Rabid Habs

Top 10 All-Time BC Born Habs

Carey Price Photo - CCM Hockey

British Columbia is arguably the most beautiful province in Canada. It is the only province where you can golf and go skiing on the same day, although with climate change this may soon be impossible. British Columbia has also produced some pretty good hockey players. Eighteen BC born players have donned a Montreal Canadiens uniform in at least one game.

I present to you the top 10 all-time BC born Habs:

1. (G) Carey Price – Anahim Lake, BC

Carey Price is among the best goalies the Canadiens have ever had, both on and off the ice. He helped lead the 2013 Habs team, which wasn’t exactly an offensive juggernaut, to the Eastern Conference finals. In the regular season he has posted outstanding numbers. Last season alone he was 1st in the NHL in wins, save%, goals against average (GAA) and 2nd in the league in shutouts with 9. Off the ice, Price is constantly giving back to charity and especially pays homage to his hometown. In 2014, Price helped launch two breakfast club programs for hungry school children in Anahim Lake. It is clear that Price really appreciates where he came from.

2. (C) Ryan Walter – New Westminster, BC

Ryan Walter has the most points of any BC-born Habs player for all-time. In 604 career regular season games with the Habs, Walter had 141 goals, 208 assists and 349 points. Walter’s name is engraved on the Stanley Cup for 1986 despite missing most of the playoffs that year with a significant shoulder injury. He also scored the game winning double overtime goal in game 3 of the 1989 Stanley Cup finals, which the Habs would eventually lose to Calgary.

3. (RW) Mark Recchi – Kamloops, BC

Recchi was a key part of the February 9, 1995 blockbuster trade that sent Eric Desjardins, John Leclair and Gilbert Dionne to the Flyers. In five seasons with Montreal, Recchi put up some remarkable numbers. He had 322 points (120 goals, 202 assists). In each of the three full seasons he played in Montreal he was top three in team scoring. He was also an assistant captain. On March 10, 1999 Recchi was traded back to the Flyers for Dainius Zubrus as Montreal attempted to rebuild ateam that had struggled in recent years.

4. (C) Russ Courtnall – Duncan, BC

Russ Courtnall was acquired November 7, 1988 from the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for John Kordic. Courtnall had fallen out of favour with the Maple Leafs who were trying to get Russ to play a tougher game, which he was not built to do. Courtnall was a fan favorite during his time in Montreal. His bread and butter was his speed and skill game. In 250 games Courtnall had 82 goals, 113 assists and 195 points.

5. (G) Andy Moog – Penticton, BC

Andy Moog played his final season in Montreal. His biggest claim to fame in a Habs uniform was when he helped them win, what was at the time, their first playoff series since 1993, a span of five years. He appeared in 42 games that season sporting an 18-17-5 record including 3 shutouts. Throughout his career, Moog tormented the Habs, helping eliminate them in the playoffs four times (3 with the Oilers and once as a Bruin).

 6. (D) Josh Gorges – Kelowna, BC

Josh Gorges has always been a controversial player. On February 25, 2007 Gorges was acquired from San Jose along with a 2007 1st round pick that would become Max Pacioretty in exchange for Craig Rivet and a 2008 5th round pick that would become Jason Demers. During his time in Montreal, Gorges struggled with consistency and injuries. His best season offensively was 2010-2011 when he managed 39 points (2 goals, 37 assists). He missed a large part of the 2009-2010 season after reconstructive knee surgery.

February 12, 2010 was a controversial game he arguably should have skipped. Gorges played 22:45 that night despite having to be assisted to the bench after being belted by a slap shot on the side of the head two days earlier.  Gorges was a beloved player during his time with the Habs, but he fell out of Montreal’s plans when his contract was simply too big for his age and production, coupled with  the emergence of prospects like Nathan Beaulieu. On July 1, 2014 Gorges was traded to the Buffalo Sabres after rejecting a trade to the Toronto Maple Leafs.

7. (RW) Turner Stevenson – Prince George, BC

Stevenson was drafted 12th overall by the Canadiens in the 1990 NHL Entry Draft. Stevenson primarily played on the Habs’ bottom six during his nine year stint. He was picked up in the 2000 expansion draft by Columbus and promptly flipped to New Jersey in exchange for Krzysztof Oliwa.

8. (LW) John Ferguson Sr. – Vancouver, BC

Ferguson was the first BC born player to play for the Canadiens. He was signed to be an enforcer to protect stars like Jean Beliveau. Following his abrupt retirement in 1971, the Habs started getting beat up by opposing players. It took until the 1963-64 season for the first BC born player to don a Habs jersey. There are a number of reasons why it took so long. First, BC has a very unique climate west of the Rockies such that they are in a rain shadow. This means that temperatures are much warmer in winter west of the Rockies and any precipitation that falls is usually in the form of rain. Also, there weren’t many indoor rinks at that time. Other factors included expenses to travel 3000 miles to Quebec, language barrier (probably not the primary factor) and the war. During the ’20s-’50s, players did not have the financial means to make the journey across Canada. It was much easier to recruit players from Quebec and the neighboring province of Ontario. The NHL also did not really expand rosters until after the war. During the war, it was much easier to form a hockey team from mostly local players

9. (C) Sebastien Bordeleau – Vancouver, BC

Even though Bordeleau was was born in Canada,  he played for France internationally. This was because his father was of French origin. Bordeleau was drafted 73rd overall by the Canadiens  in the 1993 NHL Entry Draft and split time between Montreal and  AHL affiliate Fredericton during his three years in the Habs organization. He was traded to Nashville during the off-season of 1998, developing into a top penalty killer for Nashville.

10. (D) Ryan O’Byrne – Victoria, BC

O’Byrne was drafted 79th overall by the Habs in the 2003 NHL Entry Draft. During his three-year stint with Montreal he split time between Montreal and Hamilton. His biggest moment with the Habs came on December 4, 2009 when he switched jersey numbers from 3 to 20 to honor Emile Bouchard. At Bouchard’s jersey number retirement ceremony, O’Byrne wore his new jersey number under his old jersey number and presented Bouchard with his old #3 jersey to commemorate being the last Canadien to wear #3. O’Byrne was traded to Colorado on November 11, 2010 after being passed on the depth charts and being relegated to a depth defenseman.

One Comment

  1. André Leclerc

    August 22, 2015 at 8:51 am

    Hey Tina, just testing out an option for post notifications. I will let you know if it works 🙂