What We Learned on 24CH: Rock The Sweater [S3:E15]


by Erica, Staff Writer and Fundraising Specialist, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Montréal Canadiens backyard rink

“We all wore the same uniform as Maurice Richard, the red, white, and blue uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, the best hockey team in the world.” – from The Hockey Sweater by Roch Carrier

MONTREAL, QC. — Just like your favorite section of AllHabs.net, this episode was all about the fans. Here’s what we learned:

Everyone wants to be a Montreal Canadien. This show gives great insight into the day-to-day operations of the team, but it exists because of the fans: hundreds of thousands of people who wish they could lace up for the Habs.

Take, for example, backyard rink builder Justin Lachapelle. Not content with just a patch of ice, he’s made his rink look as much like the Bell Centre as possible. He upcycled a children’s playground set into an irrigation system to resurface the ice more easily. He’s measured the rink, and ensured that the faceoff circles, lines, and nets are properly placed and to scale. As for those lines? They’re not painted on, but rather fashioned out of party streamers, and the faceoff circle decorated with CH logos carefully cut out of store-bought Canadiens flags. Add some stadium lighting, and it’s a backyard Winter Classic, complete with locker rooms.

Even Juno-winning rock star Sam Roberts seems to wish he was a Hab. Like anyone who grew up in Canada, as a child he knew that he could either face winter and play hockey outside or just hope that summer would come soon. Turns out that playing hockey made winters a lot shorter. Roberts never calls it a superstition, but he tries to make a habit of playing hockey on the Habs’ gamedays, especially during the playoffs. Stars – they’re just like us!

Even the Canadiens’ support staff and front office want to get in on the game sometimes. Decked out in Canadiens practice jerseys, some wearing game-used equipment, the Habs’ staff prepared for a red vs. white scrimmage against a team of employees from concert promoter Evenko. Call it a battle for Bell Centre bragging rights, fought at the Canadiens’ practice facility in Brossard. It was a friendly game played with all the energy of an NHL tilt: big goal celebrations and repeated hockey mantras like the old classic “forecheck, backcheck, paycheck.” Pretty funny to see a general manager play by those words when he’s the one who signs the paychecks!

Maybe trying to play like our hockey heroes is what brings us closer to them.

Control what you can. The outcome of a game can be, for better or worse, unpredictable. I know some people will disagree with me on that, but something like a broken stick or a bad call by a referee – both of which occurred in this episode – can make or break a game. So what’s a team to do? Try to keep at least some elements of the game under control. Assistant coach Clement Jodoin prepares for each game by watching the opposing team’s previous games to get a better idea of their changes in play. During games, he’s the Canadiens’ eye in the sky, watching from up high in the pressbox, tracking the things that Michel Therrien might miss and relaying info back to ice level.

As for the players, they know that the press will be waiting for them, win or lose – so they stick to their gameday routines – wake up, breakfast, skate, regular nap (Galchenyuk takes the longest naps, clocking in at two and a half hours, in case you didn’t know), and then get ready to leave for the Bell Centre. “Like Groundhog Day,” says Tom Gilbert.

Once the puck drops, though, there’s only so much that a gameday routine can do – it’s up to the players to play like the best hockey team in the world.