In the continuing series, Your Story, we feature another submission to “How I Became a Habs Fan.” Laura ( habbykins on Twitter) has agreed to share her experiences with us, in today’s edition.
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How I Managed to Stay Sane in Enemy Territory
BURLINGTON, ON. — I became a Habs fan at a very early age the same way many of you have. The games on Saturday night on CBC started at 8 PM with the great Danny Gallivan and I was only allowed to watch the first period. I watch Yvan Cournoyer breeze on by the enemy when John Ferguson was not beating them to a pulp. Yes, it was the late 1960s. I really started to become a huge fan in 1971. (my Bobby Orr and Phil Esposito hockey cards found their way to the spokes of my bike..(yes I know …the humanity!) I watched with bated breath my team take on the mighty Bruins and get through them in seven games. Then went on to win the cup.
I once met a nun who was in her nineties and was told that she was the worlds biggest Habs fan. I spoke with her briefly and she acknowledged that she listened to all the games on radio in her room while praying for wins for a long time. All I can say is that she must have been good at it.
As the years past I went to a few games with my Dad at the forum. I saw the pre-season game against the Broad Street Bullies (I think 1975) when Robinson became my hero because he beat the snot out of Schultz. That was the game they proved to themselves they could beat Philly. Winning became commonplace…Stanley cup parade route was the usual one…saw a few of those too. Throngs of people lining Ste Catherine street to welcome the heroes. The question was not who will win the game but how badly would the opposition get whupped. It was actually good for hockey (in hindsight) that the string of Stanley cups came to an end because just as constantly losing makes it boring and difficult to watch so was constantly winning.
In 1985, I moved to Edmonton. The Stanley cup followed me there through the late 90′s It was relatively easy to follow the Habs in Edmonton because all the Habs games were covered on CBC FM in French and I could watch my Habs on Saturday on CBC in French as well. I went to a few games at the Colosseum in watching my beloved Habs in enemy territory. It was different for sure. I could never figure out why it was so quiet in the stands during games in Edmonton. The GO HABS GO would easily drown out the LETS GO OILERS. I am sure it was frustrating for Gretzky, Messier et al on those nights.
I moved in 1990 to another enemy territory, this time in Southern Ontario. This market was very much unlike the Edmonton one. There was no radio broadcasts of the games and the blacked out the French CBC (they would show old badly dubbed movies instead). I remember laughing at this and thinking that the Leafs must be very paranoid about losing their fans. There was a day that the Toronto media pushed – everyone was to wear blue and white to show their support for the Leafs. I, of course, being the good hockey fan that I am wore my Claude Lemieux sweater. The rationale was that there is blue and white on it. My co-workers thought it was amusing to say the least.
Three of us got together, one a die hard Leaf fan, another a die hard Bruin fan and I. We had a standing bet going on whenever our teams played each other, the loser would have to wear the winners sweater for the day. Craig Billington came to the office one day, we worked for a sports apparel company, he was told about our bet and thought it was the toughest bet to lose. But we made it all work and through sportsmanship we all survived.
The Internet has made it a heck of a lot easier to follow my team in enemy territory. Now I can chat with fellow Hab fans around the world and watch or listen to the games live on the internet as any fan living outside of home territory.
About the Author (Author Profile)Rick is the Editor-in-Chief, lead contributor, and owner of the All Habs network of websites. His mission is to build a community of Canadiens fans who are informed, engaged and connected. He is the vision behind all four sites within the network - All Habs, Habs Tweetup, We Are Canadiens, and The Montreal Forum - and is responsible for the design and layout of each. In concert with the strong belief that "Habs fans are everywhere!", Rick is pleased that people use All Habs as a conduit to find and connect with other Habs fans worldwide. He is also proud that Habs Tweetups have allowed fans to meet in person and develop long lasting friendships.
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