Sunday, October 01, 2006

9 or 10

I'm watching Hockey a People's History.
I wish I had my little number 9 Canadiens jersey.
I was five years old when I became a Canadiens fanatic, Rocket was in his last year. My Dad bought me a Habs jersey and my little brother a Maple Leafs one.
I have stayed a Habs fan. Les Glorieux. Les Canadiens sont La!
My little brother is dead, but he was and is still, I'm sure, also a Habs fan though he got stuck with the Leafs shirt.
When I think about my 47 years of Canadiens worship, three players, only, stand out. The Rocket, Le Gros Bill and The Flower. Maurice, Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur. This small group of three among I suppose thirty or more spectacular superstars who have played for my team. I won't get into the goalies, Ken Dryden (who has become a friend) , Gump, Bunny, Roy, et al. For Habs fans its how fast you skate; how little you care about anything but getting ahead of the other 10 skaters, not how many pucks you get in front of.
Guy looked fast standing still. Maurice looked fierce when speaking at banquets. Jean was calmest when things were most turbulent.
They are my heroes, as a Canadian. And a Canadiens fan.
They stirred most of a nation to big dreams, and the thought that you can come from Thurso, Three Rivers or Montreal Est and become a national hero.
For me, the ultimate Canadien was Guy, even though he was a falling star when he retired. He thrilled we fans for years a couple of times a week. I'm sure that Maurice would have found Guy lacking - would have thought he could have been more if only he had been more aggressive.
Ya know, it thrills me to remember these times. I thank the Ceeb for this show. Even the retrospective of Abby Hoffman as an 8 year old hockey superstar in a boys league in St. Catharines.
Hockey keeps me forever young.

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