TORONTO, ON. — Every morning I start my day by logging onto Twitter and getting caught up on any important news, current events, and sporting updates that I may have missed from the day before. Today, it was a very exciting morning as the official Montreal Canadiens account shared that there is only 76 more days until the Habs home opener! I have been so caught up in player trades and arbitration deals to realize that the new season is right around the corner.
I love the start of a new season, and getting a feel for how the newly traded players will mesh with their new line mates, or if the front of house changes really made any significant improvements. But more than that, I look forward to the start of each season because I not only love meeting and interacting with Habs fans all over again, but I love the thrill and sense of pride I feel for cheering on such a talented and respectable team.
The bond between hockey fans and their teams is unbreakable and when you are able to get a large group of people together that are cheering for the same club, the energy and passion is completely electrifying. And realistically, nothing sums up being Canadian more than our committed relationship to hockey. Hockey brings us together and for me personally, I believe that being a Habs fan is the most amazing feeling, because there are no other fans quite like us.
According to ESPN, Montreal had the third most fans in attendance for the year, raking in 872,193 fans for the year and an average of 21,273 at each home game. That is huge!
This spring, I actually had the pleasure of attending a game at the Bell Centre for the first time. Now, I have seen the Habs play numerous times before in both Vancouver and Toronto, but experiencing the game from the Bell Centre was absolutely life changing.
It was also a huge game because it was Carey Price’s first game back in net since his earlier injury. Price made 29 saves in his first NHL game since the Olympic break. Minutes after seeing one of its goals disallowed, Ottawa took a 2-1 lead at 17:10 of the second period when Zack Smith scored his 11th of the year on a breakaway. Smith took a long stretch pass from Erik Karlsson at the blue line, was stopped by Price, but scored on his own rebound. Ales Hemsky then doubled their lead at 1:54 of the third, beating Price under the blocker for his seventh point in four games since being traded to the Senators. Then to the Bell Centre’s dismay, Clarke MacArthur made it 4-1 three minutes later.
My heart was literally in the pit of my stomach, I had never felt so much anxiety in my life! Safe to say everyone around me felt the same way as well, my dad was as white as a ghost. Thankfully, Lars Eller made a game of it late, scoring his first goal in his last 25 games at 16:38. Brian Gionta then added another point less than minute later to keep the score close before David Desharnais tied it up. Overtime was an absolute blur.
I can still remember my dad saying to me, “A lot can happen in a minute with the Habs.” And wow was he right… Franky B made the most amazing comeback, scoring the winning goal with literally seconds to spare. The crowed went insane. And according to ExtraSkater, no team up by three with less than 10 minutes to go went on to lose the game (regular season, since 2010-11)… so this game was huge for Habs fans.
“It shows the character of our team, they never gave up. That’s the No. 1 thing for me, we found a way to win.” — Coach Michel Therrien
Now here is a random tidbit of information, I was a performer in the 2010 Winter Olympics and danced in front of a jam-packed arena, with the entire nation watching me perform on television, and that experience can’t even compare to this game or witnessing that big comeback at the Bell Centre.
So realizing that the start of a brand new season is creeping up in the horizon was exactly what I needed to hear during this hectic week. I am sure everyone can relate to the growing anticipation and excitement that I feel.
Does anyone else have any life changing Habs moments? Tweet them to me @ainsleysmithy or write about them in the comment box below!