A Lesson in Class For the Montreal Fans

Philip RichContributor IApril 21, 2009

The unmistakable echo of "Boo" filled the arena before Game Three of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals in Montreal between the Canadiens and the Boston Bruins.

Not for Vezina candidate goaltender Tim Thomas.

Not for Bruins captain Zdeno Chara.

Not even for the most hated man in Montreal: 20-year-old Bruin enforcer Milan Lucic (who was serving a one-game suspension for high-sticking Canadien Maxim Lapierre during Game Two).

No, it was for the Star-Spangled Banner.

In an utterly disgraceful showing of classlessness and disrespect, Canadiens fans joined together to boo the national anthem of the United States of America.

In trying to show their dislike for one particular team, from one particular city, Canadiens fans insulted 300 million American citizens from all walks of life. It seemed only fitting that Americans played key roles in the Bruins victory, as Madison, WI native Phil Kessel chipped in his third goal of the series, while Flint, MI native Tim Thomas got his third consecutive playoff victory.

Hockey, while precious and sacred in Montreal, cannot be so important to serve as a pretext for disrespecting a country. One team is not representative of an entire nation, and it is shameful to verbally assault a country to put down a team.

It is important to note that the culprits of this act were not the entire Canadiens fanbase. If you listened closely, you could hear a small minority trying to unsuccessfully drown out the boos with cheers.

The initial reaction for any American is anger. But, it is important that we do not allow the anger to control our emotions. It was a small minority of misguided hockey fans who disrespected our country, and we must keep this in mind.

If the series does return to Boston, I ask every Bruin fan in attendance to stand in respect during the rendition of "Oh, Canada," and give it a thunderous applause.

Not to prove a point.

Not to show that we have class.

But because that is what Canada deserves.

Our neighbor to the north is a proud and wonderful country that deserves our respect, admiration, and friendship. Don't let a few overzealous hockey fans ruin your perception of an otherwise great nation.

Maybe the Bleu, Blanc, et Rouge will learn a lesson in respect and class from the Red, White, and Blue.