Canadiens Organization Hosts The Society For International Hockey Research

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I will subtitle this piece, "Brushes with Hab - ness, media - ness, and wonderful day of learning about people involved in the game of hockey, while somehow losing my tour group inside the Bell Centre". This will be a lengthy, but worthwhile read for regulars of this site or anyone inquisitive of hockey behind the scenes. I sincerely hope that it captures something for you that enriches your hockey knowledge. My May 16 day at the Bell Centre, in the company of SIHR members, NHL alumni, sons of former Canadiens players, and Habs media was as enlightening a day as I have ever lived. I hope that you can share in the enthusiam of what I have learned. Your comments, each and every one, are welcomed, and will be personally addressed.

Six months ago, when I first became a member of the Society for International Hockey Research, I never envisioned a day quite like this past Saturday. For a fanatic of the game and it's origins, the 10 hours spent inside the Bell Centre were an eye opener and a jaw dropper all in one. I had a great time!

It's one thing to be in a room with 55 other like minded hockey fanatic souls, and it's entirely another feeling to be dwarfed by both their presence, knowledge and respect for the game of hockey. Amongst them, I was meek, to say the least.

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For those unfamiliar with the SIHR, it is a fast growing network of writers, former players, statisticians, collectors, broadcasters, academics and just plain hockey buffs, who have been practicing their hobby, pretty much in isolation for years.

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The Society is a non profit organization which is entirely operated by members who volunteer their time. Through membership dues, donations and grants, the group produces newsletters, the annual journal and maintains a web site. Their mandate is to promote, develop and encourage the study of the game of ice hockey as a significant international athletic and popular social institution; to establish an accurate historical account of hockey through the years; and to assist in the dissemination of the findings and studies derived from research.

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The web site is absolutely atounding. There is no other comparable hockey player and team database as voluminous on the internet. At last count, the site features 15,161 teams and 117,630 players profiles from every possible corner of the globe. The SIHR's Ernie Fitzsimmons enters the majority of site data, and he is a stat maniac with few peers.

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The society was formed to fill a need, as prior to 1990, hockey buffs were researching and compiling information in isolation mostly unaware of the special interests of others. Their only networking was through the Hockey Hall of Fame in Toronto or via the International Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum, in Kingston, Ontario. The scattered work being done in regards hockey history research began coming together in 1991, when 17 members attending the Canadian Association of Sports Heritage met in special session in Kingston to found an organization dedicated to specific aims and the mutual benefit of members.

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The germ of the idea started in March, 1977, when Bill Fitsell, of the International Hockey Hall of Fame and Museum first proposed the idea of a Hockey International Research Society (HIRS) to Lefty Reid, Curator of the Toronto hall. Fitsell's proposal has grown in abundant leaps since those days, and the membership has grown annually, peaking at over 500 presently. Several members of the society have written books on their particular interests. The group today includes several notable writers in the Canadiens loop, such as the Gazette's Dave Stubbs, Cobourg's Todd (T.C.) Denault (Habs World, The Hockey News), and Terrace B.C.'s Joe Pelletier (Greatest Hockey Legends). You can read more about the SIHRs mandate and longer term goals here.

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As hosts for the day long event, the Canadiens were represented by alumni association president Rejean Houle and manager of team history and archives Carl Lavigne, also an SIHR member. Our group of 56 set up shop in the Canadiens press conference room from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., and after SIHR president James Milks adressed the gathering and SIHR Quebec VP Earl Zukerman, also a professor at McGill University, spoke to the room, things got underway.

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At 9 a.m., Houle came up to the podium with his number 15 jersey in hand, and began speaking to the group about his lifelong association to the Canadiens in several capacities and fielded questions from SIHR members. Rejean and Carl later presided over a tour of the Bell Centre and the Canadiens dressing room.

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With the morning session devoted mainly to business matters and the Bell Centre tour, the afternoon agenda involved six research paper presentations by members. Each presentation was an enthralling and passionate exposition on subjects ranging from small town rinks early in hockey's evolution and minor league hockey teams to the ever present question of whether the Montreal Canadiens are better served with a french Canadian lineup of players.

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Jean - Patrice Martel of Chambly, Quebec, also an SIHR executive VP started things off with his presentation entitled "How Many Frenchmen Does It Take For The Canadiens to Fly?" Martel's study was an in dept look into the Canadiens better seasons, and how they were, or were not, impacted by inclusion of provincial talent. His project included many angles and carefully took into consideration the changing landscape of hockey. It was an impressive piece of work that caught the attention of La Presse late last week. Martel's piece concluded that the assumption that the Canadiens would fly higher with more Quebec born players is simply mythology. He pointed to the 1993 Cup winning Habs are being the example - and an exception at that - for the reasoning behind the myth. The graph below pinpoints the percentage of Quebec born players on the team in successful seasons in terms of games played.

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Next up was Dalhousie English professor and author Dave McNeil, whose study involved the Canadiens from 1951 to 1960. McNeil, whose father Gerry was a Canadiens goaltender in that era, displayed that the Habs were indeed a powerhouse for the entire decade, as they reached the Stanley Cup final in ten successive seasons. McNeil spoke candidly of his father's time in the Canadiens organization, and his conversation about the era was insightful and revealing one.

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Michel Vigneault of Montreal's paper, "The Evolution of Hockey Arenas: For or Against the Fans?", showed the changes inside rinks from a spectators point of view. In a series of photo's, Vigneault showed fans practically standing on the ice in 1888 at the Montreal Victoria skating rink, as well as fans today, who are seated behind tall sheets of glass and net meshing, that protect both the players and fans - sometimes from one another.

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Jim Mancuso of Utica, New York was a fireball of energy. Donning a green Utica Devils jacket, Mancuso strung off a list of the greatest minor league franchises ever, from the 1950 Cleveland Barons to the more recent Rochester Americans. Mancuso knows his stuff, as he has authored close to a dozen books on the subject of minor league hockey, including "20 Years of the ECHL". Mancuso's passion for hockey is apparent in every gesture of his delivery, and he can riffle off facts and details in machine gun fashion. Entertaining and informative, it might be that I never meet Jim again, but it is unlikely that I will ever forget him. He was a treat.

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A historian from Brandon University in Manitoba, Morris Mott's presentation involved "Small Town Rinks on the Canadian Prairies". His work showed the origins of the arena's we today refer to as hockey barns. Mott's case told that the simplistic buildings of the early 1900's were in fact prototype community centers. Mott spoke in detail about the origins of the building, and how they adapted from the start, to not only hockey in wintertime, but also as skating rinks and curling centers.

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The afternoon's final exhibition came from Roger Godin, a formative hockey years entusiast from the Minnesota. Godin's piece on Frank "Coddy" Winters, compared the early legend's exploits to those of Hobey Baker, and made a claim for Winters as one of the three greatest early U.S. born hockey players.

Past meetings of the SIHR have included such NHL alumni and hockey luminaries as former Habs coach Jacques Demers, Red Sullivan, Fern Flaman, Gaye Stewart, Red Kelly, Doug Risebrough, Ross Brooks, Murray Oliver, Jim Dorey, and well as Canadien Prime Minister Stephen Harper in 2007.

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Wouldn't it be cool this time, if there were a few former notable Habs on hand?

When I entered the Bell Centre early Saturday, I did so quite timidly, figuring I may not know a soul in the place. As I arrived, I found out I was the first one to get there, and for a few long minutes I thought I might have gone in the wrong door. Soon I was joined by two gentleman - a father and son - and not long after, another trio of members arrived. Of that group, one man pointed to the outside window.

"Look! There's Dave Stubbs from the Gazette"

"Phew!" I thought to myself. I know Dave, of course, but having met him just once I doubted he would recognize me. Also, there was an elbows up the corner tiff at Habs Inside Out that had kept us estranged since January. I worried momentarily how things would go.

No worries. Dave immediately walked over and shook my hand, said he was happy to see me there and asked how I'd been. I wasn't expecting that. Dave then turned to the father and son and shook their hands.

"Hello Mr. Morenz", he said to a man in his mid fifties. "Hi, Howie, good to see you!", he said to the older man, clearly in his eighties.

Morenz? Howie? Huh....wha....! Wheels were spinning - to say the least - inside my head!

It turns out the gentlemen in question were Howie Morenz Jr, and his son Howie Morenz III.

I knew from then on that this was going to be one eventful day.

Once everyone had gathered inside the media entrance of the Bell, we were guided up the press confrence room where we spent most of the day. As it unfolded, I got to sit next to the Stratford Streak's son in the press room, and we had a chance to talk a little amidst all the days events.

Mingling about prior to the commencement of affairs, I learned that in addition to the Morenz's and Dave McNeil, another son of a former Canadien player was on hand. Had I not read the Patrick Roy biography, written by his father, back in December, I likely would not have known who Leo Bourgault Jr was. Bourgault, the father, had played with the Canadiens from 1930 to 1935, and is most notorious for having been one of three players to wear jersey number 99 that year - a hockey first. In chatting with someone, Leo Jr overheard me mention this site, and he asked for it's name and web address. While writing it down for him, I mentioned that I had written about his father, and their ties to the Roy family. When I told him the title of the article, he remembered reading it, and he complemented concerning it. It's hard to put how that feels into words, when coming in contact with a subject you have worked on. (A nod to my friend Joe Pelletier, at whose site I won the Roy book, and who in turn made this moment possible.)

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After our group was seated and procedings moved along, we were all asked to stand up and identify ourselves and our interests for the benefit of the membership.

Right before my turn, Howie Morenz Jr stood up and introduced himself.

"I'm Howie Morenz Jr....and I guess I disappointed a lot of people...."

I didn't catch what else the octogenarian said at that moment, as I was lost in the sadness of that sentiment. It would be hard to imagine his life, and having to live up to - and ultimately falling short - of his famous father's iconic achievements and status. At age 82, Morenz Jr stills sees himself partially through the eyes of others, which is unfair to himself.

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As a 20 year old, Howie Jr was a four year veteran of the Montreal Junior Canadiens in 1947. The prospect of an NHL career looked very bright, as he tallied 42 goals and 26 assists in 27 regular season games. Howie followed up with 8 - 8 - 16 totals in 8 playoff games and the Jr. Canadiens then headed off to the 1947 Memorial Cup. Howie added another 6 goals and five assists in 4 games, but was injured in the final contest. Everyone expected Howie to play for the NHL Canadiens one day soon. It was even said that the number 7 he so proudly wore in honour of father with the Junior Canadiens would be unretired and handed to him when he made the big club.

The following season, he was promoted to the senior league Montreal Royals, the Canadiens system's top farm club of the day. Howie's injury, in today's hockey, would have been easily and properly diagnosed and rehabed, but in 1948, medicine failed him, and it contributed to his career ending sooner than it should have. Howie continued to play, but never regained his touch. It was not he who let hockey down. The Canadiens organization, through the Molson's breweries, found Howie work in one of their affiliated companies. Sometime in the mid nineteen seventies, Howie Jr managed a Ponderosa restaurant in Cornwall before moving to an Ottawa franchise.

Named after his father, and with a son named after him, their lives must have involved a constant stream of curious but disrespectful hockey fans making the name connection and asking questions they would rather not deal with. It's one thing altogether to have a proud family heritage, but there are times when someone in that position might want to slip their skin and be someone else.

During the morning tours, I watched the Morenz's as they strolled through the Bell, noticing photos of Howie just about everywhere they turned. His pictures are omnipresent in a building in which his spirit is as concrete as the foundation and his glare as steely as the beams which support it. 

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I crossed Howie Jr.'s son in a hallway a short while later. We were both searching for a restroom and waited in line. I'm usually somewhat mute in the face of celebrity, but here I couldn't hold myself. I extended a handshake and a greeting.

"Mr. Morenz, I have to say that if it wasn't for your grandfather's contribution to the game of hockey and to the Canadiens during the 1930's Depression era, I think we would all be in different places right now."

Morenz, the third, humbly acknowledged, while I added that Howie made possible the NHL's U.S expansion beginning in 1925.

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"So, how many generations does the Howie Morenz name span?", my silly query asked, jumping out of me without much consideration.

"It stopped at my son. Howard is his middle name, instead."

We talked a little more about the subject of living life with a famous name and how it can be difficult to deal with in regards to people's expectations. Gladly, the fourth and fifth generations of the Morenz clan will not have the same pressures as previous ones. The Morenz boys should never again "disappoint" anyone.

Both the father and son were extremely gracious people while I spoke with them. To their credit, they made me feel as though my questions were being asked of them for the very first time. It is hard to explain such a strange sensation, but it had something to do with how they looked directly at me. I felt as though I was being informed - like a student from a teacher - by their frankness. 

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Right before lunch, as the Bell tour had progressed to the Canadiens dressing room just down the corridor, many eyes were on Howie as he entered the room. While it was not "the" room of sacred aura that was the Forum dressing room, one glance at the Hall Of Famers strung across the wall above the nameplates and stalls of current Habs players, and you got the strong sense you were in one very special place.

Upon entering, tour guide Rejean Houle said that there was only one rule for us within these walls, and that was to abstain from stepping on the carpeted CH logo at the center of the room.

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I'd seen dozens of photos that had been snapped in this room, yet I still could not believe I was there. A quick three hundred and sixty degree check found all pivotal points: the Flanders Field poem quote; the "working together" moto; the stalls of goaltenders Price and Halak opposite of each other; the wall of honour, with all the Canadiens trophy winners listed; Koivu and Kovalev stalls side by side.

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Standing in the middle of the room, I guarded the logo on the floor as I snapped away. Soon the room was filled. At the far end of the room, Howie Jr had found his father's photo above Halak's stall and intently glared at it. Soon, every amateur photographer in the room saw Howie with a foot up on the bench seat, pointing at his Dad, and made a beeline for the photo -op. I wasn't one of them.

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The object of my temporary distraction was an SIHR member about to tramp on the Habs logo. He seemed intent on doing so, and quite ignorantly at that. My straight arm stopped him dead.

"It's okay", he bartered, "I'm allowed, because I'm a Nordiques fan."

My straight arm almost turned into shove.

"If you are a Nordiques fan, you'll remember Good Friday 1984. If you want a repeat of it, step on that crest!"

He must have known I wasn't kidding because he gave it up awful quick.

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By that time, Howie Jr was no longer posing under his father's photo, and he was now reading the wall of honour. Hurriedly, I caught a shot of him reading the list. When he turned, I asked for a photo of him standing before it. Just above his head, you can see his father listed as the NHL's three time Hart Trophy winner within a five year span. Through his eyes, I had to wonder exactly what thoughts could have been running across his mind as he scanned that plaque. That is, of sorts, his name up there, after all.

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The room was filled to capacity by this time, with double the set of feet usually reserved for players, but likely looking an awful lot like a post game media scrum. I was standing directly in front of the one stall with no nameplate above it. I had to belong to Steve Begin, I thought. A name I wished was still present there.

Milling about the room, I thought "I'd better get a photo or two of myself inside of here". I looked around for possibilities and ideas. Rejean Houle was then posing for photos with members at the far wall, so I filed in line there and had my picture taken with him.

"We've met once before", I told him, and to my surprise, Rejean recalled when. As I brought up the Habs fan summit from HIO this past October, Rejean recalled that our group had made a donation to the Gainey Foundation. I was impressed, and at a loss for words - totally. His memory is way better than he lets on.

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Earlier that morning, when fielding questions from SIHR members when the podium was his, Rejean was asked to recall scoring his first NHL goal and his first big league fight. Concerning fisticuffs, Houle alluded to having dropped the gloves once or twice, but not being a fighter by any means, he recalled nothing of it. He admitted the same in regards to his first NHL goal, and offered that he likely did not recall it, due to the notion that it had little meaning to him. At the time, he was simply just so thrilled to be in the NHL, and be a member of the Canadiens, fullfilling a lifelong dream, that all that mattered to him was helping the club win a Stanley Cup - which he most surely did.

Rejean Houle is most perfectly suited in his role as the head of the Canadiens alumni, and as an ambassador par excellence for the team. The Habs could have no better man in this position. He has a way of making individuals around him feel important.

Later in the day, I was discussing Rejean with Dave Stubbs, and a story came up that wholly testifies to the person that Rejean is. In 2006, a former Canadiens player by the name of Jonathan Delisle was killed in a vehicular accident on a Quebec highway. Few Habs fans might recall that Delisle donned the number 42 jersey for the Canadiens during the 1998-99 season. A prospect who played four seasons in the Canadiens organization with the Fredericton Canadiens and Quebec Citadelles, Delisle never quite caught on with the team, and his career took him to British hockey leagues, among other hockey Neanderthal zones. He was six years removed from the Canadiens organization when he was killed. Despite the fact that he had only ever played in one game for the Canadiens, Houle travelled a great distance to be at his funeral. Delisle's family, noted later, that Houle's simple presense seemed to validate, among those gathered, the identity of the youngster being layed to wake. The gesture was tremendously appreciated by the family. That, in one sum, is who Rejean Houle is. If ever you have the opportunity to meet him, consider yourself in the presense of one great man.

Before leaving the dressing room - and fearing my camera batteries might crap out - I wanted to have my picture taken in a player's stall. I took a quick look around, and noticed no one blocking the view to where Alex Kovalev sits 41 times per season. Without a thought on whether he will be sitting there come next October, I decided that was the place I wanted to park my buns for a photo - op. Looking around to see who could take the photo, I found Dave McNeil and Leo Bourgault in conversation, snapped a pic of them, and waited. Dave took the picture of me in Kovalev's stall.

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I had a chance to speak briefly with Mr. McNeil before we were ushered from from the room. As a goaltender enthusiast myself, I had to ask whether he had ever sought to follow in his father's crease footsteps. Dave admitted that he had tried the position for one season as a youngster, but learned very early on that it wasn't for him.

Later in the afternoon, this son of a former NHL great gave one of the better presentations of the day before SIHR members. In speaking of his father Gerry's time with the Canadiens, he offered a portrait of a player whose achievements were somehow veiled by all the successes that surrounded him.

Gerry McNeil was the Canadiens goaltender between Hall of Famer's Bill Durnan and Jacques Plante. McNeil efforts, statistically, appear as though they have contributed to but one Stanley Cup, in the grand scheme of Canadiens history. In truth, McNeil contributed more greatly to a decade of Canadiens dominance, one that saw the club reach the Cup final ten years in succession. Perhaps, if luck had matched McNeil's effort and team first dedication, he would be remembered as a three time Cup winner.

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In 1954 and 1955, the Canadiens took the Detroit Red Wings to seven games in the battle over Lord Stanley's mug. The season ending suspension to Maurice Richard in 1955 surely weakened the Habs playoff thrust, as it compromised home ice in the seventh and deciding game. One year prior, the Canadiens and Wings went into seventh game overtime, when a flicked in dump shot by Detroit's Tony Leswick deflected off defenseman Doug Harvey's glove, and over McNeil's shoulder, deciding the Cup winner. Fate has it's snags! 

I asked Dave McNeil, later in the day, if his father ever discussed that particular goal with Harvey.

According to Dave, in conversations with his father, the subject never came up with Harvey. Team mates of the day, in that era, were a tightly knit and glued group. The goal, and its particularities were beyond discussion. As Dave pointed out upon my question, Harvey was an all - around athlete, as comfortable on a baseball field as he was on a rink. He'd assuredly caught thousands of fly balls and outfield pop ups. Who better than Harvey to swat down or bat away a flying errant puck?

Knowing the Canadiens were merely inches and incidents away from the possibility of eight successive Stanley Cups makes Dave McNeil's plight all the more invigourating. Dave has one unique story to tell - with a front row seat perspective. I truly hope that the book he has written is published one day. We would all be richer for the learning.

From the Canadiens dressing room, the SIHR tour took the elevator up to eighth floor, and the press gallery where multitudes of Habs scribes sit on a game by game basis. This was my third trip in a little over two years to these heights, and as group members began asking questions about the area without Rejean Houle or Carl Lavigne in sight, I somehow began acting as a tour guide to fellow SIHR members. As I moved about on the suspended walkway, it occured to me that I had never inspected the opposite side of the gallery, so off I went on my own personal discovery.

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As I approached newfound territory, my first view was of cameras and studio enclosures I've only ever seen captured by television broadcasts on RDS. Reaching the succession of sealed booths, I snapped a few shots before coming to the first one in the long row. A sign on the door read "Authorized NHL Personnel Only - by order of Commissioner Gary B. Bettman". I moved on briskly, not willing to risk further investigation. Hurrying along, I noted and took shots of a few booths whose doors were left wide open, and captured a glimpse of what it must be like to work in this priveledged area.

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Finding that this space had a stairwell, I snapped a quick pic of the lower level, where technicians and cameramen position themselves for games. Rounding the oval suspended gallery, I took another shot of where the video and audio mixers of the Bell Centre ply their trade. At this point, I had made my way around three quarters of the suspended gallery, and I went off to rejoin the tour group.

Trouble was, they were no longer in sight!

Left behind and all alone near the Bell rafters, for a moment, I felt like a cross between Indiana Jones and a kid playing hookie from school. As I had been here a few times before, there was little left for me to discover, and I sought to regain my group.

Lunchtime was rapidly approaching, I deduced - I, who never wears a watch.

I scurried stairsteps and elevators, backtracking frantically, with memories of past tour trajectories guiding my destiny.

Quickly I paced from the Habs oldtimers room to the media room and found no one. I stood there, with a photo of Michael Farber of Sports Illustrated glaring back at me, and somehow deduced that every one must be at La Cage Au Sports for lunch. I found an elevator and got myself there. Thank goodness I knew my way around these parts some.

I arrived at the restaurant, apparently only moments after the SIHR group arrived themselves. Dave Stubbs was right behind, and minutes later, we were seated at the same table.

To sit at a table with Mr. Stubbs - for a hockey fan - is akin to tuning into a hockey only anecdote channel on television. The stories poured forth like cold beer at an open bar. Between the meal and the afternoon SIHR session, Dave enlightened me and a guest with tales on Jose Theodore's meetings with both Gerry McNeil and Slap Shot's Hanson brothers, a street hockey shootout with 91 year old Elmer Lach, an editorial photo snafu involving two pucks in a Gazette snapshot with Red Fisher as Dave's uncompromising boss on the matter, and a stream of other tales offered up between chewing french fries and cold slaw.

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Somewhere in the midst of all this, I mentioned Howie Morenz Jr, and his statement earlier in the day, in regards to his feeling that he had "disappointed" Canadiens fans. I mentioned to Dave how sad I found that sentiment. Dave brought up an old story involving an article he had published years ago that touched on Howie Jr.'s perception of his father. I suggested that Dave run it again, either at HIO or the Gazette, for no other reason than I felt it would be a must read for Habs fans, myself included.

(Dave seemed to agree, and I was surprised Sunday morning to have received an e-mail from him regarding a Habs dressing room photo query. It turns out I had the photo Dave required to complete his piece. I was happy to help.)

From there, Dave and I, along with the SIHR group, made our way back to the Habs press room where the afternoon business and presentations of the day mentioned above unfolded.

Sometime around 3 p.m., Howie Morenz Jr. and his son got up to leave, inconspicuously, for the day. I heard their whispers and followed 30 seconds behind. I wanted to thank them for coming by and making everyone's day - mine especially - that much more rich. I encountered one rock solid paw on Howie Jr as I shook his hand. For 82 years old, his grip is like a vice. I would have liked to speak at length with Howie and his son more during the day, but I respect the notion that they may prefer to be dealt with, with little fanfare. I'm not sure where I found the nerve as I shook Howie Jr's hand, but I dared ask one final question.

"Would you mind if I asked a small favor?"

"Not at all", Howie Jr replied.

"Could I have that!", I asked, pointing at his stick - on nametag.

"Oh sure, certainly", he said, seeming surprised at my odd request. I shook his hand once more and wished him and his son well.

Dave Stubbs had beaten me to this back room full of cubicles, and I know that he has a story about the Morenz' son and grandson in the works. I returned my to seat in the press room for the day's final hours.

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After all the day's presentations wrapped up, the SIHR had some business left to do, and passed several motions and voted on others. Two of my hockey blogging and writing colleagues received quick mentions. After Jean Patrice Martel, the Quebec SIHR VP passed a motion approving the french name for the society, he pointed out three entries in the lastest journal written by T.C Denault and suggested they would be some of first to receive translation pending approval of the author. In addressing the growing membership, Joe Pelletier of the Hockey Greatest Legends site was mentioned, with the SIHR president saying he was happy that he had renewed his membership after being out of the loop for one year.

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The annual meeting wrapped up one hour passed the scheduled time, at close to 6 p.m. As folks got up to leave, Carl Lavigne of the Canadiens had gifts for his all. Upon parting, each SIHR member received a beautiful glosy 520 page media guide, containing the entire 100 year history of the Canadiens club. It is one amazing looking piece of work. Carl also included playoff media guides for the 2008-09 season as well as an edition Canadiens magazine for all participants.

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I almost needed a shopping cart to haul out the collection of books I was leaving with. Other than the Habs gifts, Earl Zukerman passed on a book about the history of the McGill Redmen, another gentleman gave out copies of the AHL Guide and Record Book, and there was also an inch thick stack of SIHR works and journals.

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Before I scooted out to find my car and head home, I wanted to say so long to Dave Stubbs. I found him back inside the press room, gathering up his work from the day. We had a quick chat, Dave acknowledging our little tiff back in January and suggesting we put in the past and move on. It was time, I agreed.

Out of all my weekend discoveries and adventures, I came out of it all with tons more respect for the Montreal Canadiens organization, how they treat their fans, the employees who work behind the scenes, the players and former players who are in their employ, and for the media and various mediums who translate all of this back to us common fans and fanatics sitting before our TV screens and internet sites.

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