and waited. It was about 3 or 4 in the morning.Soon a heated bus was sent so all of us in the evacuated building(s) could keep warm.

I can remember around 6 or seven the local media started arrieving and interviewing some of us on the bus about the fire.When one of the local reporters came to my father and ask him about the fire in french of course. my father responded in english that we were just visiting and didn't know much about what happened. He must of realized we were visitors and then asked what we were doing in Montreal( politely of course) My dad responded that we were here to watch Boston beat up on Montreal tonight and all of a sudden ther were 5 or six microphones in his face and reporters asking question on the game that night.

We came to learn that three people died in that fire. I was just ammazed on how much poeple in Montreal and the media take to them. Montreal won 3-2 but I did get to see a bench clearing brawl with John Kordic and Jay Miller going at it at center ice.
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Guest2230
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Posted - 09/06/2011 :  11:10:20  Reply with Quote
You really seem to forget something. Hockey is a part of us, in all the province. Remmember the Quebec Nordiques. Nothing can compare to the rivalry Canadiens-Nordiques, not even CH-Boston or CH-Leafs.

I live a few hours from both those cities, and when I was young, there were fights in my family (and every families of the province) in the holidays because of the CH-Nordiques matches. People visiting from montreal, from quebec and people staying in my city each had their belonging. As the matches progressed, everyone was drunkier, and then real fights and argues happened. It was amazing, the best time for hockey! And in the afternoon we went play hockey at the skating rink of the neighboorhood.

Just Watch this :

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qcihnPoh2EY (part 1 watch part 2 also)

Good old days... that's why so much people want the Nordiques return: Some to love'em... some to hate'em to the bones!
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Guest7642
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Posted - 02/25/2012 :  21:07:57  Reply with Quote
In answer to your question, it isomething you either get or don't. As a kid from the Westcoast, I got hooked watching the great teams of the 70's with Dryden, Beliveau, Lafleur, etc. The Habs always played with a bit more flair and class and had that great history to back them up.
Never been to the Forum or Bell Centre, but have been to a few Canucks games in the old Pacific Coliseum and Rogers Areana. While they are fun to watch it just does not have the same impact that you would get, I imagine, in watching a game in Montreal, staring up at all those Stanley Cup banners.
I did get to a Red Sox game in Fenway and felt it too. You get that sense of history and passion. You could close your eyes and almost hear Babe Ruth's crack of the bat. I compare that to watching a Blue Jays game in Toronto, which was about as exciting as going to a Costco.
Don't know if that captures it, but it is about as close as I can get- the Habs have a mystique that other teams don't.
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CrockOShight
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90 Posts

Posted - 02/26/2012 :  13:47:05  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Welcome to Montreal RC! How are you liking it so far?

Firstly, watch the movie "Maurice Richard" (EN - The Rocket).

As a Montrealer, let us begin by agreeing that Montrealers are completely insanely stupid when it comes to hockey. An absolute fervent obsession overtakes this city in about mid-September; and carries us all the way until about June - and ever then most of us never let it go. Easily the craziest fans in the league. Forget about Vancouver, Toronto, whatever. Like, really. This isn't even close to a debate.

As well, let us agree that Habs' fans are completely blind as to the reality of their team. I had a guy pick Markov in the 7th Round of our pool this year, already starting to proclaim victory. PK Subban was the first D chosen. Like, just stupid stuff. Blinded by over-zealous insane passion.

The question is why. Here are some of my thoughts on the subject:

1. No other major sports teams in the market. Very often when I speak to Torontonians, I hear, "oh, I'm not that much of a hockey fan." or "I prefer basketball."

You would never hear that kind of ambivalent talk here in Montreal. "Basketball?" Forget it - we don't even know what that is. Baseball? Sensitive. American football? Ack... Maybe. But only because it's on a Sunday when the Habs usually don't play. Hockey is the sport here by necessity.

2. I also often hear from southern Ontarians: "I don't have time for hockey." or "I don't really care who wins, as long as it's a good game."

Again, you would never hear that in Montreal. "I don't have time for hockey." Haha. Yeah right. You live in Montreal. You have nothing BUT time. The rent is half as expensive; and it doesn't take you 2 hours through painful traffic and finding expensive parking to go out and have fun. You have more time in Montreal. In fact, if you are living in Montreal, you are probably here BECAUSE you are the type of person who would like to have a different lifestyle involving more time. You don't want to have to have a car, a house, a family - all the things that take time away from Hockey. If you wanted those things, you would live in Toronto. You live in Toronto because you want to have a better life. You live in Montreal because you want to have a better lifestyle. And that means more time to watch Hockey. More time = more hockey crazy.

3. The language; but not in the way you might expect.
Important: Montreal is not a "French city". This is wrong. It is very near to 50/50 English/French - and always has been. The anglos here in Montreal are as fervent about Hockey as the Francophones. It doesn't do to say, "well, the francophones are crazy about everything... check how crazy they are about hockey." It doesn't work like that. The Anglos are at least as crazy about Hockey as the Francos here.

However, the language exacerbates the "passion". When the team is losing, the Anglos blame the French media. Then the French media blames the coach/captain/water boy for not being able to speak French. The Anglos take this as an offence; they get their back up against the wall any time anyone tells them anything. Meanwhile, the Parti Quebecois realizes they are slipping in the polls and need to start banging that damn sovereignty drum again; and pounce on any opportunity to further manipulate the issue by attempting somehow to associate hockey performance to language. In Toronto, you can blame Brian Burke. In Montreal, you can blame no fewer than 34 separate politically-charged factors on any given day resulting in an argument/newspaper column/referendum. It's total mayhem.

It isn't that the "French are passionate." It's that the French and the English here already have a long and well-documented history. When a team loses, they point fingers. In any market anywhere, this finger-pointing would fall to the coach/players/management - anything that actually has anything to do with hockey. Not here. It becomes an "us" vs "them" mentality that just spirals into total insanity when they hire an Anglo coach. Like, nuts.

----

As to why the fans are so stupidly blind about hockey; I can offer nothing other than my complete agreement. If you ever happen to be in a pool with Montrealers, just stand back and let them choose Canadiens until their ears fall off. You should be able to trounce them. (who really wants Canadiens in their pool anyway?).

One factor to consider, is that Montreal has for a LONG time been a "defence-first" mentality-based team. With such a defence-first strategy, things often go inexplicably well against stronger teams. We'll beat a Boston or a Washington; but then get absolutely trounced by the Panthers. Hockey is already a difficult game to predict. But bringing a defence-first mentality to the table allows for many close games that one could practically flip a coin to accurately predict. This messes with Montreal fans' minds. "We beat Boston. We should be able to cream Tampa Bay." Well, not so. As you know - but when you're inside it, you don't see that.

Now, there's no way Montreal should have eliminated Washington, then Pittsburgh to make the Conference Finals two years ago. Quite simply, that was an anomaly brought about by timely defensive hockey coupled with a strong power play. Yet everyone in this city was bestowing God-like status until Gainey, Gomez, Martin, Cammallerri, everyone. A year later and these same fans are saying fire the entire team. It is directly because they haven't corrected for the fact that these wins were an anomaly rather than a standard. Montrealers tend to over-evaluate their team the same way one might chase a flush in Texas Hold 'em. Strictly speaking, yeah, you probably shouldn't chase that flush because you don't have the odds. But then, sometimes you hit it; and when you do you're like, "f*** yeah! I'm a genius!!" Except that you are not. You just got lucky.

Anyway. Montreal. This is Montreal. You will have noticed the obvious lack of Montreal flags around the city these days. The number of flags you see is a direct relation to the performance of the team. You saw plenty of them this summer because people were excited after taking Boston to Game 7 in the First Round last year. But, that quickly faded. Not many flags now, but they will be back. Wait until the Habs actually win three in a row to see it.

For now - and this is for everyone who is curious - you really have to watch "Maurice Richard" (aka The Rocket), a movie directed by Charles Biname. Real footage of Montreal in the 40s. The relationship between Anglos and Francos in the city. The role of religion and the role of males/females in a family. The weather. Les fantomes du Forum. It's all there. Watching that movie will give you a glimpse into the lives of Montrealers; and a clue perhaps to why they are so stupidly crazy about hockey.












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