September 24, 2008: The Montreal Canadien Hockey Club unveiled a host of festivities and special announcements in order celebrate the upcoming Centennial season, year, birthday.
And it was in front of hundreds of employees and journalists at the Bell Centre that the president Pierre Boivin, the owner George Gillet and the vice-president marketing Ray Lalonde announced this exciting news.
Ray Lalonde was especially excited to show a 20-minute video on the brand-new center screen—which is five times bigger than the previous one, and now the biggest center screen in the NHL.
In the past, when sitting in the Red sections of the Bell Centre, you could feel right at home during commercial breaks and in between periods, as the center screen was still big enough and showed commercials like we are used to seeing on TV. Now, with the new center screen, spectators might feel like they are in an IMAX theatre!
Before I start listing all the announcements, I’d like to say one simple thing—for the next two years, it won’t be very difficult to buy a gift for a Montreal Canadiens fan!
Launch of NHL 2009 from EA Sports
This new version of the popular game will have a new team featuring the best players from the Montreal Canadiens history.
Publishing of Honoured Canadiens
A nice book what will display the 44 Montreal Canadiens players inducted in the Hockey Hall Of Fame in Toronto. We can already pre-order it.
Launch of the Montreal Canadiens version of the Monopoly game
Yes, Maurice Richard will be on the Boardwalk space. But one thing that is interesting is that Patrick Roy and Guy Carbonneau will be next to each other in the dark greens.
Distribution of six special coins from the Royal Canadian Money
Six collectible coins, with a version of each of the six previous jerseys.
October 15: First local game, unveiling of the Honour Board
In order to honour the 44 Montreal Canadiens players inducted in the Hockey Hall Of Fame, a picture and number of each player will be displayed in the wall behind the Blue Section of the Bell Center.
October 20: Special Centennial game—the 70s jersey
It will be very interesting to see and watch these games, as the Montreal Canadiens players will wear an original jersey during 8 games of the 2008-09 season and 4 games of the 2009-10 season. I believe it will be possible to purchase these jerseys.
October 28: Special game—Builders evening
To honour the coaches of the team’s history.
Unveiling of a special DVD with the 10 most memorable games
Amongst the 10 games, it twill include the infamous Good Friday game against the Quebec Nordiques in 1984, one of the bloodiest hockey games in history. And it will also show the 1975 game against the Moscow Red Army.
November 15: Special Centennial game—original version of the current third jersey
November 22: Patrick Roy’s jersey retirement
Construction of an outside community rink in the Saint-Michel neighbourhood
The Montreal Canadiens Foundation will build outside rinks in different communities.
December 4: Unveiling of the Centennial Plaza, outside the Bell Center
December 4: Special Centennial game—blue, white, and red jersey with the white CAC logo inside
December 10th – Launch of the Centennial Web site
January 8: Classic confrontation against the Toronto Maple Leafs
January 13: Upper Deck will launch a special collectible cards set for the Montreal Canadiens history
January 25: NHL All-Star weekend
Thursday at 19h will be a special evening to honour hockey legends.
Saturday at 10h will be the official All-Star practice at the Bell Center.
Saturday at 19h will be the famous All-Star Skills competition.
Sunday at 19h will be the All-Star game.
February 1: Special Centennial game–striped jersey
It will be interesting to see what jerseys the referees will wear in that game.
February 21: Special Centennial game—70s jersey
Launch of 10,000,000 dollar coins with a special Centennial logo.
March 14: Special Centennial game–original version of the current 3rd jersey
March 21: Special Centennial game–blue, white, and red jersey
March 31: Special Centennial game–striped jersey
Official opening of the Montreal Canadiens Hall Of Fame
April 2: Montreal Symphonic Orchestra special show before the Islanders game
JUNE 26-27: NHL Entry Draft
Launch of a special DVD: A Season in the Life
A special behind-the-scenes documentary to show the life of Montreal Canadiens players during a season.
Official launch of four million postal stamps from Canada Post.
Launch of a special DVD set about the Montreal Canadiens history
October 20: Special Centennial game—red jersey with the white C inside the maple leaf
November 3: Special Centennial game–first jersey, the blue one
November 21: Special Centennial game–red jersey with the white C inside the maple leaf
December 1: Special Centennial game—first jersey, the blue one
December 4: Official opening of the Montreal Canadiens movie, Pour Toujours, les Canadiens
December 4: Special game for the team’s 100th birthday
December 5: Closing Gala for the Centennial celebrations
In short, I’m very happy with all these announcements. It will be very easy to satisfy every type of fan, from every group, style, and age.
I believe this time it will be very difficult to have anything to disagree—we will have to wait and see what some talk-shows like "110 Percent" can come up with.
I can’t wait to see the new center screen, which might make me regret buying tickets in the White sections instead of the Reds. I’m very curious to renew my Monopoly game with the Montreal Canadiens version.
But most importantly, I simply cannot wait to see the old jerseys and get my hands on a few.
And you, what do you like about these announcements? What are your top three?