A wonderful thing about the Montreal Canadiens centennial is that as part of the celebrations, there continues to be more archival footage of the team being released for fans. This is great news for all fans and collectors alike of the Habs on video, as two new titles are about to be released, one in threatres, and the other on DVD.
By now everyone has heard that the movie celebrating the Canadiens centennial, "Pour Toujours, Les Canadiens" is only days away from its Grand Premiere at the Bell Centre on November 16. The following days will see its release in theatre, followed by a DVD release.
What some fans may not know, is that a Canadiens 100 year retrospective 4 disc DVD set is about to hit the streets on November 17. There will also be a 5 disc "Collector's Edition" with some added bonuses.
This ought to be the real deal, unlike the 10 Memorable Games DVD that disappointed as many fans as it pleased last year.
What follows here will be a detailed listing of Canadiens videos, movies and DVD's new and old, going back as far as can be tracked. I was fortunate, very fortunate in fact, to come in contact with a very knowledgeable fan in this area of Canadiens collectibles and he has contributed his expertise to this post, supplying me with a great deal of his information and photo scans. So impressed was I, that I could not help integrating this collectors story into this post.
But more on that in a bit.
First let's get to the new releases!
100 Years of the Montreal Canadiens - (2009)
The Sport On Video site has this to say on the "100 Years of the Montreal Canadiens" retrospective set:
No other professional hockey team cherishes its history like the Montreal Canadiens - This is that history. Drawing on 100 years of glory, this 4 DVD set brings the most storied NHL team in hockey to you. Through rare archival footage, hundreds of interviews and exclusive access, all the memories of a century spent at the top of the hockey world comes alive. This is a detailed look inside the fabric of the Canadiens, what has made the CH logo the worldwide symbol it is today: the seams of dynasties that tie it together, the threads of star players throughout, the sparkle of 24 Stanley Cups that have been captured and the heroes and villains that are woven throughout the history of "Les Canadiens".
The 4-disc original production including features:
"100 Years of Glory": a feature length documentary on the Canadiens history.
"24 and Counting?" - The story of each of the Canadiens record 24 Stanley Cup victories.
"Heroes and Villains" - 8 mini documentaries focusing on the three major dynasties and the five big rivalries.
"The Greatest Team" - A look at the team of 1976-77.
"The Legends" - In depth profiles on the 42 men enshrined in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
"In the Rafters" - 15 profiles of the players whose numbers have been retired by the Habs.
"L'esprit des Canadiens" - the culture, the fans, and religion that has grown up around the team.
In the Collectors Edition:
Everything above plus:
- special collector wood packaging
- bonus disk of exclusive content (contents TBA)
- frameable collector art
- collectable piece of authentic game-use item (jerseys, nets, sticks) from the 100th season
- Centennial commemorative pin
- Upper Deck set of Centennial series trading cards
"Pour Toujours, Les Canadiens" is a film in the great story telling tradition. The fictional movie features a 17-year-old college player and a 10-year-old boy who is waiting for a kidney transplant at a children's hospital where his mother works. The film is scheduled to hit theatres on December 4, the date of the 100 year anniversary of the hockey club.
The Montreal Gazette descibes the movie as follows:
One strand of the plot concerns a 10-year-old boy -- played by the astonishing Antoine L’Écuyer, currently garnering raves for his star turn in C’est pas moi, je le jure! -- who is in the hospital awaiting a kidney transplant. Though the main focus of the film is the fictional drama, there will be plenty of images from the history of the Canadiens, including everything from classic Habs goals to the Rocket Richard riot in 1955, and the film is being made with the full cooperation of the Canadiens and the National Hockey League. The real Stanley Cup will even make a cameo appearance.
As part of the festivities leading up to the franchise’s 100th anniversary on December 4, 2009, the Montreal Canadiens, Cité Amérique and TVA Films are pleased to announce the world premiere of the motion picture POUR TOUJOURS LES CANADIENS to take place Monday, November 16, 2009 at 7 p.m.
For this special presentation the Bell Centre will be turned into a giant movie theatre where members of the Montreal entertainment community, motion picture cast, dignitaries, honored guests and legends of the Montreal Canadiens will be joined by the general public for this much-anticipated premiere. Beginning at 5:30 p.m. a red carpet ceremony will be covered live from avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal (De La Gauchetière St.) before the premiere of POUR TOUJOURS LES CANADIENS presented in French with English subtitles.
The screening will be followed by a special presentation on the Bell Centre ice with several guests, including members of the cast, who played a key role in making the production of this motion picture possible.
Hockey fans and movie buffs who would like to attend the premiere and watch the motion picture on the Bell Centre’s giant high definition screen can purchase tickets for $16 (service charges and taxes included) on canadiens.com starting at 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 17.
Directed by Sylvain Archambault from an original screenplay by Jacques Savoie, POUR TOUJOURS LES CANADIENS is a fictional story taking place in 2008 which features the determination of a talented young hockey player and the fortitude of a young patient played out through some of the franchise’s most significant moments since its foundation, back in 1909.
The movie will be officially released in theatres on December 4, the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary.
POUR TOUJOURS LES CANADIENS is produced by Lorraine Richard and Luc Martineau of Cité Amérique and distributed by TVA Films
Here is a short trailer promoting the film.
That takes care of the present releases. Now strap yourself in for a tour through Collectors Corner!
Over the four years time I have managed this site since it's inception in 2006, I have had the opportunity to get in contact with some truly great Habs fans who enjoy all means of sharing their passion. It's a luxury of sorts that always feels like a privilege to me, and when readers sent along e-mails suggesting ideas for articles I always listen up intently and investigate curiously.
One such time, west coast reader Phil LeDuc proposed sending me some audio tapes from the 1973 Cup final between Chicago and Montreal, that I featured here and made reference to this past Friday. Those audio tapes have been like a gift that keeps on giving, in several senses. Not only was I able to upload and share them with readers here, but interest in those tapes have put me in touch with other fans willing to trade and share information.
That is cool enough in and of itself, but the best part remains being able to pass it all along and share it further with even more readers. Kind of like a messenger of sorts.
About three weeks ago, a reader inquiring about those 1973 audios contacted me, proposing an exchange of audio for video. He was not able to listen in to the Chicago uploads and asked if I could mail him copies in exchange for video he had of the 1971 playoff series with Boston: namely, the historically significant Game 2 comeback. Since that time, we have exchanged about a dozen e-mails, and ideas have grown from there.
Francis Bouchard, a writer for Hearst, Ontario's Le Nord newspaper, not only owns a name that makes him sound like an ideal prospect for the Habs defensive corps, but at 6' 5'' tall, he just might be what the Habs need on many night. Francis is a die hard, much like yours truly, and he is as close to an authority on Canadiens videos that I have ever encountered. My guess is that if Francis were run a Canadiens themed website, it would look alot like this one.
Hearst is a remote, small town of 6,000 inhabitants situated about 900 km north of Toronto and 500 km east of Thunder Bay, and it has left its imprint on the Habs and the NHL. Former Canadien forward Claude Larose and current NHL'er Claude Giroux both hail from Hearst. Also calling Hearst his hometown, is Pierre LeBrun, the former Canadian Press writer who is currently with ESPN. LeBrun, who's known from Hockey Night In Canada broadcasts and numerous print media grew up in Hearst, getting his start at Le Nord as well. Hearst is actually closer to the Quebec border than it is to Toronto, and is 85% francophone. That may help explain why it's inhabitants are so hockey crazy.
It wouldn't be curious then, that Francis' first e-mail to me was in French, and English is Mr. Bouchard's second language. You'd never know it though - his English kicks my French’s butt all the way to Bobcaygeon!
Francis and I share a couple of things in common: He's a reporter for his local paper, Le Nord, and has in the past authored an article on Canadiens related fictional films (see below) for Les Canadiens magazine. I started out writing hockey articles, covering minor league sports for my local Cornwall Standard - Freeholder newspaper, and recently began working for the Canadiens, translating articles for their official website and magazine.
It was through our conversations and e-mail exchanges that I learned that Francis was a true Canadiens video aficionado. Not only is he an ardent devotee to collecting all Habs related video, but he also has the heart and passion of an archeologist for the subject.
Simply put, this gentleman knew everything.....way more than I could ever know about it. His knowledge will assuredly spawn more than one post at this site.
How on top of things is he?
Well he subscribes to, among other publication, Canadiens Magazine, which means he's read my translation work on articles before I knew where that particular work was actually destined. Francis also knew that there was a Canadiens four DVD 100 season retrospective video about to be released, of which I had only heard unconfirmed rumours. Unbeknownst to me, it turns out of course, that not only is its release imminent, work I have done was headed there as well.Strange!
In initial e-mails, Francis sought to inform me about the 100 season DVD, and ask if I'd be willing to exchange audio for video. He then offered to supply me with all kinds of information regarding past official releases of Canadiens video, including the article that he authored for the Les Canadiens magazine, notes included.How could I refuse, right?
The majority of what follows is Francis' contribution. There are the contents of his Les Canadiens magazine article, movie scans, and comments he has added as clarification along the way.
Habs On The Silver Screen
The Canadiens are not simply a hockey team, they are an icon of sporting society and an integral part of our culture. Thus, it is not surprising that several movies have been inspired by the Bleu Blanc Rouge and its heroes. There have also been numerous references to the Canadiens in fictional movies and television series throughout the years.
The Mystery Of The Million Dollar Hockey Puck - (1975)
Two young orphans, fans of the Canadiens, manage to thwart a plot by thieves to smuggle a million dollars worth of diamonds by hiding them in a hollow Habs puck. The film concludes with a pursuit at the Montreal Forum during a Habs’ game, after which the thieves are arrested. The two heroes then are surrounded by a grateful group of Canadiens players that included Bob Gainey, Serge Savard, Murray Wilson, Pierre Bouchard and Ron Andruff.
Francis Note: To make sure it was really Ron Andruff in the movie, I asked Carl Lavigne, the Canadiens Manager of History and Archives, to ask CJAD’s Murray Wilson to clarify. Murray confirmed he was in the film and that it was in fact Ron Andruff. I've situated the action in the film from the 74-75 season. We see game action between the Habs and the Detroit Red Wings, and the game may have been in March of that year. Danny Gallivan plays a role in the film. We also see Jean Beliveau in a non-speaking role.
The Sweater (1980)
A marvelous adaptation of novelist Roch Carrier’s short story, this animated short film made by the National Film Board of Canada takes us back to the 1940's when children worshipped their idol, Maurice Richard, the star player of the Canadiens. The short, considered classic Canadiana, is available in both French and English. Humorously, the film can be seen as how a Sears catalog mail-order screw up for a new Canadiens sweater made life miserable for a young boy.
"We were ten players all wearing the uniform of the Montreal Canadiens, all with the same burning enthusiasm. We all wore the famous number 9 on our backs." A winsome animated short with Roch Carrier narrating his memoir of a boyhood spent on frozen ponds. Plot thickens when a mail-order mistake replaces his sacred Canadiens jersey with - horror of horrors - a Leafs' sweater!
Roch Carrier was born in Sainte-Justine-de-Dorchester, a small Quebec village that provided much of the inspiration for his stories. He has received many prizes and honours, among them the 1991 Leacock Medal for Humour for Prayers of a Very Wise Child. His most recent book is Our Life With The Rocket: The Maurice Richard Story, released in the Fall of 2001. Roch Carrier is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada and an Officer of the Order of Canada. From 1994 to 1997, he was director of the Canada Council for the Arts, and in 1999 he was appointed as the head of the National Library of Canada.
Life after hockey (1989)
Based on a play, this English language film features the legendary Maurice "Rocket"" Richard. It is the story of Ken "Rink Rat" Brown, his obsession for hockey and his imaginary goals such as in the 1984 Canada Cup tournament. " Rink Rat " reminisces about his years playing hockey and following his favorite team, the Canadiens, and two of his heroes, Maurice Richard and Guy Lafleur.
Francis Note: In this film we see Canadiens footage from other National Film Board productions. There is also filming in the Montreal Forum and in the city ofMontreal. A curious note, fans can also see Guy Lafleur’s last goal as a Montreal Canadien against the Buffalo Sabres.
Histoire d'hiver - (1999)
Inspired by Marc Robitaille’s novel, this Quebec-made film deals with a 12-year-old boy's passion for hockey and the Canadiens during the 1960's. The movie also serves as a period piece encapsulation of the transition from a child into adolescence. The boy plays in the movie plays street hockey, collects hockey cards and dreams of getting to the Montreal Forum to see the Canadiens and his idol, Henri Richard.
Francis note: All four films were made available on video. The Sweater can still be purchased from the NFB. The others can be hard to find, but are mostly available through used films retailers.
More Recent - Non Fiction
Not part of Francis's article, the following two titles were released in the past two years.
The Rocket - (2007)
From Quebec comes this dark portrayal of the ultimate French-Canadian hockey hero. Maurice Richard is portrayed as a brooding figure, often at odds with the NHL. His clashes with the league establishment are set in the context of a growing discontent among Quebecoise in the years leading up to the Quiet Revolution.
Maurice has just turned 17, he is shy and lacks self confidence. The only thing that matters to him is playing hockey. Each night, after spending his days working hard at the factory, he puts on his skates and throws himself on the ice, body and soul into the pursuit of his dream - to become a national hockey league player. More than his talent and agility, it is this burning passion that will propel him into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Dick Irvin, coach of the Canadiens hockey club, will know how to feed this profound obsession to win and will push Maurice to become a true scoring machine. Throughout the seasons, Maurice Richard (Roy Dupuis) will surpass numerous records and each one of his exploits will resonate into the hearts and souls of French Canadians. In the process and against his wishes, he was crowned a hero for generations to come.
Tribute.ca on the Rocket movie
Memorable Games In Canadiens History - (2008)
The Montreal Canadiens, whose roster has featured such tremendous players as Guy Lafleur, Jean Beliveau, Patrick Roy, and Maurice "Rocket" Richard, are the most successful team in NHL history, winning a record 24 Stanley Cups. Now, 10 full-length original broadcasts of the Habs' best games are included in a 10-disc set. Relive Richard's final game, the last contest at the Forum, and the '77, '86 and '93 Cup clinchers, among others. Standard; Soundtrack: English Dolby Digital stereo.
Disc 1 - 1960 - Canadiens vs. Toronto Maple Leafs
Disc 2 - 1975 - Red Army vs. Canadiens
Disc 3 - 1977 - Canadiens vs. Boston Bruins
Disc 4 - 1979 - Boston Bruins vs. Canadiens
Disc 5 - 1984 - Quebec Nordiques vs. Canadiens
Disc 6 - 1986 - Canadiens vs Calgary Flames
Disc 7 - 1983 - Los Angeles Kings vs. Canadiens
Disc 8 - 1996 - Dallas Stars vs. Canadiens
Disc 9 - 2003 - Canadiens vs. Edmonton Oilers
Disc 10 - 2008 - New York Rangers vs. Canadiens
Fans anticipating the Memorable Games set were somewhat disappointed by its content for several reasons. Some of the Canadiens most exciting games are not included and there is a void from 1960 to 1975, a period in which the Canadiens won seven Stanley Cups. A few of the choices for inclusion are also suspect. The 2003 outdoor Heritage Classic in Edmonton was chosen over the 1993 "Marty McSorley Stick Incident" game. There are no games against the Flyers. Some lament the inclusion of the 2008 comeback game against the Rangers as being historically not as significant as some omissions. Many of the games have also been in collectors hands for years, with many often including on NHL Network telecasts.
However, in a more mainstream sense, the set was a hit. For fans who owned little Canadiens video or DVD material, the set covered many bases. I gave mynephew a copy last Christmas, and it hasn't left his player since. The old adage that you cannot please everyone certainly applies.
Montreal Canadiens 75th anniversary videos (1985)
With the 75th anniversary of the team, two different videos were put out in 1985 (Les Canadiens and The Canadiens: A Saga - available on both VHS and Beta formats). I certainly wanted to get copies. With the advent of the VCR, fans could also tape games and TV documentaries (I have taped and obtained just about everything that was available).
The Great Hockey Classics - (1988)
Montreal Canadiens CD-Rom - (1995)
I guess they thought that the CD-Rom would cause video revolution but they could not foresee the information that would eventually be stocked on Internet websites.
Francis notes: In 1995, with the popularity of personal computers and CD-Rom drive, they put out that CD-Rom (The coming out of that CD-Rom actually pushed me to buy a computer with a CD viewer). We are now in the DVD age and that will be the format of the 100th anniversary DVD.
Forever Rivals - (1996)
Individual Player Videos & DVD's
Video Hockey with Guy Lafleur - (1985)
Le Rocket: L'homme et sa légende / The Man...His Legend -1998
Director, Jacques Payette; Producer, Éric Michel. Montreal: National Film Board of Canada, French Program, 1998, 1 cassette, 42 min. (Also publ. in English under title "The Rocket"). Note: Includes "Le Chandail" by Sheldon Cohen (Dir.); Marrin Carell, David Verrall, Derek Lamb (Prod.).
Guy Lafleur: Une homme et 3 générations - (2007)
Information in French at Archambault.ca
Guy Lafleur - Il était' une fois / Wild Flower - (2009)
Article from the Gazette.ca
It's a unique studio producers have chosen: the story is stitched together with an interview of Lafleur by veteran columnist Réjean Tremblay aboard a Via Rail train from Dorval to Toronto's Union Station, then into the mockup Canadiens dressing room in the Hockey Hall of Fame.
Former Lafleur teammates Guy Lapointe, Réjean Houle and Yvon Lambert are along to add their garrulous round-table input. And the subject's wife, Lise Barré, separately offers quiet perspective in her only interview about her family's recent drama, which plunged her into a months-long depression.
Full-length video interviews are on a companion disc in the package, which includes a 32-page booklet charting a Lafleur timeline and images from his collection.
1969 Montreal Canadiens vs Boston Bruins DVD
Boston at Montreal 1969 Stanley Cup playoffs Game One. B&W 160 Minutes.
We're talking underground, bootleg, illegal stuff all the way here. There are literally tons of these thing available through all kinds of sources, some more suspect than others. It's buyer beware, of course, as thing products tend to be of the worst quality. Below is the site's claim of what the product is. Order it and you might get a treat, or you may get Saturday Night Fever!
Classic hockey match. Original B&W broadcast includes original commercials on two discs. This is a classic match as the big bad Bruins try and intimidate the Habs. The Game is a couple of minutes old when a brawl starts and Duff & Sanderson then Sather & Cournoyer go at it. Montreal comes back from 2-0 to send the game to overtime.
Best quality available. Players include: Yvan Cournoyer, John Ferguson, Gump Worsley, Bobby Rousseau, Jacques Lemaire, Dick Duff, Henri Richard, Mickey Redmond, Serge Savard, Jacques Laperriere, Ted Harris for Montreal. Phil Esposito, Derek Sanderson, Ken Hodge, Bobby Orr, Ed Westfall, Ted Green, Ron Murphy, Fred Stanfield, Glen Sather, Ed Shack, John McKenzie, Don Awrey, Dallas Smith for Boston. DVD, exactly as pictured in scan, is in very fine condition.
Please add $5 for postage for shipping to the USA. Canada pays $4 for shipping. International/UK/Overseas add $7 for air mail delivery. All Prices in US Dollars.
Online link - product no longer available
Interview with collector Francis Bouchard
During the past three weeks, Francis and myself have exchanged numerous e-mails and information. We've asked each dozens of questions in the process. I went back through those notes, putting this pseudo interview together, as it helps shed a bit of light on many aspects of Habs video.
How did your interest in collecting Canadiens videos begin? I know for alot fans, the one who become die hards, they get it at a real young age.
For many of us, the Canadiens were part of our culture as we grew up. Before the age when video recorders became readily accessible in the 1980's, it was impossible to own video material about the team. One of the reasons I became interested in Habs video and audio from the sixties and early 1970's is that a player from my hometown, Hearst, Ontario, played for the Habs during those years. It's Claude Larose, and I tried to get a lots of things on him. A few years ago, I presented him with a video highlight I made for him. He was prominent in the 1973 playoffs for the Habs.
Your story, to me, reminds me of that of Phil LeDuc, who supplied me with the audio tapes from 1973 Cup final. Like him, you probably had no idea in your youth, of where such interests would take you?
I'll tell you what I did as a kid back in the '70s. My father had bought a stereo system with an 8 track player that could also record from the radio and from external sources thanks to two small microphones. I liked the hockey trivia questions that played at the intermissions on CBC saturday night broadcasts. One day I decided to create my own hockey trivia question cassette. I recorded my questions on the tape and recorded crowd noise from a vinyl live music disc to add as background noise. I still have the tape, but I no longer have an 8 track player that works.
I get the sense that when there is something new, Habs related, on video, you're all over it, right?
For myself, probably for many others, there’s always a sense of expectation when new documentaries or films come out regarding the Canadiens. Will I see new rare footage that I have never seen or will I be moved by the professional film makers that produce them?
You must be excited then, about the 100 Years DVD? By our conversations, it seems that you had known it was in production for quite some time. Do you have any idea what kinds of archival footage would be included in the compilation?
I'm curious to see what highlights they've included in the set. Last year, I had talked to an avid video collector, a source not involved in the project, and he told me the Canadiens people had declined his offer for some exclusive Canadiens footage he had. For the 100 Year anniversary DVD, I've been that the producers have access and usage of NHL libraries, so there should be some rare footage in there.
What are your expectations for what could be on it?
I know that many people want to see Canadiens playoff highlights from the early 1970's, and not from the 30 minutes NHL films but from the actual television broadcasts. People are more interested in watching games with actual commentators from the period and hearing the crowd noise when goals are scored.
Have you spoken with anyone who has tipped you on details of the set?
I've communicated with one particular source asking him if he had more information about the sets. I was told that even though the producers did not consider much of the footage he personally proposed, he told me that he felt script is good and that the vignettes in it cover quite a bit of history. This person also said that it will probably include some rare footage.
Has anything, from say, the 1971 playoffs, ever been released to the public?
The 1971 finals Game 7 Canadiens / Black Hawks highlights were once presented on a 1980's Molstar video called Great Plays from Great Games. Concerning those '71 playoff highlights, that's one of the big questions for me, whether there will be content from that series on the 100 Years DVD, or even perhaps as part of the film Pour Toujours Les Canadiens.
You've mentioned to me in e-mails that you own clips and footage from that particular era. Have you ever thought of, or tried to submit these things yourself.
I certainly tried to let people know I had that footage if they wanted it. Last year, I think I approached every French television station....RDS, Radio-Canada, TQS and the Canadiens organization themselves, but they all declined or chose not to answer. I gave a copy of some things to one source asking if he could inform NHL people about it, and I was told he did.
What it is, or why could it be that they would turn these things down when offered?
One person informed me a few years ago that he tried to convince television producers to buy the rights to show the 1971 playoff video from WSBK Boston, but to no avail. It was suggested that ESPN Classic Canada could produce what they call a Classic Series show with the 1971 Canadiens / Bruins highlights. Highlights of all the games in the series are available. That would allow fans to finally see the complete highlights from that series. Personally, I could see highlights from more than Game 2 and Game 7 that I already have. Paul had informed me that ESPN Classic was only interested in producing classic series from the 1980's on. You must remember that when doing a 100 year retrospective or whatever, there are lots of things to show and there cannot be too much emphasis on one or two playoff series.
Also, people may see on short clip and think there's an archive full. That's not always the case. There's also copyright issues, quality of the content, things like that.
True, In was told by one person that he passed on information (about the '71 tapes) to NHL representatives and was told that they would try to obtain the video directly from the Boston station where the highlights originated from. I wonder if these highlights will be on the DVD set. I hope there will be archival footage I've never seen before. I also hope they'll have a good script and tell a nice story.
I'm curious about your 1971 tapes. When and how did you come about getting those?
It was about seven years ago. I got a video from a person in Quebec who said he had obtained it directly from the Boston station in the '70's. What he had was a different format than VHS and he had to have it transfered on VHS before I got a copy.
It seems there has long been copies of games in collector and trader circles. Things that may have been taped or recorded from televison, let's say. In addition to the group of officially endorsed items you've included in the listing, I've included on that's essentially a bootleg, for all intents. It's the 1969 Canadiens / Bruins Semi - Final. Where could something such as that come from?
It's hard to say for sure. One thing missing from the list is old 8 mm movies. People could buy the annual Stanley Cup films on 8 mm, and of course there were lots featuring the Canadiens Stanley Cup
Thanks very much Francis, for shedding some light onto the many aspects that we touched on with this. I'm sure fans are now more enlightened, definitely curious about the Canadiens on film. Perhaps we could explore this further some time?
You're welcome, Robert. Your readers should enjoy this. We'll surely do something here again.