Don’t Hang Roy’s Sweater, Says Edmonton Sun Reader. And I Agree.

This was the Letter of the Day in the Edmonton Sun on Sept 9th. And except for the part about the Montreal Canadiens not having self-respect, I pretty well agree with what Mr. Martin has to say. I’m not a big fan of Patrick Roy, and I’ve said before his sweater shouldn’t be hung from the rafters at the Bell Centre.

So I enjoyed this letter.


Here it is, entitled “Sweater Honour A Roy Deal.”


The ineffable Harold Ballard forever alienated Maple Leaf legend and Hall of Famer Dave Keon.


Keon wants his number retired, not just honoured, by the franchise. Call it a grudge, call it principle, but Keon is not going to kowtow to the blue and white.


Conversely, Canadiens hero Patrick Roy tells his organization to scram – skating off in the prime of his career – and yet the fans and management of hockey’s so-called greatest franchise now are down on their knees to St. Patrick, praying that they can have the privilege of retiring his No. 33, as Roy’s Colorado Avalanche has done.


Howie Morenz, Georges Vezina, and the Rocket, Maurice Richard, who all bled the red C, would not be pleased.


This is not about character or off-ice antics. It’s about self-respect. If the Canadiens retire No. 33 they will have shown they do not have any. It will be truly pathetic.


All the greatest players have understood that the game is bigger than them, and the Montreal Canadiens, with their rich history, are surely bigger than one man.


Imagine No.33 being raised to the rafters as Roy receives a standing ovation – a man who turned his back on the uniform and his fans in their most dire need. With heroes like Roy, who needs villains?


Daniel Martin

23 thoughts on “Don’t Hang Roy’s Sweater, Says Edmonton Sun Reader. And I Agree.”

  1. I agree that Roy’s sweater should not be retired bccause 2 cups (Colorado doesn’t count) are simply not enough. How many Habs are there who have more cups and the idea of retiring their jerseys doesn’t even come up?

    What’s the deal here? Why the fuss over a player with a less than stellar career with the Habs?

    I think this issue is interesting because it illustrates the on-going tension between our need for the local/the personal/the mythic and the distant/the fungible/the pragmatic. This is particularly acute chez les Habs because of the special place they occupy in quebecois culture. A tenacious and compelling bond of an exceptional nature exists between the team and their fan base that, I would argue, does not obtain elsewhere in hockey. And this bond, although weakened as shown by the fact that the Habs would even consider retiring Roy’s sweater, is still strong. This conflicts with the recent on-going morphing of not only hockey but all sports into big-time entertainment, into impersonal money-making machines and, like it or not, perhaps the most successful formula for doing so in this arena is to package and sell one thing: WINNING, aka making oodles of moola. The optimal way to do this is to camouflage this primary goal by putting a face on it, to create (market?) a hero/star as the face of a franchise and, by extension, of the game. In hockey `Gretzky In America’ exemplifies this strategy to a tee.

    The Habs, as a modern pro hockey team, are very much part of this process – they are in the business of selling their team which means selling sexy slickly packaged images which in this case is Roy and which business decision collides head-on with the traditional (out-dated?) role played by the Habs in the hearts and minds of their fans. Hence the genuine anger and sense of betrayal/outrage felt by fans such as Daniel and Dennis and,yes, me.

    Yes, I know that times have changed, that the game is no longer the same, that the relationships between fan and game, fan and team, fan and player and player and game have mutated into something else as exemplified by the fact that superstars – with the possible exception of the odd throwbacks such as Lecavlier and Iggy – are now too valuable to risk injury playing the way Richard and Howe once did.

    Still, I like to/want to believe that the romance of the individual player going all-out all-the-time is not yet kaput. Nor is the heady sweetness associated with great teams consistently rising to the occasion a thing of the past.

    So, again should Roy’s sweater be retired? My reply is a resounding NO! For two reasons: one) 2 cups just ain’t enuf – this ceremony/ritual/honour should be reserved for truly great players and in the Habs tradition this means that they play for and play a critical role on great teams which Roy’s teams were not; two) I take it personally. For me hockey is still much much more than a business – the romance lives on!

  2. Patrick Roy is simply the best goaltender the habs ever had, that NHL ever had.

    It’s a shame that people interpret these events in 1995, without knowing Patrick’s version.

    Did you know, that the habs were already in negociation to trade him, when these event occurred?

    Roy is still the inspiration for the most successful goaltenders in the league today. He rendered popular the now ultra famous butterfly style, that most goalies use.

    Hesitation the hang the Roy’s number on the rafters of Bell Center, is a shame for hockey, for what he brought to this sport.

    He never disrespect the organization, he was simply humiliated by his coach, by keeping Roy on the ice, even after he got scored 8 times against, and like all normal human being, he couldn’t deal with that humiliation, and asked to be traded. It’s Tremblay that should have been blamed for those events. It’s not OK to humiliate someone who brought you the stanley cup 2 years before.

    Mario Tremblay isnt 1% of the player Patrick Roy was.

    Without Mario Tremblay stupid arrogance (arrogance when you have nothing to brag about, is dumb), Roy would have ended is career in Montreal, and we would already have our 25th stanley cup.

    I’m glad they finally decide to hang his numbers, among the other great habs players.

    Without Roy, we wouldnt have won the cup in 1986 and 1993… period.

    Within 10 years, he’s gonna be the head coach of the habs… mark my words.

  3. Addressed to habs 100th. Hog Wash Roy thought he was bigger than the “TEAM” & dictated when He would pracice or not. Mario has the CH tatooed on his behind & comes from an era that cherished the right & honour to be a Les Canadien !!He just decided to teach a lesson to this Prima-Donna & I say good for him !To walk out on a TEAM as he did precludes him from any honours,the ones so honoured deserve to be there not that self serving ego tripper.
    Les Canadiens Toujours !!!

  4. Hi Guys:

    Knew this decision regarding Roy would get a lot of responses. Just want to stir the pot here:

    If we are to take to task Roy’s antics on the ice that fateful game (I’ll leave the other, later stuff aside for now) could not the same be applied to other hab greats? I mean wouldn’t the massacre of an opposing team’s player in an all out brawl (warranted or not) and concluding in the striking of an official (warranted or not) be putting oneself above the team given the inevitable consequences of such actions– especially with the playoffs coming up?

    I can hear the mob approaching to do away with me, but like I said I just wanted to stir the pot and see what turned up….

  5. Subdoxastic, the Rocket was tormented by English-speaking players and management. They thought he was too big for the game and wanted to reign him in. Opposing players like Ted Lindsay in particular went out of there way to call him frog and all sorts of classless names.
    He didn’t put himself above the team. The league made him a scapegoat.
    You can’t compare the Rocket with the Patrick Roy/Mario Tremblay incident. Roy didn’t have to like what happened, but it didn’t mean he had to bail out and say he’ll never play for Montreal again. Such a whiner. Such a child. He should’ve sucked it up and played even harder to teach Tremblay a lesson. Mike Williamson says it right about Roy. (previous comment).
    I have no time for him and shudder at the thought of him coaching the Habs.
    The same as the Rocket? Not a chance.

  6. habs100: UH? How’s about Vezina? Plante? Dryden? Ha, even the Gumper and Charlie when he was on his game? As for l’affaire Tremblay, so what? Sure both of them acted like little kids but Roy simply doesn’t have the necessary credentials to have his sweater retired. If Roy were anglais, there wouldn’t even be a mention of this which is fine given the history and preponderant french fan base of the Habs but please don’t confuse hockey qualifications with other aspects of the game as it is played in Quebec.

    Subdoxastic: LOL. You call that stirring the pot? As Dennis pointed out, sloppy thinking hardly qualifies as such.

  7. BULL!!! The man is being honoured for the performance on the ice. Without him there is no cup in 86 or 93 don’t ever forget that. Also if you really know the circumstances surrounding the leadup to this event it is obvious there were issues between him and the organization. The man is competitive through and through you don’t just take getting shelled lightly. This was an affront to someone who day in day out played his heart out. Sure what he did was stupid but that doesn’t negate his talent, performance and what he meant to the Habs. His Sweater deserves to be retired and fences deserve to be mended. This is a show of class through and through for both the Habs & Roy for burying the hatchet. A true Habs fan would know that.

  8. geoff: No, not bull. Roy’s career performance was simply not sufficiently adequate – only 2 cups (need this simple fact be reapeated ad infinitum) as compared to hmmmm check out the other sweaters up there …hmmmm – nor sufficiently sustained to justify including him amongst the great players up there. And please, as far as I’m concerned the off-ice stuff whatever its nature is irrelevant. (Yes, I think Pete Rose should be in the Hall.) As for St. Pat being the reason why cups were won hmmmm, 10 years apart … hmmm, lOL – now that is bull. Lotta fine players on those two TEAMS and to credit St. Pat as the principal reason for their wins is truly BULL! Sure, welcome him back, have a night recognizing his contributions to the game and to the Habs, by all means mend the fences maybe even get Hairio Mario to shake hands with him but when all is said and done he does not merit having his sweater retired.

    As for the `true Habs fan’ dopiness, UH? been a Habber a lot longer than you and if you had any sense of the history, any sense of the tradition, any sense of the excellence and superb skills and talents and heart and grit and competitive fire of all the players whose sweaters are NOT retired, you might be less inclined to pop off.

  9. LMAO…So you determine that Jersey’s get retired based solely on the number of Stanley Cups won? Whose criteria is that, the Habs or you own? So basically the likelihood that any other Habs Jersey will ever be retired is probably close to nil since the league and game has changed sufficiently to ensure that dynasties will be few and far between.

    Do you know how old i am? You shouldn’t spout off about me as it shows ignorance on your part.

    So again, what criteria do you believe is used to determine what sweaters go up to the rafter? Are you saying that the Habs brass are wrong and you are right? What about Gainey who strongly believes that he almst singlehandedly won them the cup in 86 and deserves to be there? Is that not valid?

    Are you the type of person who holds grudges and never lets people live their mistakes down? Do you hold it against The Rocket for the riots? Do you believe he shouldn’t have been honoured? What about Dryden for his partial retirement when he was at an impasse with his contract? Are you the type that believe the best only ever occurred in their hayday and that technology is the root of all evils?

    Roy is arguably one of the top 3 goalies of all time. He has records that will likely never be broken (11 consecutive overtime wins) not to mention…

    In 1989, 1990, and 1992 Roy won the Vezina Trophy as the NHL’s best goaltender.
    He won the Jennings Trophy (fewest goals allowed) in 1987, 1988, 1989 (all shared with Brian Hayward), 1992, and 2002.
    He led the league in shutouts and goals against average twice, was named a First Team All-Star four times, a Second Team All-Star twice, and played in eleven All-Star games.
    Roy has also won a record three Conn Smythe Trophies as NHL Playoff MVP (1986, 1993, and 2001).

    Among the many goaltending NHL records Roy holds are career wins (551), career games played (1029), career playoff wins (151), and career playoff games played (247).

    So before i go on and lambaste you on your comments i’d like to have an understanding of the criteria you use to determine merit for having your Jersey retired.

    I’m all ears…

  10. Comparing Roy’s merits to those that have not been retired from a previous era doesn’t even make sense. It’s not the same time, it was a different game then. Should every player on the Habs dynasty teams be retired then? Maybe nostalgia is clouding your thinking.

    Maybe you might want to read the following and see if you don’t change your tune a little.


  11. Those are impressive numbers indeed. The problem is, a big chunk of those numbers were with another team. So they’re raising the sweater for what he did behind Joe Sakic and Adam Foote? Maybe they should only raise it halfway up.

  12. I still hold onto my previous post–a player who walks out on his TEAM mid-season does NOT deserve the honour being debated !!
    Les Canadiens Sont La !!!!

  13. in regards to jims comments, he clearly lacks hockey knowledge. True patrick roy only won 2 cups with the canadians but to say his jersey number doesnt belong up there because of that is just plain silly. He is the youngest player in nhl history to win the conn smythe trophy ( 20 years old) and on top of that he won the conn smythe twice while playing with canadians on teams that really had no business winning the cup ( no offence to you habs fans but im sure you’d have to agree). He put together one of the greatest displays of netminding in the 93 playoffs winning an increadible 10 straight overtime games!. On top of this he won 3 vezina trophys with the habs, 4 jennings trophys with the habs, was a 6 time all star with habs, and on top of all of this he holds just about every single meaningful record for goalies in NHL history. Im not denying the fact that patrick roy was a fat head and sometimes a border line idiot. But his stats with the montreal canadians speak for itself and he is more than deserving to have his number hanging with the likes of plante and dryden.

  14. You guys have no clue. He didn’t walk out on the team they were already shopping him around at the time so it is obvious that there was already friction there. We don’t know all the details but the fact that he was already being shopped around prior to the outburst was widely documented. So as most humans might do while under stress they overreact. Someone as passionate as Roy might be even more conducive to do it as a result of his competitive nature. This isn’t a popularity contest. His numbers say it all and to be honest his teammates respected him and loved having him in the room…that should speak volumes. So he didn’t so much as walk out on the team as he was being disrespected by the team as well. Who’s right who’s wrong…it doesn’t matter, the numbers speak for themselves.

  15. RFLMAO: Dennis, this mean `rolling on the floor laughing my ass off’.

    Frst off, let’s address Subdoxastic (cf comment in latest entry): UH? You were so traumatized by big bag der Habinator you were afraid to speak. Now, LOL, you act as if you are some kind of tough guy, as if somehow you `stirred the pot’ …rflmao. Wow! The kiddies sure went after you, eh? Hey, where’s the trauma now? Aren’t you afraid of big bad Geoffy? LOL What a pathetic two-faced fake! Smiddley #???

    As for Geoffy. Hey, you chose to engage in this kind of exchange and so you get what you gave. And, no, Mommy won’t be able to defend you.

    You stupid little boy. Of course I know how old you are: between 7 and nine. However old you think you are or you may appear to be is of no consequence, your childish tantrum clearly demonstrates that you are stunted: toxic wuuuv of mommy dearest, toxic fear of mean daddy, toxic self-hate. Your childish anal-obsessive fixation on Roy – I’m sure you have wet-dreams about him and his oh so big stick – is merely symptomatic of a psychopathology that is severely challenged at best.

    LOL: I simply point out the obvious – STANLEY CUPS are what NHL hockey IS about. Period. There is no argument, no debate, no question about this. All the personal stats mean diddly squat in the absence of Cups and Roy only has two which for a Hab is not enought – lol, count up how many players have more and, uh?, no question of retiring their sweaters. For sure players such as Gartner & Dionne were great but they did not win cups and if they had been Habs with no cups guess what … stupid stupid stupid little boy! Period. How amazingly obtuse, incredibly stupid, astounding willfully dumb can you be? Yeah, you memorized all the stats about your HERO and somehow in your little boy mind that means he IS a hero and therfore anybody who suggests otherwise must be, well, as mean as your Daddy, eh?

    As a true little seven year old you did not read what I wrote: I never indicted Roy for anything personal that was all in your twisted little
    childish mind. And so you attack me personally – hmm, guess what I can do it better if only because you are so transparently childish, so easily swatted: As I noted above, I KNOW what kind of person you are. What happened? Fall into the toilet in your formative years and swallow your own poo? Daddy do you? Mommy still doing you? Pathetic. Somebody disagrees and you start shrieking without really know what was said. Maybe this works with MOmmy but not here.

    I pointed out clearly that the Game had changed and, again, if you had read what I said instead of throwing a silly little tantrum (I’m sure your mommy things you are oh so clever) you would know that, if you had a disagreement, it would be about the extent to which commercialization has corrupted the spirit of the game. HEy, let’s make a very small conceptual leap here (not waste my time spelling the obvious out to you)- of course Gainey will parrot the party line you silly little boy! Feel free to disagree but make sure you know what you are disagreeing with. Can I make things any easier?

    Dennis made the telling comment that, naturally, being the little boy you are, you didn’t acknowledge: In large part Roy’s accomplishments were with the Avalanche, not the Habs. DUH. Retiring the sweater is about being a Hab nothing else you stupid stupid stupid little boy. If the league or the Avalanche decide to honour him, sobeit but based soley only on his on-ice accomplishments with the Habs he does not merit having the Habs retire his sweater – it is a cynical commerical marketing ploy you stupid stupid stupid little boy. Hey, feel free to disagree. Try and think about this and maybe make a substantive coherent argument against it instead of hurling insults … lol, easy to do and you are such an easy target.

    All ears? LOL no RFLMAO! You didn’t hear a word that was said … like the stunted toxic boy you are you merely started shrieking for your obsession and because Mommy Dearest assures you are so clever why you must be right no matter how foolish you sound.

    Again, as for the `modern’ game: nothing has changed! Stupid little boy!~ The principal goal is to win CUPS! UH? The Wings seem to be doing just fine, eh? Hmmm, is hockey so different from other pro sports? Don’t think so? Hmmm, how’s about those Patriots? The Spurs? To expect less of the Habs is hardly in keeping with our tradition, eh? Yeah, you stupid stupid Roy-obsessed hero-worshipping stunted toxic little boy, I would tell you to `grow up’ but it would be wasted on an child whose ears are plugged with Mommy’s Luuuuv.

    Yu can reply or not. LOL. I really have no respect for a little boy who in incapable of thought and reasoned dialogue. I gave you back what you intiated, so next time, before you open your big stupid mouth, maybe you’ll actually think about what is coming out of your anal-obsessive yap.

  16. Awesome. Did you need the dictionary for that one or did you release all your pent up energy over the years from having been ignored all your life? So now you choose to throw out a mish mash of crap above. How long did it take you to write that diatribe…talking about obsessive yap!

    In any event…you have your opinion and you stated very clearly that cups are what it’s all about. In that comment you clearly point out how ignorant you are. Winning cups is a team game…one player can outshine all others but it still remains a team game. If cups are what it’s all about then like i said there likely wont be very many retiring sweaters going forward. What a one dimensional view of things. THe whole picture points to Roy overachieving throughout his career with Mtl and elsewhere. IT’s a recognition of the man, and what he did with the Habs and what he became. If you say it’s all about cups….then you don’t get it.

    So you can as you said “respond if you like” but the bottom line is you don’t really get it and so i am sure you will have a nice lengthy essay of vomit and vindictiveness to share with us all which i look forward to reading…or not! So feel free to exercise your freedom of speech but like i said at least now i know where you are coming from so my position on you has been clarified. Thanks….for nothing!

    Go habs go!

  17. if you think that patrick roys number doesnt deserve to be retired by the canadians simply on the fact he only won 2 stanley cups your just a flat out moron, you may as well say that howie morenz’s number doesnt deserve to be retired either because he only won 3 cups, think about how stupid that is. Im pretty sure Dennis has this site set up to share difference of opinions, not to post ignorant comments that personally slander other bloggers. Have some class guys and keep this website fun.

  18. Gonna break my own rules here and respond to Der Habinator aka Jim:

    I am sorry if I gave anyone the impression that I was afraid of you. I am not. I am weary of your rants and insults and found that they detracted from Mr. Kane’s excellent site. My main complaint with you is the rambling, pop-psych po-mo trash that you spew out. Please, formulate a thesis and present it concisely (I’d appreciate it if you could do so without resorting to childish insults as well). Do this and they will be less painful to read.

    No, I do not consider myself a “tough guy” I just prefer well thought out, logical posts that admit of the possibility of being refutable and are free of syncretism, neoplasm and scatalogical humour.

    I know I probably will regret responding to Der Habinator aka Jim and my apologies to the other readers of this site (I come here everyday for Dennis’ stories and the readers’ comments)if my inability to say no results in yet another bile-filled post by D.H. aka Jim.

  19. If this is how the Habinator would talk to a seven year old, I hope it never has kids. If it does, please be sure to alert the authorities. We don’t need any more shaken babies.

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