Being a Canadiens fan in Leaf country isn’t always easy.
Regardless of records or standings we are constantly the fodder of jokes and ridicule about our team. Memories of the last time the Leafs won the head to head match-up, and even verbal abuse are thrown in our direction any time that the opportunity presents itself to waiting fans of the Maple Leafs.
Now, I should note that not all of the members of Leaf Nation are like this. It’s the same as the Red Sox Nation hating on the Yankees. The feelings are all there, but only a few feel the need to come right out and spew the profanities.
But it’s tough for us strong, proud fans of the Montreal Canadiens to fight back. Every Maple Leaf fan is aware and used to the fact that their team hasn’t won a Stanley Cup since 1967. And while we aren’t pleased with the fact that the Habs haven’t won since Sir Patrick led the way in 1993, at least we can remember beating Gretzky and the Kings… after they beat the Leafs to get to us.
Because Leaf fans have been hit over the head with the 1967 stick so hard for so long they don’t even feel it anymore. And they don’t even seem to care sometimes. Don’t get me wrong. I know that they desperately want to win. And some may say that they deserve to, but time and talent will have to determine that.
We have to drop down to the level of attacking their goaltenders (weak) and ownership (greedy) and media over coverage (not their fault) to show how much we dislike them and love us.
There are fans of the Bleu, Blanc et Rouge hidden in pockets all over the country. At any time on the next Habs game day log on to your Twitter account and search #gohabsgo I promise that I won’t be the only flashing the symbol.
I live in Toronto now and grew up about an hour east of the city by way of highway 401 and I have always been a Habs fan. It was handed down like an heirloom from my father to my brother and me. And we both ran with it. There are Habs things at my mom’s place still even though neither of us has lived there in years. There’s almost always a Canadiens calendar somewhere in either his or my possession. And right now I have 2 Canadiens sweatshirts and a hat at home in the apartment just waiting for game day.
School wasn’t always easy, everyone was cheering for the Leafs except for me and one dude that loved him some Boston Bruins hockey. We may have been the most unlikely alliance ever formed among hockey fans, but we made it work. Until our teams had to face-off of course.
On my grade 8 class trip we visited the then Molson Centre (now Centre Bell) and got to see the press room, set of Coach’s Corner, the Stanley Cup banners hanging in the rafters and the home dressing room. It was one of the most amazing things that a little Habs fan could have seen and experienced.
Then we get back to now, to reality, to a place where the Leafs are the number one news no matter what the reason. Hockey is King in Canada, and in Toronto the Leafs are first class citizens and everyone else in the proletariat.
But no matter what we’re told, we’ll continue on. We, the proud fans of the 100 years old Montreal Canadiens will continue to cheer for our boys and wait for the glory days to return. And we’re all hoping they come to us before they come to the Leaf Nation.