100 Years Of Heroes And Dreams

001A hundred years of heroes and dreams. A hundred years of men donning the sweater and taking to the ice.  A hundred years of kids watching and reading about, dreaming and becoming. From the time Didier Pitre took a pass from Jack Laviolette and slid it over to Newsy Lalonde, little boys donned the sweater, the bleu, blanc, et rouge, and they became Pitre and Lalonde and all those who came later. kids-sweater1-150x150

From the time Georges Vezina began stopping pucks for Les Canadiens, little kids wanted to stop pucks too, on lakes and ponds and old rinks throughout, and when they wore the sweater, they made the saves with people cheering them, and for all those winter nights near their homes, they were Georges Vezina.

Like magic they became Howie Morenz and Aurele Joliat, Toe Blake and George Hainsworth. They wore the sweater on nights so cold it should be illegal, slapping old rubber balls into snowbanks, stopping cow pies on slews, deking friends and sisters and little kids on the pond. wearing the red or white sweater with the simple and beautiful CH crest sewn on front.004

They became the Rocket, and Lach, Bouchard and Harvey, and they saw the game in their dreams. Behind the skaters they were Durnan and Plante crouched by the net, and when the time came, they were the Boomer and Big Jean scoring on the power play. It unfolded at the Forum and the Olympia and Conn Smythe’s old barn and the outdoor rink frozen in winter at the baseball field. And kids heard them on the radio and saw them in black and white and shuffled their bubblegum cards, wearing the sweater and becoming anyone they wanted to be, just when they wanted to be. 003

The wore the sweater when the Pocket Rocket wouldn’t give up the puck, when the Boomer boomed, and when the Gumper kicked out his pads. They opened boxes at Christmas and there was one to put on right away, and they were Ken Dryden and Lafleur and the Big Bird. And their kids and kid brothers wore the sweater when Patrick Roy and the Little Viking, and then Kovalev and Koivu, graced the ice. Now new guard takes their place, and kids are becoming them too.

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They said goodbye to the Forum and to the Rocket and all those others who went when it was time and when it wasn’t time, and they wiped little drops of tears from their sweater. And they smiled and clapped and looked above as they watched the sweaters of their heroes raised triumphantly to the rafters.

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Now, every night, the Bell Centre is packed with young and old, still wearing the sweater of the Montreal Canadiens. It’s been a dream for a hundred years. We are Georges, Howie, the Rocket and Guy. We’re Patrick and Saku and Price and Gionta and Markov.

We wear the sweater whether we have a sweater or not, and we celebrate. 002

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17 thoughts on “100 Years Of Heroes And Dreams”

  1. This is why I am proud to have someone like Dennis sharing his material with Hockey54.com. His passion and writing style are always great to read. 100 years of our beloved Montreal Canadiens summed up perfectly. Roch Carrier would be proud of you sir.

  2. Amen!

    I’m so sick of people bashing the Centennial. The media use it as a joke, and jaded fans use it as an excuse. IT ONLY HAPPENS ONCE! Yes the team isn’t doing so well right now, but they’ll get through it eventually. Being a Canadien is everlasting, and perservering.

    And speaking of the great sweater, stupid Capsule Sportive still hasn’t called me about the Price sweater I bought for my cousin’s bar mitzvah. What a better way to officially become a man than with one’s own Habs sweater eh? Bonus he lives in Toronto :D

  3. Hey Dennis;Great tribute to the sweater and the people who filled it,as well as the fans whoemulated their heroes in the blue blanc et rouge.Brings back memories to me when i was growning up back east and i listened to my first radio broadcasts of the Habs,but also of the the great forum with the seats packed full and the noise peircing the walls to mix in with the snow that was dropping onto the streets outside.Yes 100 years has gone by,after tonite (but including)can we get back to playing some old time hockey?

  4. Sometimes it’s good to be old, well it sure beats the alternative :)

    I started watching the Habs in Beliveau’s last year, I was fortunate to be a fan in the glorious seventies.

    It may take some time, but we’ll get there again. In the meantime I’m going to light a fire, have a good bottle of wine and enjoy tonight’s festivities.

    CHeers.

  5. It’s time, Derry. Time to start playing some hockey. Remember what Yogi Berra said: 90% is mental and the other half is physical.

  6. Thanks, Danno. Those sweaters were sure itchy. And that’s a great sign. I may have to utilize it at some point. Thanks.

  7. Beforethe ceremony started, I told my dad that the habs should have prepared a surprise number retirement for Lach. I don’t know why I still ruled that option out. It was definitely the highlight of the night, along with O’Byrne pulling off #3 and giving it to it’s rightful owner

  8. Hi Kathleen. They’re not, but there is a connection. Years ago I was at a place that had one for sale exactly like you see in my picture on my site of me as a kid in my Montreal uniform. Then, some time later, I found another. Then I started searching on ebay and over the years have collected a bunch of various ones of different ages. I’m always on the hunt for others.

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