Saturday, April 12, 2008

The mayor of Montreal is an idiot

By Michael J.W. Stickings

I was born in Montreal. I spent much of my youth there. I played hockey. And I became a passionate, life-long fan of the Montreal Canadiens. (They and the Pittsburgh Steelers are my two great sports loves.) My favourite player was Guy Lafleur, #10, the great right-winger. I went to many games at the old Forum, usually with my dad, and I watched some of the greatest teams of all time win Stanley Cup after Stanley Cup, four in a row, in the late-'70s. I was even at Game 5 of the 1979 Stanley Cup finals between the Canadiens and New York Rangers. The Habs (les Habitants), as they are affectionately called, won the game, and the series, 4-1. And I saw them carry the Stanley Cup around the ice. It was incredible.

The Habs have won the Cup two times since then, in 1986 and in 1993. We've had some good teams over the years, since those great teams of the '70s, and the 1993 run was genuinely impressive, but there hasn't been as much excitement as there is now in a long time. The Habs finished first in the Eastern Conference after an improbably successful regular season, surpassing even such recent powerhouses as the Ottawa Senators. Before the season, some of the so-called experts didn't even think the Habs would make the playoffs (which is to say, finish in the top 8 in the conference). I watched the game Thursday night, the first game of their first round series against old foes the Boston Bruins, a decisive 4-1 victory, and, even on TV, the energy at the Bell Centre, the Habs' new home, was amazing to behold. Montreal is the best hockey city in the world. Habs fans are the best hockey fans in the world. And it was incredible. Even if they don't win the Cup, even if they don't make it to the finals, even if they don't make it that far in hockey's second season, it will have been a great year. There is excitement now, but there is even more promise for the future.

The city's mayor is seeing red -- and white and blue -- after firefighters painted several fire stations to show their
support for the Montreal Canadiens.

As the Habs prepared to face the Boston Bruins in the first game of their playoff series on Thursday, Mayor Gerald Tremblay was getting ready to send in work crews to clean up the impromptu paint jobs.

"And we're going to send the bill to the (firefighters') union... it's tolerance zero," he said.

As far as I'm concerned, the people of Montreal, and Habs fans everywhere, should have zero tolerance for such idiocy. Tremblay insists he has "Habs fever," it's just that he doesn't "put graffiti or paint in the windows of [his] house." Nonsense. It's not vandalism, it's the healthy spiritedness of the genuine fan. "It was simply to get caught in the hockey fever that's now sweeping Montreal," said one firefighter, and he's absolutely right. This isn't about the union, and no damage was done. "We just wanted to lighten the atmosphere," he said. Well, both the mayor and the city should lighten up. The people of Montreal and Habs fans everywhere are excited about their team. And rightly so.

Go Habs go!

Below, from the Globe: "Firefighters show their support for the Montreal Canadiens in the Stanley Cup playoffs at a fire station in east-central Montreal. The station has been ordered by the city to remove the 'graffiti.'"

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  • Michael

    When's the next mayoral election? ... Sounds like he's not thinking ahead ...

    Is he any relation to the former Hab great, Guy Tremblay?


    By Blogger 13909 Antiques, at 12:09 AM  

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