Tag Archives: Habs

That LeBois

Today I’d like to present another star from days gone by, Gaston LeBois.

Looking back now, Gaston LeBois admits it was his father who was mostly responsible for his hockey career.

The senior LeBois would flood the backyard for hours on end, alone and in the dark, and it was unfortunate that he chose July and August to do this. Young Gaston would play and play on this homemade rink, but after coming close to drowning, eventually abandoned it for an arena in winter.

His dad never forgave him, but Gaston found that he enjoyed frozen water over unfrozen water.

In 1962 Gaston was finally called up to the big team and never looked back. He became one of the finest mediocre benchwarmers in the history of the game, and it’s something he’s proud of, even to this day. “It was just nice to be dry after playing on my dad’s rink,” he admitted in a recent interview.

But he wasn’t always a bench warmer. During the 1972 series against the Bulgarians and with the team desperately needing a goal, LeBois jumped over the boards when coach Sinders wasn’t looking, called for a pass but missed, but carried on. Big Bill Esponosa grabbed the puck and threw it out to LeBois, and with just 34 seconds left in the game and a nation holding its collective breath, LeBois fanned on it, punched out the referee, and because his team lost, a riot ensued outside Rue Ste. Carla as thousands of angry fans wanted to find Gaston and kick him in the balls.

They say no one was better inside the blueline and I agree. I’ve been to the Blueline Tavern and to this day, oldtimers gather round and drink and spit and tell stories about how Gaston could chug-a-lug and womanize for days on end and still be a mediocre bench warmer when called upon.

LeBois also scored six times in one game. Their names were Lola, Brigitte, Gloria, Xaviera, Penelope, and Sophia. Gaston has always said that this feat ranks up there as one of the biggest moments in his career.

Yes, he was a beauty, all right. Part of a dying breed. He’d kick and punch and take on all comers to get what he was after. Of course, the team wished he had this much spirit and drive playing hockey as he did with bartenders.

Gaston’s retired now and living a simple life on the west coast. But many fans and teammates still remember him, and they all agree on one thing…… that he was such an asshole back then.

 

 

Maroon Money Matters

That other Montreal hockey team, the Maroons, which folded in 1938, was as colourful a team as any, and it really is a shame they’re no longer with us. But in the 1930s, the city of Montreal could only support one team, and so the Maroons bowed out.

They had some good stories, though, while they were in business, (although I don’t remember where I got these stories).

Maroon defenceman Dunc Munro was given the largest three-year contract ever offered a player at that time, and in his contract, Munro demanded that he have the rights to print and distribute all the programs for Forum events. He later told Frank Selke that he netted $50,000 profit on the programs per season.

$50,000 in the 1930s works out to more than $400,000 in today’s money.

The Canadiens and Maroons had such an intense rivalry that after one night when the Maroons beat the Canadiens, one of the team directors was so happy he gave Maroons’ star Hooley Smith (in the photo) a fully-equipped farm in Quebec.

Maroons players were big on playing the stock market, and they did really well with the help of fans who gave them tips. The stock market became so important to the players that at one practice, only two showed up because the rest were downtown counting their riches from a rising market.

These guys lived high and mighty with their new wealth until one day in 1929, the stock market crashed and everyone lost their shirts. But it turned out to be a good thing because after the shock had subsided, they settled down and became a fine and dangerous team after they began concentrating on sticks, not stocks.

Club de Cleveland

Because of the 1930s’ Great Depression, with money being as scarce as Habs goals, it was decided that having two teams in Montreal just wasn’t economically feasible. So the Montreal Maroons, winners of the Stanley Cup in 1926 and 1935, folded after the 1938 season, leaving the Canadiens to carry on.

The entire 1930s had been a struggle. In the early part of the decade, the Montreal Canadiens were doing so poorly both on the ice and at the box office that they were considering moving to Cleveland. (At least they could have kept the same crest.)

And to make matters worse, the Canadiens were even thinking about folding a couple of years after the Maroons had bit the dust, leaving Montreal with no NHL team at all. So you know what that means? It means we could be Leaf fans right now. Or Bruins fans. Or cricket fans.

Young Guy Called Up

My Feb. 11, 2010 post:

PC_070623subban-pk_n

PK Subban has been summoned from Hamilton to play in Philadelphia Friday night.

This is terrific news because the young buck is considered a keeper and a big part of the future on the Habs blueline. But it also reminds us that it’s a little bit like preseason in Montreal right now, with guys being called up or sent down on a regular basis.

It’s never boring with the Montreal Canadiens.

(PK played two regular season games for the Habs during this call up before being sent back to Hamilton, and came back to the big team for 14 playoff games that year. He collected two assists in his two games, while in the playoffs had a goal and seven assists.

His NHL career fully began the following season, 2010-11, when he played in 77 games.)

Good Wax is Good

floor wax adThe last thing you want is junior scratching up your expensive hardwood floor when he and his friends decide to put the blades on and skate around the living room.

So what’s the answer? Simoniz Paste Wax, of course, for the floor with that Extra Hard Finish.

Junior and the gang can skate all day and all evening on your Simoniz- waxed floor while you and your partner are upstairs getting naked, content in the knowledge that Simoniz will keep your beautiful floor in perfect condition until the final whistle is blown.

Don’t settle for anything less. Nine out ten hockey moms say that when they let the neighbourhood gang play road hockey in the living room, the performances are great both downstairs and up.

Just a quick little finish with a rag and Simoniz does the job, and when junior grows up to play in the big leagues, he’ll remember with fondness those days when he shot and scored in the comfort of his own home.

Remember – Simoniz, with that extra hard finish.

Simoniz – Rough play? No penalties.

Simoniz – keeping junior busy while your back gets scratched, not the floor.


Ancient Habs Fans

I was watching a National Geographic special about how they built the pyramids, and we followed an archeologist as he went through some previously unexplored hallways. And on one of the walls were some old writings from one of the ancient workers who had been building this particular pyramid.

There, with my own eyes I saw it, and right away I got my camera and took a picture of my TV screen.

Somehow the Egyptians knew about the Habs 4500 years ago. Here’s the proof, on a pyramid wall.

It looks like it to me anyway.

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Rocket Signing The Orillia Book

The Rocket came to Orillia in 1962 to say hello and drop some pucks at the annual Variceties event at the arena, but something behind the scenes happened. The local sports reporter from the Packet and Times, who knew that I had a Habs scrapbook, asked if he could use one of my Richard pictures for the local program they were putting out.

I let him of course, and in return the reporter gave me this original photo he’d taken of the Rocket signing the Orillia registry.

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Maurice Richard coming to Orillia was a big thing for me, that’s for sure. He was my hero, which is something that’s never changed over the years.

Here’s the program, with my picture of Rocket I lent to the newspaper.

The Rocket signed it, but the pen was beginning to run out of ink.

Rocket 3

Rocket 2

Orillia Var

A hockey friend of mine, Warren Howes, sent a team picture (below) from that night, with his younger brother, the goalie, in the front row.

As you can see, the entire team is wearing Habs sweaters but it appears they might have been worn to make Maurice happy. The kids had either their team sweaters underneath, or Leafs sweaters, which is what Warren thinks.

You can see the Rocket standing behind the boys. And in my pile of Habs stuff here in Powell River is a helmet identical to the one the kid in the front row, third from left, is wearing

Rocket in Orillia