Saturday Night In Saskatchewan
Dedicated to my grandfather
It was the late 70's & I was a young lad living in Regina. Every Saturday I would go to visit my grandparents. This was a special time in my life. We would do various things throughout the day but I was always anxious for it to be 7 pm. That's when Hockey Night In Canada would come on tv live from the Forum in Montreal! For the next three hours my grandpa & I would sit down & cheer on the Habs. When HNIC would show the Leafs we'd turn it to the french channel. It didn't matter to us if we didn't understand the announcers, we just wanted to watch the game. The Habs & my grandpa were the biggest things in my life at that time for I was only 7-8 years old during this period. Unfortunately my grandpa passed away a month before my ninth birthday. I only knew my grandpa for a short time and that's what made the time we spent together so special & one reason as to why I love the Habs so much. You know the day every year when winter breaks & it feels like spring is in the air? That's the day I look up at the sky & say “It's playoff time gramps.”
I remember playing shinny every morning, lunch hour, recess & after school.When I was a forward I was the Flower, when I was on defence I was Big Bird & when I played goal I was always Ken Dryden. I even leaned on my stick like he did when the play was down the ice or street.
During my teenage years I would watch every Saturday night & I was able to listen to the weekday games on the French CBC radio channel. When I moved out on my own I got one of those huge black satellite dishes (remember those?) and I watched every game I could. It was extra special watching it with my buddies.
Let's jump ahead to 1992-1993, what an amazing season that was. However it didn't start out so well for me. Besides my family & friends, my closest buddies were Murdoch & Spencer, my dogs. Murdoch passed away that year, the day he died was very hard on me. That week while watching a game I turned to my friend & said the Habs are going to win the Cup this year & I am dedicating this season to the memory of Murdoch. True story. Well we all know we won!!!
January 2,1998 I got to see my first live Canadiens game in Edmonton with my wife. We were losing 3-1 with approx. eight minutes left & came back to win 5-3. Wow, that was a great day. My hand was so sore that night from high-fiving so many fellow Hab fans. How could I ever top that experience? Well let's move ahead to 2008 when I finally made it to the Holy Land, the Bell Centre. We booked the tickets to coincide with the Grey Cup game. We went to two games. Unknown to us at the time we booked, the first game was Patrick Roy's jersey raising. What a thrill! Then the next game we got to see O'Byrne score on himself. LOL. Talk about your highs & lows. The boys lost both games but it was one of my childhood dreams come true.
I am married now to my beautiful wife & we have three great kids. Of course raising a family is very time consuming & then there's work. Still I manage to see almost every game. When anyone asks me how I became a Habs fan living so far away I tell them the story of Saturday nights in Saskatchewan watching the bleu, blanc & rouge play on HNIC with my grandfather.
I miss you grandpa.