For me, being a Habs fan was not something that I became over time, but rather something I was born as. My dad was born and raised in the Montreal neighbourhood of NDG, growing up as a die-hard Habs fan. My earliest memory is of him posing to me the question: what’s the best team in the NHL? It was a rhetorical question, one to which he had repeatedly fed me the answer: the Montreal Canadiens.
I was three years old when last the Habs won it all. While I cannot claim to remember it, I know my dad watched every game and that I was right there with him. A stereotypical Canadian boy, I was a huge fan of the game from the first time I saw it and wanted nothing more than to lace up and start playing. When my mother finally allowed it I wanted to wear number 9, for reasons that I should not have to explain to anyone on this site.
The first book I remember reading (and thoroughly enjoying) was Roch Carrier’s “Le Chandail de Hockey.” It fostered within me a love for the team and its history that surpassed anything my father could have instilled in me. I began following the team religiously, have never stopped and I can say with conviction that I never will.
I don’t want to mislead anyone. My dad did not force me to become a Habs fan; he just showed me the way. While I was educated in French and lived in Montreal for a few years as a kid, I was born in Hamilton and spent most of my life in southern Ontario; Leafs nation. Had I (by some serious character flaw) decided to cheer for the Leafs, he surely would have been disappointed, but it’s not like I would have been disowned.
For me, being a Habs fan is a birthright. I was born a Habs fan and I’ve stayed true to them ever since. I understand how some people jump ship to become Habs fans, we’ve got great tradition, great fans and most of all the greatest uniforms of any professional sport in the world.
I was born a Habs fan, and I will die a Habs fan.