Some Habs Fans Are An Embarrassment

An old friend of mine, JW, was at the Habs-Senators game in Ottawa Saturday night, and he wrote in the comments that some fans from Montreal who came up to Ottawa on the charters wouldn’t stand or take their hats off for the national anthem.

 Is this one of the reasons why there’s so many Habs haters out there? How can you not have the common decently to stand while O Canada is being played? Oh, you don’t like Canada, you say, and would prefer to not be a part of it? Then don’t come to Ontario, where most people like Canada? If you were at a bullfight in Spain, would you not stand for the Spanish anthem? Or ‘God Save The Queen’ at a Manchester United match?

 You’re a fan of Josh Gorges, and he’s from Kelowna. Tom Kostopoulos is a Mississauga boy. Matt D’Agostini, who I’m sure you cheered like crazy for when he scored, is from Sault Ste. Marie.

 We’re all in this together as good, decent Habs fans. We’re from everywhere. Please leave the politics out of it. Show some respect for the anthem. Try to be mature. Is it that hard to stand and take your hat off?

18 thoughts on “Some Habs Fans Are An Embarrassment”

  1. I was at the game – and yes, I’m a Habs fan who came up from Montreal to see the game – and I stood up. I didn’t even think twice about it. That’s ridiculous that some people wouldn’t do it…. Like we really needed to give people another reason to hate us….

  2. Thanks for that, ep. I think I really needed to hear that. I don’t understand some people and I’m quite angry right now. You’ve made me feel a little better.

  3. That is sad! And sorry to realize the US and Canada have some rather unfortunate things in common. Humans are humans, I guess. But I can tell they don’t stop by here much…too bad. They need manner lessons.

  4. I don’t understand this either. I’ve never seen anyone seated during the anthems at the Bell Center… In fact many of us (myself included) sing along.

  5. Take heart Dennis that it is getting better than it was. When I used to go to games in the mid-90s you would be in a minority sometimes if you stood. And to hear singing at the Bell Centre was unheard of.

    The people who show their protest still are in a shrinking minority and have not learned that disrespecting the tradition of the anthem does not help their cause.

    Indeed, I don’t think they play the national anthems at bullfights and they certainly don’t at Manchester United games. Perhaps the Europeans (imagine Northern Spain) have learned over time that trotting out the anthem at a sporting event could incite things they’d rather not see in a gathered mass. In fact, anthem shunning and an occasional boo session aside, North American sports fans do their continent a credit with their behaviour (yes, I’ve been to soccer matches in Rome…)

  6. I have witnessed people in Calgary not stand up for the anthem…I guess Alberta fan are an embarrassment and hate Canada too…

    I have seen people at the ACC do the same…

  7. This is kind of odd to me. When I attend Habs games in Montreal EVERYONE stands up for both the American and Canadian anthems. Not sure what kind of goons are traveling to Ottawa for Habs games. Probably the ones who riot during the playoffs. They certainly don’t represent the bulk of us.

    As a die hard Habs fan I apologize for the disrespect.

  8. This might be going off-topic a bit, but can someone please tell me what is up with the Bell Center crowd booing everyone and their mother now? It wasn’t like this before… Whoever you are, you make us look like primitive apes, making even the Philly fans appear decent by comparison.
    I mean, what in the world has Radek Bonk ever done to you?? Why boo him? Why boo Mark Streit for god’s sake?
    Sorry, that was my rant… And Dennis I understand about being pissed off, it really cranks me up too.

  9. Gotta wonder if perhaps the folks not standing weren’t just a bunch of jackholes who rarely even get away from their own tavern and so, being in another town, felt like “rebels” by not standing. You know, getting lubed with cheap beer in the charters and find some weird sense of courage from the bottom of the bottle.
    Then again, as topham mentioned, anthems are a relatively new thing. They started playing them at games during the war—WWII, I believe—as a way to drum up patriotism.

  10. You said: “Please leave the politics out of it”

    What do you think of this: No more anthems played at hockey (or other sports) games.

    One has to ask and realise what the original purpose of playing the anthem was. And why it remains…

    For some folks, there is no point in standing for something they don’t believe in.

    Myself, I stand but if someone chooses not to, that’s their choice. It isn’t a black mark on one’s character not to stand. I might even ask the person politely why they choose not to stand. Or maybe research the reasons people have made those types of gestures.

    That said, I was born in Quebec and I believe in Quebec staying in Canada and am a proud Canadian and Quebecker simultaneously. Like most Quebeckers (as the referenda showed)I am not interested in separation.

    Unfortunately, there remain ongoing issues regarding Anglo-Franco relations both inside and outside of Quebec. For some, not standing is a comment on those issues.

    There are going to be folks in every group who don’t agree or are part of a vocal minority. That’s their right as long as they are peaceable about it.

    It would be nice to separate pro sports from politics and many do so by overlooking certain aspects. But others do not.

    If a hockey game is not a place for politics, perhaps some steps could be made to remove any political overtones.

    I suggest ending the practice of singing the anthems. In games involving the US and Canada, what is the point? Both teams’ rosters will be a mix of US and Canadian players. We certainly don’t play any of the European anthems despite a good mix of players from that part of the world.

  11. I fully agree with the previous statement (“No more anthems played at hockey (or other sports) games”).

    Why would sports mix with politics? I actually find it quite silly, as if we have some sort of need to show ourselves (and players from other nationalities) that we have not forgotten we are still Canadians or Americans (although Americans… well… are Americans and will always keep putting up their national amblems in the world’s face).

    I love politics, would that be on the national or international stage (I have a bachelor degree in Political Science), but national anthems prior to a hockey game (and I insist: a game)? Does this not trivialize such a sacred symbol that represents much more then a pre-game show?

    This is my personal opinion and am glad to read something different then my own perspective on this. But personaly, I will not stand up for our national anthem or for a US anthem. And not because I want my little province to “seperate” or because I do not like our American neighbours (although sometimes quite proud & cocky), but simply because I’m only there to watch a game of hockey. H-O-C-K-E-Y. Why do I have to be remembered for a hockey game we have only two countries in North America? I’ll have my personal knowledge & readings do that, not Gary Bettman or some odd tradition.

    That being said, if you wish to stand up during the songs, I will respect that of course. Be my guest, as long as you think this will make the Habs win that night!

    P.S. Any of you “standers” stand up for the national anthem when watching the game… on TV???

  12. I believe politics should be kept out of sports too. That being said, seeing the reactions of people here about people not standing up to the anthem, I’d say we are currently mixing politics and sports. Ever cared to ask those “jackholes” if they meant disrespect to those around them and those they cheer by not standing up? It’s always easier to decide of the meaning of the other guy’s action without asking him what it’s all about… I tought we’d learned something back in the 90’s…

    I mean, none of you guys ever wonder why it is that they show the anthem on the CBC broadcast while RDS never shows it? I’m all for keeping politics out of sports; homme de sept-iles sure has a point.

  13. DK There are a-holes in all areas of this Great nation ! There are the ones who feel it’s OK to talk loudly on Cell phones while we all try to have a nice meal out. Theres the a-holes that don’t fathom the fact it’s not polite to wear your ball cap while having dinner in a nice restaurant, at the bar in a Roadhouse is one thing. Either they wer’nt taught proper manners or as I’ve said they are just borish a-holes !! This applies to the few “Knobs in Ottawa”. We should all show proper respect what ever the occasion !!
    Cheers from the East !!!

  14. James – I hate the booing. I believe it’s done because fans think by booing ex-Habs they’ll psyche them out to not score on us or something. I used to believe it were just the drunken droogs in the rafters, but I’ve told many small children to shutup and stop booing. When the little kids do it, it’s disturbing.

    I only boo at refs. Only when they deserve it though. (like Chris Lee…)

    But I guess booing is less hurty… My dad told me stories of how they used to throw their chairs, and not just at opposing players but at like OUR players.

  15. I am always surprised by how many of us react to certain things. For example, a great number of people find explicit sexual acts obscene. Unimaginative and boring, yes – once u’ve seen one u’ve seen `em all. But I don’t find them obscene. Murdering and torturing and maiming is obscene. Child abuse is obscene. Stuffing other critters into disgusting cages is obscene. Similarly, the term `raw’ is used presumably for violent/explicit/ultra-rude programs. I suppose there is some merit to such a usage although I shy away from it because for the most part these kinds of so-called `raw’ shows are contrived and as such offer little insight into the substance of what it is they are supposedly addressing. For me `raw’ is better applied to, yup, your site Dennis Kane. It was this quality that first attracted me to it and I am very happy to see that it is still very much in evidence. Hehe, I won’t `riff’ on `rawness’ here but suffice it to say that the various responses to your blog very much exemplify it. Really good stuff. Amazing, really, how sports can, as it were, slam us into ourselves. That said, much as I appreciate and respect the opinions and feelings expressed here, I am surprised that anybody would think that professional sports (I include the Olympics here) and much of amateur sports could be somehow devoid of political import. On the contrary, sport is very much a political tool so much so that I would venture to say that contemporary athletes and sports reporters have a much more immediate and profound opinion on issues of non-sporting political relevance whether by direct commentary or otherwise than the supposed political pundits and politicians – cf the athletes for Obama. Certainly, not playing `anthems’ would have little or no impact on the real political significance of NHL games or CFl games or any other games for that matter. The reality is that sports is a unifying and `identifying’ force – c’mon the Habs are the poster child for this truth! Thus, getting upset about others not conforming to what one thinks/believes is relevant to a sporting event lies at the heart of political reality. And, the so-called `art-of-politics’ is very much concerned with mediating the tensions that arise from these inherent? conflicts. My point? Dont’ try and pretend that sports is apolitical. Ha! Not by a loooong shot. Play the anthems. Stand or not as you wish. If others choose to not do so, rather than getting pissed off, try to understand why they would take such a `political’ stance (again, in Habbian terms, it would help to know about phrases such as `maudit anglais’, les autres and `tete carree’ ..hehehe). Really, it’s no big deal. If they start shooting you because you do stand and/or vice versa then we have a genuine problem. Otherwise, it seems to me that if people can choose to do one or the other without fear of violent retaliation, this is a good thing, a hopeful thing …. not a bad thing at all. Personally, I am, like Dennis in that I think it is not only respectful but simple common sense to `When in Rome, do as the Romans do.’ but, it seems to me, that Romans were not and still are not always in agreement.

  16. For all the cries to keep politics out of hockey, I ask if anyone reading this has cheered with a patriotic zeal during the Olympic hockey tournament? On a certain (albeit small) level we’ve all brought politics to the hockey table. I remember in days of yore, the Canada vs. USSR series were a swirling hotbed of political emotion.

    I get Dennis’ point, showing respect is something reasonable people can agree on. I was in the U.S. this summer watching the Mets, and didn’t think twice about standing up for Old Glory. I may not have liked Bushies America, but I would never disrespect another country.

    Hey, and I think I might fall in love with Obama’s America!

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