The Montreal Canadiens will celebrate their 100th anniversary tomorrow night when they play their long-time rivals, the Boston Bruins. Anchor Marco Werman speaks with Montreal Gazette sports columnist Pat Hickey about the storied Canadiens.
MARCO WERMAN: This week, Canadian hockey fans are celebrating one of the game's most storied franchises. We're talking about the Montreal Canadiens. The club in the iconic red, white and blue jerseys with the "CH" logo is the all-time leader in Stanley Cup victories with 24. The franchise is the pride of French-speaking Canada, and for many other fans around the world. And the team will celebrate its 100th anniversary tomorrow night. Pat Hickey will be there. He's a sports columnist with the Montreal Gazette. The Canadiens are on the road tonight. So he joins us from Buffalo. Pat, help us understand what makes the Canadiens or the Habs, as they are called, so special?
PAT HICKEY: They've always been a very successful team. I think they have more players in the Hockey Hall of Fame than any other team. Rocket Richard, who was the first player to score 50 goals. Jean Beregon, is generally considered the most gentlemanly player in the game.
WERMAN: You overlooked the player with that great nickname, "Boom Boom" Geoffrion.
HICKEY: That's right, I did overlook him. You know, the team's had some great nicknames over the years Maurice Rocket Richard, whose younger brother was the "Pocket Rocket" and "Boom Boom Geoffrion." This is a team that had a lot of players that captured the imagination of the public.
WERMAN: Now, I was sounding all smart and clever earlier when I called the "Habs" but I don't really know what that means? What does Hab come from?
HICKEY: Well, it comes from the word "Habitants" which means it's the local settlers. It's a French word for the local settlers, and it should became shortened to "Habs." It sort of indicated that they were a team of the people.
WERMAN: So, let's plan for tomorrow night. I mean, they'll be celebrating their 100th Anniversary but beyond that, I gather there's not much to celebrate lately?
HICKEY: Well, there hasn't been much to celebrate in the team, the way they're playing right now in the last dozen years. But, you know, the team has been struggling to make the playoffs every year. But I think that there will still be a celebration of the past. You know, when they do have celebrations like this they've been known to pull out all the stops. Michael Farber who works for Sports Illustrated and who lives in Montreal once said that the only people who handle pomp and circumstance as well as the Canadians are the Catholic Church and the British Royal Family. So that's the sort of thing that we're looking forward to tomorrow night. There'll be light shows and film clips from the past and, of course, a lot of great players on the ice.
WERMAN: Right, and I know a lot of great players from ? ? Where are they coming from? From Boston, right? The Boston Bruins.
HICKEY: A lot of great players from the past. They'll be on the ice. They won't be playing the game later on, though.
WERMAN: Well, Pat, as this program is based in Boston, I can't possibly wish you and the Canadians good luck tomorrow night, but no I do. I really do. Pat Hickey with the Montreal Gazette. Thank you so much for your time.
HICKEY: Any time.
Do you enjoy our audio? Please help support it with a donation.