All of this got me thinking – well that and the introduction of a blog post about a week ago from one of my favorite hockey bloggers (JT from blogspot.habsloyalist.com). She wrote a piece about the new marketing initiative where the first star throws pucks to the crowd, but in the introduction she wrote about being a hockey fan or a Habs fan.
Am I a hockey fan? Or am I a Habs fan? I think I am a Habs fan first, and a hockey fan second. I love the game of hockey, and appreciate the great players of the game, but when they come to town to play the Habs all bets are off. It’s not a black and white answer, it’s more like the Kinsey Scale of sexuality
So why am I a Habs fan? Why did I endure the terrible 90’s and early 2000’s? It’s not like I know any of the players personally or bet large sums of money on the games. The only reason I cheer is emotional and there is very little background to substantiate this overwhelming emotional response. Sure, my dad likes hockey, but he was actually a Black Hawks fan growing up. My mom did work at the old Forum but that was way before I was born and she’s never been much of a hockey fan at all. What is it about the Montreal Canadiens that justifies me putting my marriage in jeopardy every time I choose the bleu, blanc, rouge over my wife?
I think it comes down to me being a romantic. I love the energy the sport creates and I love the feeling of this city when the Habs are on a roll. It is very likely that if I lived in any original 6 city, I would have been a fan of that team – if I grew up in Boston, I would have been a Bruins fan, if I grew up in Toronto, (omg I can’t believe I am about to say this) I would have been a Leafs fan. I love the Habs because I love my city. I love the Habs because of their history and how that history has impacted the way this city developed. I love them because when things are tough in Quebec politically, the Montreal Canadiens are often the only common ground this city has.
With that said, I take back my original answer. I think I am actually a hockey fan first and a Habs fan second. I don’t get the riled up about the Alouettes, I was generally bored at Expo games, and I’ve never watched the Impact play. But hockey…well, that’s a different story. I play hockey about twice a week, I watch hockey 3 times a week, I really enjoy going to Juniors games, and nothing makes me happier than when my 4-year old nephew comes to town and asks to play hockey with me.
I hate clichés, but it’s probably the truest Canadian stereotype there is – hockey is the tie that binds this large country together. As a Canadian who is a Candien’s fan I will name-call Crosby four times a year, but then, once every four years, I’ll buy a jersey with this name on it and call him the great Canadian hero.