I grew up watching players like Robinson, Gainey, Lemaire, Lafleur, Shutt, Dryden...The list goes on and on! Generations of great hockey players have come and gone for this great franchise. I have put them on a pedestal above all else for the most part of my 37 years. When i was a kid, I would fall asleep following a Habs game that I listened to on an old radio tucked underneath my pillow. I can't remember the last game I didn't either watch on TV or listen to on radio.
With all these games I witnessed, I never had the opportunity to see them play LIVE. Being from Moncton New Brunswick, the opportunity to go to Montreal to catch a game didn't come up too often.
Two years ago, my chance had finally arrived. The Montreal Canadiens were coming to Moncton to play the Boston Bruins in an Exhibition game. I am sure it will never compare to a playoff game, but for me, finally getting to see my idols up close, was just as special. Unfortunately, fate had other plans.
I had my tickets bought and stored in a safe place 3 months in advance! As game day drew closer, I was getting real excited; my feet barely touching the ground! Then catastrophe hit....The week of the game, my boss decides that he needs me to be on the north shore, in Baie Comeau, for some work I felt, could've waited a week! But, some things just aren't meant to be...like me seeing that game and me working for that company! I quit a few months later.
Two years later, September 19-2007, my heroes are coming back! This time, I wasn't going to be denied. I had my tickets stored in a safe place, once again.
5:30 PM AST...time to go! We got to the game well in advance to take in the atmosphere and pregame warm up. I was like a kid in a candy store! Seeing some of my favorite players up close, most of which I feel I know personally. After all, I spend 82 games a year plus playoffs (I know, I know) with these guys...my wife is a bit jealous. Some of my favorites, such as Saku weren't there. But it didn't matter all that much. I WAS AT A HABS GAME!
Such as it would be, they totally sucked in the first period, getting down 3-0 to the Islanders. Watching the game on TV, I'd be fairly upset, giving it to the color guy for missing the point with his analysis. But not tonight! Down 3-0, I was still sporting a big smile, wearing a special cap I received from a good friend, a member of Hockeybuzz....A Bruins fan no less! Take a bow, B Bruins!
It was a 3-1 final, but it didn't matter! Not tonight! Tonight I was taking in what I had waited 37 years for. I got the opportunity to see my first game, with my best hockey pal, my Dad!
For all of you living in and around MTL, be glad and proud to support our team, through thick and thin. Do it for those of us who can only watch the games, cheering in the silence of our living rooms.
Thanks for reading.
PS. Kovalev got the loudest cheer. Not one boo! And the place was jam packed with Habs fans. I think I saw 4 Islanders jerseys. There are great Habs fans in the Maritimes.