Montreal Canadiens Will Retire Patrick Roy's No. 33 (Updated)

Miah D.Senior Writer ISeptember 11, 2008

It has been a couple of weeks since we brought up the subject on B/R.

We started with the debate, regarding whether or not the Montreal Canadiens should retire Patrick Roy's No. 33.

And then rumours started to swirl around Montreal concerning the possibility of a ceremony in November. The star himself answered to the media that it would be a great honour to have his number retired in the rafters, with the celebrations of the centenary.

But the choice wasn't easy to make for the committee.

Despite being the goaltender who brought his team, first as a rookie, to two Stanley Cups, Roy made the headlines for so many wrong reasons when it came to his off-ice behaviour.

Finally, the decision has been taken.

A press conference has been held at the Bell Center today.

On the stage, owner George Gillett, Patrick Roy and President Pierre Boivin took place in front of a 33 white jersey hung on the wall. It has been worn by Roy during the Stanley Cup victory game in 1993.

On the front row, in the audience, were sitting Rolland Melanson, Kirk Muller, Guy Carbonneau and Bob Gainey.

"We are very proud to announce that Patrick Roy's jersey will be retired on November 22" Mr Boivin started. That night, the Canadiens will host the Boston Bruins. According to Roy, Mr Boivin might have chosen the date to honour the number 33: 22/11 bringing us to 22 + 11.

George Gillett described how he started to know Patrick Roy.

"I used to have sits in the corner, behind the net, during Avalanche games. And he would skate back and forth during breaks. But we got to know each other on a more direct way during a golf game. I was on the tenth hole, when suddenly we started to see balls flying next to us. I turned my head and I saw Patrick and a few other Habs players trying to hit us with their golf balls!"

An anecdote to which Roy denied all responsibility. "I tried to stop them" he said jokingly.

Being a Quebec native player and winning two Stanley Cups with the Montreal Canadiens is certainly the experience of lifetime. "I spent wonderful years and I have great souvenirs of them."

However, comments, critics and observations will always be made concerning the 1995 events which resulted in the trade that sent Roy to Colorado.
But now, for the 33, it is time to turn the page. "We can't change what happened. But this is the opportunity to move on. I too felt abandoned on that December 2nd. I would have loved to leave on another note. But it's time for me to move on, and I hope people do the same."

For a Montreal fan, the 10 overtime wins during the 1993 Stanley Cup run is among unbreakable records. "We had a great group of guys, and a dedicated Captain who brought everyone to believe in it. You get into the semis, and everything is possible. Having leaders like Carbo helped us win" recalls the former starting goaltender.

When the picture time arrived, Pierre Boivin handed a red 33 jersey to Roy.

And just like in the old days, Patrick Roy was wearing the Bleu Blanc Rouge.

It will be the first time, since he retired that Patrick Roy will set a skate on the ice of the Bell Center for what the legend predicts to be an emotive night. "I had no control on my destiny, but I was hoping for this day to come. For me, being on the center of the ice, surrounded by all the fans will be very special. It will be time to close the door on the negative side of my career, and remember the positive side."

He had his jersey retired by the Colorado Avalanche in 2003, and has been introduced in the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006. 

Not only this ceremony marks a sort of reconciliation with the Montreal Canadiens, but also as a journalist said during the conference, it might be the last individual honour given to the player. But for Patrick Roy, "here is where it all started."


Note from aside: The Montreal Canadiens Jersey retirement music theme is the background sound of "this is where I belong"by Hans Zimmer. Soundtrack of the movie, Spirit. I guess the lyrics fall into the context as well.