On this December 4th, 2009, the Montreal Canadiens officially celebrated the 100th anniversary of the franchise. The centennial match features the Boston Bruins, a great rival team in the history.
Before the game, a prestigious ceremony covering the entire century was presented at the Bell centre for the fans packed in the arena.
To begin, a touching movie presented to the fans the deceased players, managers, and past owners. Then there was a presentation of all of those that worked and contributed to the success of the club during those 100 years. A fair number of them were unknown to the average Montreal Canadiens fan.
That movie was followed by a short five minute warm-up session with past superstars. Stephane Richer, Yvan Cournoyer, Guy Lafleur, Patrick Roy, Vincent Damphousse, Patrice Brisebois, Ken Dryden, Serge Savard, and many many others exchanged a few passes and skated together. This little activity was really appreciated by the cheering crowd.
Just a few minutes later, all those greats of the past gathered to the center of the ice for a moving celebration of two ex-players that deserved their place with the other great players of the club. The jerseys of Emile ''Butch'' Bouchard (number 3) and Elmer Lach (number 16) were then raised to the ceiling of the building to immortalize, honor, and salute their passage and their contribution.
The pre-game celebrations ended with yet another amazing number of ex-players that were presented to the crowd. Many of those brought us back memories, while some of them were less popular and almost forgotten. All of them concluded with a huge ''family'' portrait that literally covered the entire neutral zone of the ice. The history of the Montreal Canadiens is a rich one, and we got another example of it.
Happy anniversary and cheers to another 100 years for the Montreal Canadiens.
(Picture: Maurice Richard, Hector ''Toe'' Blake and Jacques Plante, Canadian Press.)
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