There’s a brand new and highly-anticipated book about Patrick Roy, written by his father Michel, on the market now, with all the details at Joe Pelletier’s site, but I know one person who probably doesn’t feel like reading it right now.
And when Patrick Roy has his sweater raised to the rafters at the Bell Centre on November 22nd, this person’s television in Pickering, Ontario won’t be tuned in either.
Mike, who has bled Canadiens colours for five decades, says he won’t watch the game that night. He doesn’t agree with what will happen, and he’s angry. Because for him, wearing the Montreal Canadiens sweater comes with a clause. A clause that says it’s an honour to wear it.
For Mike, it’s all about that infamous night on Dec. 2, 1995 when Roy allowed nine goals against Detroit, and when he wasn’t yanked by coach Mario Tremblay, skated to the Montreal bench, walked over to president Ronald Corey, and declared that he’d never play another game with the Habs.
This didn’t sit well with Mike. He’s a fan who believes wearing the sweater is so much more than about bad games, or embarrassment, or even big personal numbers. It’s about wearing the sweater, and that’s it.
And so he said recently on this site that he won’t be watching that night when Roy has the sweater go up, and I asked him why, exactly.
All he said was just go back to recent comments from him, and so I did.
“To walk out on a team as he did precludes him from any honours,” he explained. “Roy thought he was bigger than the team, even dictating when he would practice or not. Mario Tremblay had the CH tattooed on his behind, and came from an era that cherished the right and honour to be a Canadien.
“The previous players who’ve been honoured were true Montreal Canadiens, not this self-serving ego tripper.”
For me personally, it’s also hard to understand how a player can simply quit like Roy did. And maybe Mario Tremblay was completely wrong to leave him in that night like he did. But I believe Roy should’ve just sucked it up, played harder in future games, and taught Tremblay through his actions on the ice that you don’t embarrass the star goalie like that.
Roy shouldn’t have quit on his teammates and Tremblay shouldn’t have done what he did. He and Tremblay had had a volatile relationship from the beginning, with both making jokes about the other’s ability to speak English, and Roy disagreeing often on how Tremblay handled other players.
So there was a personality conflict, and I suppose fireworks were bound to happen.
The younger generation supports Roy completely through all of this. I’ve seen this by comments on this site in previous Roy stories. They believe Roy almost single handedly won both Stanley Cups for the team in 1986 and 1993. They believe his numbers outweigh everything else. They get very upset and angry. And that’s good.
They’ll be watching, and they’ll be buying the book.
But every side has their story, and Mike’s stance is clear and has its own validity.
This is a guy who watches his Habs faithfully and loyally, in every game throughout the season, and has for years. He wears his Montreal sweater, cheers loudly, drinks his beer from his Canadiens beer mug, still worships Jean Beliveau, and lives and dies with each win and loss.
But that night he won’t be watching. Or reading the book either.