Habs fans are everywhere.
No other NHL franchise has such committed supporters scattered around the planet. During this year's playoffs, I've heard from fans within Quebec and across Canada in places such as Coquitlam, Lethbridge, Moncton, Regina, Sault Ste. Marie, Peterborough, and many more.
Habs' fans celebrated the first round playoff victory and sent messages from the U.S., Australia, Japan, Korea, Indonesia, the U.K. and Brazil.
Discussions of a goaltender controversy and Canadiens' hiring policy take place not only in Montreal, but also in Sarasota, Florida, Allentown, Pennslyvania, and Northampton, Massachusetts.
When Habs fans want to get together to enjoy a game, there are many places in Montreal. One of our favorites is Ye Olde Orchard on de la Montagne. It's a block from the Bell Centre and has an ideal combination of hockey atmosphere, good pub food, and friendly staff.
But with so many Canadiens fans across North America, and worldwide, where do they gather to follow their favorite team?
This is the first of a series of articles that will look at Habs-friendly venues in locations around the globe. If you would like to contribute a review, or you would like to suggest a location for a future Habs Tweetup in your city, we would love to hear from you.
Today, we go to New York City.
For quite some time now, I have heard good things about a sports bar on the Upper East Side called the Blue Moon. When it opened in 1989, it had direct links with former NHLers. A short time ago, I asked a friend to take a look. He readily agreed as it was a place already on his radar.
Chris Brown made his first visit to the Blue Moon Cafe last week, and below he graciously shares his impressions with All Habs readers. Thanks Chris!
posted by Chris Brown
Special to All Habs
First of all, Carlos is the best thing about the bar. He plays hockey, clearly loves the sport, and is doing everything he can to make the Blue Moon Cafe the No. 1 New York City hockey bar. A couple of Habs fan friends and I came in last night and he immediately recognized me, introduced himself, and told me the story that he has below in writing.
I had contacted him through Facebook and told him that I was looking for the best NYC hockey bar. He immediately got back to me and told me they show all games throughout the season, rather than just Rangers or Islanders.
As a bar, it is just fine. It has a Mexican theme and you can get a good feel for the place through their website . Beer selection is typical. I am a Belgian beer fan, but I settled for Labatt's Blue. They immediately came out with tortilla chips and salsa and we ordered wings, which were good.
The place filled up for the game and two thirds of us were supporting the Habs. Carlos was proud that they will turn off the music and put the game's sound on rather than play music like most bars.
The staff was great. The bartender, Spencer, had "Rangers" tattooed on his arm. He immediately started talking hockey and bought us a round. It's as if Carlos only hired hockey fanatics and told the whole staff that their biggest goal is to make the Blue Moon NYC's No. 1 hockey bar.
Carlos is trying to get Sean Avery to invest. If he gets that cash infusion, he will "spruce" up the place. I'm hoping that means adding a couple of Belgian beers to the menu.
After having to beg, bargain, and plead bartenders in New York to put on playoff hockey games rather than early season Yankees games, I am an immediate fan of the Blue Moon. It's a very good Upper East Bar that is made outstanding for hockey fans by the owner and staff's love for the sport. I have been searching for a couple of years and haven't found a bar with anywhere near their great attitude toward hockey and it fans.
For all the reasons mentioned, but particularly due to Carlos and his staff, the Blue Moon is now my favorite place in NYC to watch the Habs.
Text provided by: The Blue Moon Cafe
The Blue Moon Mexican Cafe opened in 1989. The original partners were George McPhee, Ron Greschner, and James Patrick. Needless to say that having three active professional hockey players on board was great for business. The publicity was great and business was even better.
As the players were traded or retired they got out of the business and sold back their interest to those of us that actually ran the business.
Hockey has always been our primary sport, we have had that reputation for 21 years. Over the years we have had The Stanley Cup in here along with countless players and NHL personnel that have come to call this home.
During the Rangers '94 season we were the postgame home for fans and players alike, Mess, Leetchie, Gravey, Richter...all of them.
Many fans were just floored when The Great One...yes Gretz...became a regular. Many great stories are around about that era.
When they are in town, I always get visits from George, Gresch, and James. They are usually are accompanied by another player or by management people.
This past Monday night we had Sean Avery and Brad Richards in attendance, they found us by calling The NHL offices to find out where they could catch the playoffs on The Upper East Side...the League sent them here...nuff said !
So today in 2010, we still continue to be NYC's No. 1 place to watch NHL Hockey.
Habs fans are everywhere.