What Does it Take to be a Habs Fan?

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

by Shannon Penfound, Staff Writer and Event Coordinator, All Habs Hockey Magazine

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

WINNIPEG, MB. — As we approach the end of an emotional season, in which we saw many faces come and go, an over-reliance on certain key players, and many disappointments in overall effort, despite the standings, I asked: What does it take to be a Habs fan?

1. Loyalty


The response was overwhelming. As we all know, Habs fans do not hold back when it comes to showing their love (or frustration) with the bleu-blanc-rouge. This is one of the many reasons why I am a Habs fan today. April 9, 2002, Saku Koivu returned to the ice following his battle with cancer. Growing up, my dad raised me as a Red Wings fan and we didn’t pay too much attention to the Eastern Conference as, at the time, the Wings were in the West. I happened to catch that particular game, for whatever reason, and it changed my entire outlook on the world of hockey. That game helped me to see the love that Canadiens’ fans had for their players; a level of adoration I had never witnessed before. From that day on, my heart belonged to Montreal, which leads me to the first requirement as a Habs fan: loyalty.

MONTREAL, QC - DECEMBER 18: Former Montreal Canadien player Saku Koivu speaks to fans during a ceremony honouring the former team captain prior to the NHL game between the Montreal Canadiens and the Anaheim Ducks  at the Bell Centre on December 18, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)
Saku Koivu speaks to fans during a ceremony honouring the former team captain. December 18, 2014 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Photo by Richard Wolowicz/Getty Images)


2. Patience


Unlike myself, many of you were born and raised to support the Montreal Canadiens. From previous discussions with other fans, I have noticed that it is almost a tradition that is passed down through generations. It is a team with the richest history in the league, but also a team who has faced its fair share of struggles. This season, despite the numbers, this team has raised many questions regarding their ability to succeed against other top-seeded teams in order to battle for a chance at the Stanley Cup. And even through all of the messiness and the arguments, our fan base remains loyal to the crest. I, for one, could never fathom tossing my beloved CH on the ice, no matter the level of disappointment I may feel. As other fans highlighted, sometimes we just need a bit of patience.

P.K. Subban
Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports


3. Passion

The coaching situation in Montreal this season has been the topic of many heated debates amongst fans. With an abundance of obvious talent on the team, the sometimes questionable decisions made by the coaching staff has been enough to send Habs fans dangerously close to the edge of sanity. We have been witness to a system that has led to a reliance on goaltending and a ‘Goals For’ statistic which lands the team at 23rd overall. Many argue that our offensive breakdowns are due to the lack of a top right-winger to support Max Pacioretty. However one could also argue that by placing players out of their natural positions and blending lines weekly, the probability of the Habs finding their offensive potential has been hampered. Thankfully, Carey Price is showing the world just exactly what he is capable of, but an over-reliance on goaltending could certainly prove to be disastrous. Patience has played a big role this season, but as most fans stated, passion is the key ingredient to being a Habs fan.

Courtesy of canadiens.nhl.com
Courtesy of canadiens.nhl.com

Other fan bases call us ‘obsessed,’ maybe even downright ‘crazy,’ but I like to call us ‘passionate.’ This club demands that its fans believe in the history and hardships of the crest. It is a club that respects its fans and goes above and beyond to make us feel like we are really a part of something. For that reason, we, as fans, have an attachment that I cannot even put into words. When we lost the great Jean Beliveau earlier this season, fans mourned with the Canadiens’ organization. We showed up in waves to pay our respects alongside current and past players, coaching staff, and management. We mourned as one.


When decisions are made regarding trades, or even something as simple as a single line change, we react. Sure, sometimes we go a bit overboard, but this is our team, not just a game we watch for fun on Saturday night. It is a lifestyle. So when other fan bases call us ‘crazy,’ I feel sorry that they haven’t experienced what it means to be a part of a hockey family. Because even though we argue, complain, and yes, sometimes even shed a tear or two, the experiences that I have had since first donning the CH in 2002, I would never, ever replace.

There you have it.

CH Fan characteristics-1

So, Habs fans, that is what it takes. Are you up to the challenge?




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