Beatles, Habs, And Leafs


On August 17th, 1966, the Beatles played two shows at Toronto’s Maple Leaf Gardens.

I was at the afternoon concert, and I’m pretty darn proud of it.

In the summer of ’66 I was 15 and had a summer job as a highway construction slave labourer, but the boss let me go early and I went down to Toronto from Orillia with a disc jockey my sister worked with at the local radio station. She had got word to me just that morning that the DJ was going and asked if I would like to go with him.

I didn’t have a ticket, but believe it or not, they were still available when I showed up at the Gardens, and I got a $5.50 ticket in the very last row on the floor.

It was madness, of course. There were about six bands in the lineup, including the Ronettes, the Cyrkle and Bobby Hebb, and the Beatles played for about 40 minutes with girls screaming and fainting and carrying on.

That fall, hockey season began, and the next spring, the Toronto Maple Leafs beat the Habs in six games to win their last Stanley Cup.

The Leafs were an old team with guys like Terry Sawchuk, Johnny Bower, Red Kelly, and Allan Stanley, but Montreal wasn’t that young either. Henri Richard was 30, John Ferguson 27, Claude Provost was 32, Dick Duff 30, Ted Harris 30, Jean-Guy Talbot was 34, Jean Beliveau was 35, and the goalies, Gump Worsley and Charlie Hodge, were 37 and 33 respectively.

Of course, Montreal also had kiddies. Yvan Cournoyer was all of 22. Claude Larose was 23, Jacques Laperriere 24, and Serge Savard and Carol Vadnais were just 20.

John and Ringo were 26, Paul 24, and George 23.

The Habs and Beatles remain in the hearts of millions.

The Leafs continue to suck.

8 thoughts on “Beatles, Habs, And Leafs”

  1. I saw the Beatles at the Montreal Forum on their first tour back in 1964…unfortunately Montreal was not included in any more tours…I guess the Ringo death threat fiasco wasn’t worth any future security issues. Glad you got to see them in Toronto…a day to remember! The value of that ticket stub is worth way more than the $5.50 it cost!

  2. I would’ve liked to have seen them on their first tour, Ed. But I’ll take ’66 for sure. The Beatles have always been a huge part of my life, right from the morning my mom and I heard the disc jockey tell us about this new group from Liverpool. I know they were a big part of your life too. I used to have about 80 Beatles albums, which included imports and rare bootlegs etc. However, you know what a divorce will do.

  3. There’s no question Dennis & I now go back some 50 odd years as best buds & agree on all things Canadien but you see DK has always been a really nice guy & I think that’s why he favoured the Beatles. Where we differ is I was & still am a Stones kind of guy. Both great bands from across the pond but mine’s better. 🙂

  4. ah ha….. I could sense that from your writings on this site , Mike. Denis is at times quite gracious when our boys screw up. Your comments are kinda more ‘direct’ keeping it light guys!!!!!Beatles were more passive… Stones , Who were more my roudy self. but I enjoy their talent ….all of ’em!Hoping habs do good things this year.

  5. Peter, if the Habs suck this year it might be it for me. Just baseball and music after that. Last year just about killed me.

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