Rabid Habs

Brown: Why I am a Habs Fan

It doesn’t matter when you become a fan of a team; it’s the fact that you live and die through the heartbreak, the failures, and the constant struggles of that team with the hopes that you will one day be rewarded with greatness.

It’s worth going through the highs and lows a team has to offer. In the darkest of times, at least we have each other. What makes supporting a team especially enjoyable is the fact that we, as Habs fans, unite as one to endure a long arduous journey.

Despite the endless fights you have with your friends, family or perhaps with a random account on Twitter concerning a trade or the franchise as a whole, at the end of the day, we stay united and cheer on our team.

It’s more than just a team you support; we view it more as a religion, we worship every player who has ever donned the Habs’ sweater. From Guy Lafleur causing defenders to look foolish to Maurice “Rocket” Richard scoring fifty goals in fifty games for the first time in NHL history; these moments will always be cherished. Passed down from generation to generation, the frenetic stories described by your father and grandfather make you wish that you lived to witness such amazing experiences.

My story was a little different. It began when I was bored out of my mind, furiously flipping through the TV channels hoping to find something worthwhile to watch. I finally found it when I discovered the most beautiful sport in the world; hockey.

Sure, I knew what hockey was. I am Canadian. I overheard all of my teachers talk about the great Saku Koivu or how Andrei Markov is an exceptional defender; however, I didn’t know who these players were or what my teachers were blabbering about. I never took an interest. Admittedly, I should’ve started watching hockey much earlier in my life.

When I first discovered the Habs it was equivalent to paradise. I now realized that it’s more than a game with pucks and sticks; it’s a very serious thing in life. Witnessing a single match on November 20th, 2009 against the now defunct Atlanta Thrashers translated into watching twelve past Montreal Canadiens playoff series in the span of a week followed by the relentless begging of my parents that I desired all the Habs merchandise imaginable.

Plenty of articles in the late night hours being read over and over again. Watching a colossal amount of documentaries about the greatest moments in Habs history. All at the age of seven. Who knew a single hockey game can turn a normal Joe into a Habs fanatic? It took a while to grasp the concept of the game of hockey, but once I understood the game enough, it became the thing I loved the most. It’s my stress reliever and my religion. Hockey practically defines who I am, and it all started from the fortuitous session of channel surfing.

A few months into my hockey fandom I was about to observe the most significant game of my young hockey-watching career. Eastern Conference Finals, Game Five, Montreal vs. Philadelphia. Philadelphia leads the series, 3-1. Game day was definitely filled with anticipation. Before puck drop, I followed my pre-game ritual. I kissed the Habs logo three times and prayed to the hockey gods. To not overuse the ritual, I only practiced it when Montreal was in desperate circumstances, such as this one. The ritual worked every time I used it, the Habs were victorious in all four matches. My ritual couldn’t fail on me now, could it?

The Habs were on the brink of elimination after shocking the hockey world by defeating the top seeded Washington Capitals and then upsetting the defending Stanley Cup champion Pittsburgh Penguins. All that hard work would go to waste if the Habs lost that game.

Many fans would be distraught. From the opening puck drop, every shift was filled with clenched hands and a crazy pumping heart. I could barely watch. However, everything happened in the blink of an eye. Brian Gionta scored the go-ahead goal in the early stages of the match. My erratic behavior the instant the puck crossed the line showed how important this goal was for the team, for the fans and for the province of Quebec. Unfortunately, it was simply not meant to be as they couldn’t sustain the momentum throughout the contest, losing 4-2 to the the Flyers and were ultimately eliminated from the playoffs. Unfortunately, the loss got the best of me as I locked myself in my room and cried myself to sleep. It was a moment I could simply never forget.

That’s how it all started. From the overriding joy observing a Habs player light the lamp to the frustration after your team loses to one of their fiercest rivals in the entire league like the Toronto Maple Leafs or the Boston Bruins. Taking the good with the bad, I need this team. Without hockey I don’t know what I’d be. And that’s why I love the Montreal Canadiens.

What’s your story? Let us know!

Follow Robert on Twitter @TheStandardBob, and follow @Rabidhabs for more updates!