Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Canada Day 2014

By Michael J.W. Stickings 

Happy Birthday, Canada!!!

We're 147 years old today.

Born in 1867...

To all my Canadian friends and family, have a safe and happy day. And to everyone else, to all of you from around the world, take a bit of time today to think of us. This is a pretty wonderful country. 

(And to my American friends, enjoy the soccer game against Belgium later. I'm actually not sure whom I'm rooting for. I rarely root for the U.S. in international sports, but soccer is occasionally the exception. But Belgium is also a lovely country, not least with the beer, chocolate, waffles, moules, and frites, and it's hard not to like its team, however trendy a pick. Regardless, however much we love American football, it's fun being part of a truly international competition, with a real world champion, isn't it?)

To help celebrate, here's the great Roger Doucet singing our anthem before a game of the 1978 World Junior Ice Hockey Championship, held from December 22, 1977 to January 3, 1978 in Montreal and Quebec City. This particular game was played at the old Montreal Forum, as you can tell from the Canadiens logo at center ice. (The Soviet Union won the tournament, but the leading scorer was a young kid by the name of Wayne Gretzky.) 

As a hockey-crazed kid in Montreal in the '70s, I grew up with Doucet, as I did with Lafleur, Dryden, Robinson, and the other players on those incredible Canadiens teams. Going to games at the Forum with my dad (including the Stanley Cup clincher against the Rangers on May 21, 1979, when I saw the Habs carry the Cup around the ice, their fourth-straight championship) or watching Hockey Night in Canada with my family on CBC on Saturdays, it was always Doucet's magnificent voice that set the tone. To all of us who are from Montreal, to all of us who love the Habs, there was no one like Doucet, no one who could sing an anthem quite like he could.

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