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Montreal Canadiens Bio
|"To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high."
Since 1952-53, at the suggestion of then team head coach Dick Irvin Sr., these words have been emblazoned in the Canadiens dressing room, first at the Forum, and now at the Bell Centre.">
The words are taken from John McRae's poem entitled <<In Flanders Field>>.">
On December 4, 1909, J. Ambrose O'Brien founded the Canadian Athletic Club, which officially became the Club de Hockey Canadien (CHC) in 1917.
Until the mid-1930's, the team, led by such outstanding players as Edouard "Newsy" Lalonde, Joe Malone, Aurele Joliat, Howie Morenz and goaltender Georges Vezina, made a name for itself as one of the best in the National Hockey League, with four Stanley Cups (1916, 1924, 1930 and 1931).
But it was on October 31, 1942, that the Canadiens' destiny was sealed. That was the day Maurice Richard signed with the Canadiens. For 18 years, the "Rocket" whom many people have called the most spectacular forward of all time, led his team to victory upon victory: eight Stanley Cups including five consecutively from 1956 through 1960. It's an NHL record that still holds.
When the Rocket hung up his skates in 1960, Jean Beliveau took the torch from him playing a decisive role in five more Stanley Cups (1965, 1966, 1968, 1969, and 1971) before retiring in 1971.
With the new decade came hot new talent. Goalie Ken Dryden was outstanding in goal, and Guy Lafleur with his line-mates, Steve Shutt and Jacques Lemaire, had opposing defencemen quaking in their skates. On the blue line, the "Big Three"; Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe and Larry Robinson shut down the on-coming offense while providing their own forwards with invaluable assistance. And Bob Gainey was by far the game's most dominant two-way player that a trophy was created to mark his achievement, The Selke Award. In one amazing ten-year period, from 1969 through 1979, this unbeatable powerhouse left the rest of the NHL behind, winning a total of seven Stanley Cups (1969, 1971, 1973, 1976, 1977, 1978 and 1979).
Ronald Corey became the club's 11th president in 1982. The following season, Serge Savard was hired as General Manager.In the third round of the 1984 draft, Corey and Savard picked Patrick Roy (he was 51st overall). Under their management, and Roy's play, the Canadiens added two more Stanley Cups; 1986, and 1993; their 24th in franchise history.
In 1996, the Canadiens ushered in an era of change. A move to the Molson Centre, the hiring of Rejean Houle as GM, and the Patrick Roy trade.
On Sept 2, 1999, Pierre Boivin succeeded Ronald Corey as Team President, the team's 12th.
In the 2000-2001 season, Andre Savard assumed General Manager duties.
On January 31, 2001, Molson Inc. sells 80.1% stake of the Club de hockey Canadien and 100% of the Molson Centre to businessman George N. Gillett Jr. The deal is valued at $275 million (Cdn). Molson Inc. retains the remaining 19.9% stake in the hockey club.
On September 1, 2002, Molson Breweries opted not to renew their naming rights, moving the way for Bell Canada to assume that role. Hence, the name Bell Centre was born.
In June 2003, Bob Gainey returned to the team as team General Manager, and helped rebuild the Canadiens through strong scouting, and smart drafting.
The 2008-09 seasons marks the centennial season for the Montreal Canadiens, with numerous events to celebrate 100 years of Canadiens hockey.
On June 21, 2009 George Gillett Jr sold his 80.1% stake in the Club de Hockey Canadien amd 100% of the Bell Centre to a consortium led by the Molson Brothers. Geoff, Andrew and Justin together with their partners, paid $575 million to own the very same team once held by their dad Eric, and before him, their grandfather Hartland Molson.
Bob Gainey announced on February 8, 2010 that he was stepping down immidiately as Canadiens GM. Pierre Boivin, in one of his last roles as Team president, announced that Assistant GM Pierre Gauthier would replace Gainey. Unfortunately, the Gauthier era was mired with dysfunctional and abysmal on ice performance, cultimating in one of the worst seasons ever in Canadiens history when in 2011-12, the Canadiens finished last in the Eastern Conference, and 28th overall.
On May 2nd 2012, a new era was ushered in Montreal Canadiens history as Team CEO Geoff Molson names a new General Manager and Executive Vice President. Marc Bergevin was introduced as the Montreal Canadiens' 17th General Manager.
The most often asked question about the Montreal Canadiens is what does the nickname " Habs " mean.
Legend wants it that the "H" on the Canadiens logo stands for "Habs" instead of Club de Hockey Canadien. The fable began in 1924 when US reporter Tex Rickard was falsely informed by someone that the "H" stood for "habitant", a french word that in those days was used to refer the farmers of Quebec.
Rickard was told that the french players on the team came from farms and were therefore, "habitants". At the time, the Canadiens were viewed upon as the french team of Montreal, whereas the Montreal Maroons were the English team.