As many of you know I am a HUGE Montreal Canadiens fan. I have many fond memories of attending Forum games. I received Jean Beliveau’s autograph on many occasions. He was always a gentleman; he didn’t pander to his fans, but if you asked politely he was always sure to sign his name.
My sister Theresa too, loved the Habs. She attended many games with my father, it was always a treat to sit in the VIP box that my dad’s company leased. Theresa insisted on collecting hockey cards at a time when no girl ever dreamed of doing such a thing.
As you also know, this is the Canadiens 100 season and things are progressing in a most embarrassing fashion. The team has fired its coach. With less than a month in the season they are barely clinging to a playoff spot. It’s not the way many of us would have it, given the team finished first in their conference a year ago.
Well it’s a rainy day here in North Carolina and I have some spare time on my hands. I was going through my dad’s old records and found a 78 I thought I should drag up to inspire the beloved Bleu Blanc Rouge: the 1955 “classic”, Saga of Rocket Richard by Bob Hill and his Canadian Country Boys.
It tells the tale of the Rocket’s greatness, his season-ending suspension for fighting in Boston, and the riot that ensued at the Forum (at which my father was in attendance). Ultimately it speaks to the toughness and pride of a club that would never give up. I can’t find a recording online but here’s the final verse:
“Now the crowd has lost face and the team is disgraced
for these tough headed actions have marred,
for casting shame on the harrowing name of Maurice The Rocket Richard.
For he will return and his legend will burn
in the annals of sports near and far,
there was never a name of such stature and fame as Maurice The Rocket Richard”
So let us hope it inspires our current Habs’ roster, and brings them good-luck and victory in what seems to be a dark hour.
(FYI: the flip side is Canadiens Square Dance, an instrumental… oh you get the idea. If anyone wants me to make them a CD, just ask)