Les Habitants and La Coupe Stanley

Whether you are a fan of sports or hockey in particular, tonight is a momentous night in sport with the Montreal Canadiens being the first Canadian team to appear in the Stanley Cup finals since the Vancouver Canucks lost to the Boston Bruins in 2011. For the Canadiens themselves, the last time they won and appeared in a Stanley Cup final, was in 1993 when they defeated the Los Angeles Kings who themselves, beat the Toronto Maple Leafs to spoil an all Canadian finals.

Although I am a life-long Boston Bruins fan, I have been quietly rooting for the Canadiens to pull off a Stanley Cup victory to complete goaltender Carey Price’s cabinet of accomplishments with a Stanley Cup ring since he donned a certain jersey for the first time some fifteen years ago.

Local hockey fans will remember seeing Carey as a member of the Hamilton Bulldogs when they were an AHL franchise and the farm team for the Montreal Canadiens. Although we were only able to see Price in a Hamilton jersey for 12 regular season games, he played 22 playoff games in his first season as a Bulldog when he helped deliver Hamilton our first and only Calder Cup championship.

The Bulldogs hold a special place in my heart, as they only franchise I have ever been a season ticket holder for and the inspiration for my first ever published article when they hosted the Houston Aero’s in the 2002-2003 Calder Cup finals. Although Hamilton lost in game 7, it was the largest playoff crowd in AHL history at the time. Those playoffs were also the only time my grandfather and I ever attended a hockey game together.

Although the Bulldogs are no longer part of the AHL, I’ve continued to follow many of the players careers beyond their time on the Bulldogs from P.K.( Pernell-Karl)  Subban, George Laraque, and of course Carey Price.

Montreal has a tough series ahead against last year’s Stanley Cup champions and a team that has been among lead leaders for some time now, but are an exciting and explosive team to watch and this playoffs has perhaps been the best hockey from a goalie who has won many awards and has quite a few championships to his name already; except the coveted Stanley Cup of course.

Below is a list of Just a few of Carey’s championship accomplishments:

Calder Cup Champion – 2007 Calder Cup Championship Series (Hamilton Bulldogs)
Silver Medal – 2005 Word Juniors (Team Canada)
Gold Medal – 2007 World Juniors 2014 (Team Canada)
Olympic Gold – Sochi Olympics in 2014 (Team Canada)

You can browse through Carey’s Wiki page to see his complete playing career including other personal accomplishments.

I never thought I would be rooting for the Montreal Canadiens to win the Stanley Cup but as long as Price is backstopping this team, I’ll be wishing the team well.

Carey was raised in Anahim Lake in central British Colombia, which is a predominantly aboriginal community. He is of the Nuxalk and Southern Carrier heritage on his mother’s side. His mother, Lynda, is the chief of the Ulkatcho First Nation. As well, Price’s maternal grandmother, Theresa Holte, attended the Williams Lake, British Columbia residential school (also known as Cariboo), which operated from 1891 to 1981.

I’ve told my family that tonight, it was important to me that we at least watch the start of the first game of these finals together. The beginning of these games is often entertaining for even the non-sports fan, with my wife stating during the Las Vegas vs. Montreal series that she would watch any game hosted in Las Vegas after watching how they got things started at the beginning of their games. There are always some great stories from the hosts before the event to highlight some of the accomplishments of the players, their stories, and things that will pull at your heartstrings whether they are about a player, staff member, or even a fan as was the case with Laila Anderson in the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals vs. the Boston Bruins, who was suffering from a rare disease that affects the immune system.

From the Montreal Canadiens long playoff drought, the first appearance for Price, to an opportunity for hockey legend Guy Lafleur – who has been fighting a courageous battle with cancer – to see his Canadiens hoist Lord Stanley for the first time in 28 years, there are many touching stories that will be shared on both sides over the next couple of weeks but for me, all eyes will be on my favourite goaltender of all time and a wonderful humanitarian, Carey Price.

Best of luck to both teams in this serires. It proves to be a fun series. If you haven’t watched a game this post season, it will be odd watching 18,000+ fans live in Tampa Bay tonight. This hasn’t been the case in Quebec yet, with only 3,500 fans watching inside the Bell Centre due to COVID-19 restrictions, when the Habs defeated the Las Vegas Golden Knights in game 6 to advance to the Stanley Cup Finals. I am not sure how many were outside the Bell Centre that night partying on what was also St. Jean the Baptiste Day, but it was a lot.

Let’s hope for lots of Ole! Ole, Ole, Ole!

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