Walked 11 kilometers today through the streets of downtown Montreal, the third time I’ve done this. Although my beer gut doesn’t seem to be shrinking, and I’d like to know why.
Excuse me while I go to the fridge for a beer.
I began at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel, where I believe I stayed the first time I was in Montreal, when I was about 12. Although it seems swankier than I remember. Maybe it had a lobby facelift in the past 50 years. Maybe I just think I stayed there.
It’s also where John and Yoko staged their Bed-In for Peace, so of course I rode the elevator to the 17th floor so I could see the door.
I walked for blocks, sort of in a big circle, and I stopped in at the Bell Centre where I visited the Habs Hall of Fame. I loved it so much. It just wasn’t big enough, that’s all.
When I saw game-worn sweaters of Morenz, Joliat, Emile Bouchard, Rocket, Beliveau, Harvey, Pocket Rocket, Lafleur, and others, I got quivers down my backbone.
When I saw Aurele Joliat’s little cap he wore while playing, I got the shakes down the kneebone.
Then I took a tour of the Bell Centre, which was another lucky thing. I didn’t know I’d be doing any of this when I approached the building. I was just kind of casing the joint and everything happened to be open.
And the weirdest thing happened during the tour.
Several years ago, a guy in San Jose named Jerry Chan emailed me and told me he grew up in Montreal and was a Habs fan when he was a kid, and from that email, we struck up a friendship, emailing back and forth often about hockey and Montreal and all kinds of good stuff. Then I didn’t hear from him for about a year.
Midway through the tour today, a fellow from the group walked over and asked me if I had a blog. Then he asked my name. Then he said he was Jerry Chan! Imagine that! He said the only picture he’d seen of me was from a few years ago that I had posted from a time when I was in Russia, but for some reason, he figured it was me.
Real nice fellow, Jerry Chan. It was great to meet him after so many emails. Especially by accident like that.
This, of course, is the Canadiens’ dressing room, which, the tour guy said, is the smallest dressing room in the league, partly because they wanted to keep it as similar as possible to the Forum dressing room. The other part I don’t remember. Something about moving from the Forum after the season had already started.