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Your real life Hab Encounters


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Ran this idea briefly through with an ex mod, pretty basic thread for the off season.

Have you ever met person to person with active or long moved on Montreal Canadians? When and where, off season, season, or was it during the post season?

Me personally, when I had the lucky opportunity to travel to Montreal 8-9 years ago with family and catch a couple Canadians game's at the Bell center in October at the start of the season (Toronto and someone else, possibly Vancouver but could have been another Northeast division rival) before the first or second game we saw @ the Bell we ate at some restaurant in Montreal. Must have been fine dining because lo and behold near the end of the meal we notice Jan Bulis and Richard Zednik having their pre-game meal as well at a table near ours! ;) Have an autographed hat, but the writing is fading :rolleyes: . Other then that, I've seen an almost identical Alex Galchenyuk looking young fella on a bus in Victoria BC recently this summer, such an exact replica I'll be left scratching my head whenever I recall it . :lol:

So what are your guy's encounters from over the years.

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I met Hal Gill at a bar that used to be call O'Regans (I think it was 3-4 years ago). I didn't realize who he was at first (despite the fact that he towered over everyone, possibly because it took actual effort to look up at his face). He was just the nicest you can imagine, very friendly guy with everyone, and seemed to be having a good time listening to the band.

I also met Price, Plekanec, and Gionta (sitting at a table with Elliott Friedman, and Glenn Healy). I walked in to Hurleys at like 2:45 AM ( you can imagine the state i was in). First person I see is Elliott and I start having a conversation with him (extremely friendly). Then I turn and notice the trio of habs. I was a bit out of it, so they kinda of ignored me (I really don't blame them though). When I remembered the next morning I was pretty excited lol!

Oh I also VERY BRIEFLY ran into Cole at Hurleys as well. I was outside having a smoke in a habs sweater and the funny tuque that Theo wore during first winter classic. Cole walks out turns to me and gave me a smirk. It happened really fast I just gave him a nod.

Always exciting when you run into some of them.

I've never asked for an autograph, maybe I will next time, I think its about timing so you don't cause it so that there are now 50 people behind you also asking for autographs!

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This comes from the story I wrote on Marco Spelten's excellent Maurice Richard tribute web site, here: [link removed: sorry Larry, links to personal sites/articles are not permitted but thanks for sharing the story below]

Meeting My All Time Favorite Athlete - Maurice Richard
By Larry Launstein, Jr.

The Montreal Canadiens have been my favorite team since I was a boy. At the time I was growing up, the Canadiens were still dominating the National Hockey League, seemingly winning Stanley Cups year after year. If they did not win, they were a major threat to do so. I am from Michigan, Detroit Red Wings country, but when I was young, the Wings were very bad, a far cry from the glory years of Gordie Howe, Ted Lindsay, and Terry Sawchuck in the 1950s and the more recent years, when they won two Stanley Cups in the 1990s.

I became captivated with a team from Montreal in the 70s (when I first started in high school) that seemed not only to win often, but win in dramatic and sometimes breathtaking fashion. And, the more I learned about them, I became fascinated with one of the most exciting athletes ever, Maurice "Rocket" Richard. I thrilled reading about his exploits,
and checked the book "The Flying Frenchmen - Hockey's Greatest Dynasty" out from the library every chance I got. I eventually wound up getting a copy of the book, which Richard co-authored with legendary hockey writer
Stan Fischler. Richard tells his own story in this book, and there is an excellent history of Montreal hockey, not just the Canadiens, from the beginnings, to 1970. Richard displayed a sense of humor in this book to go along with his seriousness.

I was very fortunate to meet and talk with Richard twice about hockey, and those were great days for me. I got a first-hand example of Richard's deadpan humor in 1988, when I met him for the first time in Dearborn, Michigan. He had his brother Henri with him, and I got to talk to him as well. At any rate, Richard gave me something I will always
remember him by. I told him that he had been my hero since I was x-tall (I gestured to show how young I was when I first started thrilling to his exploits), and he came back at me with " I retired before you were born" with half a smile on his face and nodding his head up and down. I have to admit, I was a bit embarrassed at first, but it did not take me
very long to realize he was trying to have a bit of fun with me. I have nephews (and a niece) who have played hockey at one time or another, so I asked the Rocket what he felt was the most important fundamental in hockey, and naturally, obviously, he said skating. I also asked him and Henri what the greatest moments of their careers were, and they said that winning the Stanley Cup and scoring winning goals were their biggest thrills.

I came out of that one very happy, and have a large color autographed picture of Maurice and Henri Richard hanging on my wall.

A few years later, in 1991, I had the chance to meet him again, this time, in Westland, Michigan. This time, he had Jean Beliveau with him, and I got to ask them about hockey now compared to their heyday in the late 1950s, especially where it concerns hockey roughness. Richard and Beliveau told me that hockey was much rougher in their day than it is now. I found Beliveau to be a very nice person, every bit as advertised. Another couple of things I remember from that day: There was a long line going outside the door and around the sports collectors place where
Richard and Beliveau were. One of the people in line was a gorgeous lady whose husband had to work that day, and she was there in his place. She was only a few people ahead of me, and when she finally got to where Richard and Beliveau were at, she was just so happy about meeting them and getting their autographs. The other thing I will never forget about that day was after I got done talking to Richard and Beliveau, I talked for awhile with the people who ran the store, telling them about the first time I met Richard. The autographed picture I sent Marco Spelten for his site was the one I got from that second meeting. Yet another thing I will never forget: I have always loved the name Jean Beliveau. When I walked away after talking to him and Richard, I could not resist: J-E-A-N B-E-L-I-V-E-A-U said long and slow.

I have had a chance to meet a couple of Richard's rivals, Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull, and they both had some stories to tell. Howe attended a Flint (Michigan) Bulldogs game a few years back. The Bulldogs were in Flint only for a couple of years, and then the Generals came back with a whole new team after the Bulldogs left Flint. One of Howe's sons, Mark, was in the Bulldogs organization, and Gordie was a guest of the team, and was signing autographs as well. Gordie was renowned for his graciousness and his sense of humor, and he did not disappoint me when I asked him about his battles with Richard. Howe told me "Oh, those were the easiest nights of my career ... I had to show him a few corners". Anyone who knows anything about hockey history at all would know that the battles between Howe and Richard (The Red Wings and Canadiens) were all-out war. They were extremely bitter rivals. I got a kick out of what Howe said, and I knew he was having fun with me. But, just to pursue it further, after the game, in the Blue Line Club restaurant in the Flint IMA Sports Arena, I got the chance to talk to him again. On my way out of the IMA Sports Arena, I asked him again "Was Richard really that easy"? and he nodded his head yes with a big grin on his face. I left the IMA Sports Arena laughing my head off. If anyone noticed, I didn't care. Howe gave me a special moment of his own.

I had the chance to meet Bobby Hull twice. The first time he came to Flint, he showed me his 1961 Stanley Cup championship ring. He put it right up to my eyes and said "You see this? This is what we play for". He then told me about ending the Canadiens five consecutive Stanley Cup streak in 1961 (The Canadiens, with Richard helping lead the way, won the Cup from 1956 to 1960, and is still considered by many to be the greatest hockey team ever iced), and then upsetting Detroit in the final.

The second time Hull came to Michigan, he was in Birch Run, north of Flint. The sports collectors store where I first met Hull moved there, and Dennis Hull came along with Bobby this time. Believe it or not, Bobby remembered showing me his Stanley Cup ring, and Bobby, Dennis and I talked for a few minutes about Bobby's encounters with Richard. Bobby said Richard was a very tough player. I was just about to walk away after getting his and Dennis' autographs on a Chicago Black Hawks hockey puck when Bobby called me back. He had me introduce myself, and he and Dennis and I talked a bit more hockey, and Bobby was asking me about what I do, desktop publishing, graphic art and web design.

I hope I see Gordie Howe and Bobby Hull again, as well as Jean Beliveau and Henri Richard.

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Larry/habisme, great stories representing two totally different era's of hockey.

Larry : For post no helmet generation born guy's like myself it's more then sacred to imagine meeting such a legend (well, legends I should say but as a hab fan Richard comes to mind first!) from the most intense era of hockey. That would be something to never forget. Unreal you got to meet RIchard in your home town Michigan . Where did you run into Richard in '88?

isme : That story...Hal Gill...in a bar , drunk.....more on the freaky side of hockey encounters! Haha can only imagine meeting the Giller in that type of location or Cp31, Pleky/Gio. Crazy stuff.

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I first met Maurice Richard and Henri Richard in Dearborn, Michigan, and then got to meet Maurice again along with Jean Beliveau in Westland, Michigan, both near Detroit. I'm about 75-80 miles north, northwest of those places. And Richard rubbed off on me in ways that are off the charts. I and remember the no-helmet days very well. The sight of Guy Lafleur's blond hair flapping in the breeze, Bobby Clarke's mop-haircut, and the flowing locks of guys like Larry Robinson, Daryl Sittler, Mickey Redmond, and more was quite the sight. Could you imagine the sight of the Rocket with a helmet? It just wouldn't look quite right to me. Just a bit too jarring, and would take away too much from his calling card - those eyes, flashing and gleaming like a pinball machine. While I understand why they needed to find a way to make hockey a bit safer, I really do miss the individuality. At least some players did find a way around this, like Lanny McDonald with his bushy mustache.

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By the way, that large color picture I mention in the story about my meeting Richard was the same one I took to the Antiques Roadshow in Detroit June 1 - the legendary PBS series. So all the way around, the whole experience of meeting Richard, who was my hero as a boy and remains my all-time favorite athlete and most influential person I've ever encountered, and getting to at least talk about him in the Feedback Booth at the Roadshow, will forever remain with me. I have no intention whatsoever of selling this, as I have several hockey players in my family and would like to pass it on. One of my nieces played women's collegiate hockey at the University of Maine, and then went on to play some in Germany. I'm still awaiting to see what she plans on doing in hockey now. I've made sure she and my nephews know all about the Richard legacy. I like to believe that Richard indirectly had something to do with them getting into hockey in the first place. I hope they ultimately learn the same lessons I learned from Richard in my lifetime. I try to apply them in my everyday life - that of being very devoted and passioinate about what I do, and being willing to do whatever it takes to be the very best I can be at it. Richard showed that one has to have the fire that burns from within and it must burn inside at all times.

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one year the habs did a full tea, autograph signing at the hall of fame, so i went down to that, and this was at the time we had huet and aebischer and there was still no clear number 1

i loved huet when he played here, and i thought aebischer was horrible from day 1, so when i get to huet me and my friend are pumping his tires big time, dont worry cristobal your the man, your the number 1, and i didnt realize the next guy at the table was aebischer.

aebi was horrible in his next couple of starts and ended up being the clear backup after that. i dont want to take ALL the credit, but....well....i think i have to, what other way is there to look at it?

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I met Larry Robinson at the Rideau Centre in Ottawa when him and the team he was coaching (LA I think but I could be wrong) were in town to play the Sens. He was a little stand offish but it was the day of the game and I am certain he had his mind on that and did not need some random fan bothering him at that time. I told him that I was a big Habs fan and that I loved to watch him play when he was with the team and that I just wanted to shake his hand. He thawed with that, we did shake hands, and then I let him be.

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  • 1 month later...

Met quite a few players over the years (I used to live in the old port and theres quite a few players just walking around believe it or not).

My favorite encounter of all time are definitely the times i got drunk with Yvon Lambert (what an awesome guy seriously).

Same thing happened with Mike Ribeiro (and Pierre Dagenais) but it wasn't as fun obviously lol.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Approximately, 18 months before I met my beautiful wife, I was travelling through Burkes Falls, Sundridge and South River, Ontario. At one of the three places, I pulled off the road, looking for hamburger and fries. At this stop, the place was full, so I asked this gentleman, If he mind if I sat across from him, in this booth. He had no problem, with this, so I ordered and had a general chat about this and that. Unfortunately, not about hockey. I told him I was Bryan, and he said most people called Him bob or bobby. I kept looking at him and was sure I new his face, but i also was preoccupied by other thoughts, on my travels. After, he got up approx. 20 minutes later, he left and I went to pay my bill. The young lady at the till, said to me, you are the envy of everyone in the room. I said why, she said, we all did not have the nerve to bother him. I said who. She said, you were sitting with bobby orr, we thought you knew him. First time, I said a four letter word starting with S. I missed out on a autograph? And a young lady had a good laugh :)

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After, he got up approx. 20 minutes later, he left and I went to pay my bill. The young lady at the till, said to me, you are the envy of everyone in the room. I said why, she said, we all did not have the nerve to bother him. I said who. She said, you were sitting with bobby orr, we thought you knew him. First time, I said a four letter word starting with S. I missed out on a autograph? And a young lady had a good laugh :)

Bobby Orr, was born, March 20th, 1948, and I was born January 9th, 1948., as the song says :wub: It was a very good year. :ph34r: :P B) :unsure:

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Awesome stories people!

Living in Montreal I've had several encounters with players and management.

Back in the 90's I had a Swedish gf who's family were really into the Swedish community here in Montreal. Long story short my (at the time) gf use to babysit Mats naslunds kids! Meeting him was definitely a proud moment.

Going back about 7-8 years i was at my favorite watering hole "Hurley's Irish Pub", which is known to be a favorite hang out for Montreal celebraties (Usually English). Ron Reusch use to be a loyal customer there, have talked hockey with him on several occassions. The guys from TSN 690 go there from time to time, especially Tony and Randy.

But my favorite is still to come... One summer night I took my usual table in the music room (on the ground floor). i decided to take a trip up stairs to the other music room, curious to see if anyone I knew was upstairs. I glanced around and just I was to turn around and head back downstairs, I noticed a familiar face. I had to take a 2nd look to see if it was, who I thought it was... It was truly him, Bob gainey (the habs GM at the time)!

He was sitting alone enjoying a drink, I slowly approached his table and almost in the form of a question i said, "Mr gainey", he looked up and said, "yes, how can i help you?". Long story short, he invited me to sit down and share a drink with him. Just a little background history, this was right around the time he had lost his daughter on that boating accident. I believe she was still missing at the time. Long story short we talked for quite a while about hockey, other sports and just life in general.

Another Saturday night after a habs game, a lot of the habs alumni's came to Hurley's after the game. It was either a jersey retirement night or something, it was in 08-09, around the 100 year anniversary. Carbo was the coach at the time and he was at Hurley's after a big habs win smiling from ear to ear. I met so many x-hab players that night (they were all partying in the party hall upstairs).

It was great to meet all these Hab greats, but nothing will compare to chatting with Bob Gainey over drinks.

It doesn't really compare to meeting Bobby Orr, but is still a very special moment for me. i think BG was feeling kind of down (as aforementioned it was around the time his daughter disappeared) and appreciated the company. Others seeing me sitting, drinking and chatting with BG ended up joining us. It was such a thrill for me, but i also hope that it raised BG's spirits for the evening (he was going through a lot of personal issues) or at the very least let him forget the termoil going on in his life atm.

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Another Saturday night after a habs game, a lot of the habs alumni's came to Hurley's after the game. It was either a jersey retirement night or something, it was in 08-09, around the 100 year anniversary. Carbo was the coach at the time and he was at Hurley's after a big habs win smiling from ear to ear. I met so many x-hab players that night (they were all partying in the party hall upstairs).



It was great to meet all these Hab greats, but nothing will compare to chatting with Bob Gainey over drinks.


amazing, thanks FirstStar


some people do not know, how important, sharing these special moments, in life are. As you get older, sometimes, most of the people you know, young and old, pass away, move on, for no special reason, it happens. You meet new friends, but it is not the same. So all these memories come flooding back to you, and you sure do appreciate them. In telling your story, it brought a nice memory back to me, that I have forgotten for years.


In the early 70's I came down to southern ontario, for a job interview, I knew my wife was homesick, but she never complained. I stopped at a Golf Course, I think it was Horseshoe Valley? I decided to have a round of golf, and I figured I could do 9 holes. Some montreal canadiens like Cournoyer, were on the course. Anyway I ended up with a defenseman. At that time I think it was Vanboxmeer, and I say that, because there was a chicago black hawks defenseman their at the time, but anyway, I enjoyed both their company. I told him on the course, that I was new at golfing, so If he wanted to continue on, I would understand. He stayed with me, and the first hole that we played was a par 4, dog leg left. He nailed his drive a distance that I will never hit. I hit mine to the dog leg turn, just enough to see the green. My second shot, I thought I had put it into the front sand trap at the green. His second shot was on the green. When we got there, I could not find my ball, we both looked for 5 or six minutes. When the greenskeeper, working there, said look in the cup. Wow, there was my ball.


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  • 2 weeks later...

When I was 12 years old, I was playing little league and was on a team representing the Maritimes, Glace Bay Colonels, we had to play a Quebec team from Sherbrooke to advance to the Canadian Little League championships.

The billets we stayed with in Dorval lived within a short walk to a park, anyway we took the golf clubs to this park to hit some balls, I had hit one over the fence and it bounced on some pavement and into this person yard.

I watched as this man picked up the ball came across the road "I thought I was in trouble :)" , he slowly through the ball over the fence and asked ever so nicely if we could be a bit more careful as there were really young kids playing in his yard. I could not even speak as I watched this man turn and walk back to the his yard.

I had just met Scotty Bowman, as a young 12 year old boy, from a town of 20,000, I could not even speak to ask for an Autograph, but I knew who he was, even as such a young age, one of my favorite memories of all time, that was 40 years ago and I still chuckle to myself when I think about it.

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  • 8 months later...

Must have been fine dining because lo and behold near the end of the meal we notice Jan Bulis and Richard Zednik

Thanks for re-opening the thread greekhockey coach! I know there are more of you out there that have met Montreal Canadiens !

On the quote, it was actualy Radek Bonk and Jan Bulis now that I remember correctly!

After, he got up approx. 20 minutes later, he left and I went to pay my bill. The young lady at the till, said to me, you are the envy of everyone in the room. I said why, she said, we all did not have the nerve to bother him. I said who. She said, you were sitting with bobby orr, we thought you knew him. First time, I said a four letter word starting with S. I missed out on a autograph? And a young lady had a good laugh :)

Bobby Orr, was born, March 20th, 1948, and I was born January 9th, 1948., as the song says :wub: It was a very good year. :ph34r: :P B) :unsure:

Nice story habby, though not a hab!

I met Larry Robinson at the Rideau Centre in Ottawa when him and the team he was coaching (LA I think but I could be wrong) were in town to play the Sens. He was a little stand offish but it was the day of the game and I am certain he had his mind on that and did not need some random fan bothering him at that time. I told him that I was a big Habs fan and that I loved to watch him play when he was with the team and that I just wanted to shake his hand. He thawed with that, we did shake hands, and then I let him be.

Awesome, the big bird! Indeed a very serious player, man and coach by all acounts.

When I was 12 years old, I was playing little league and was on a team representing the Maritimes, Glace Bay Colonels, we had to play a Quebec team from Sherbrooke to advance to the Canadian Little League championships.

The billets we stayed with in Dorval lived within a short walk to a park, anyway we took the golf clubs to this park to hit some balls, I had hit one over the fence and it bounced on some pavement and into this person yard.

I watched as this man picked up the ball came across the road "I thought I was in trouble :)" , he slowly through the ball over the fence and asked ever so nicely if we could be a bit more careful as there were really young kids playing in his yard. I could not even speak as I watched this man turn and walk back to the his yard.

I had just met Scotty Bowman, as a young 12 year old boy, from a town of 20,000, I could not even speak to ask for an Autograph, but I knew who he was, even as such a young age, one of my favorite memories of all time, that was 40 years ago and I still chuckle to myself when I think about it.

That would be a shock seeing Scotty Bowman over the fence!

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Awesome stories people!

Living in Montreal I've had several encounters with players and management.

Back in the 90's I had a Swedish gf who's family were really into the Swedish community here in Montreal. Long story short my (at the time) gf use to babysit Mats naslunds kids! Meeting him was definitely a proud moment.

Going back about 7-8 years i was at my favorite watering hole "Hurley's Irish Pub", which is known to be a favorite hang out for Montreal celebraties (Usually English). Ron Reusch use to be a loyal customer there, have talked hockey with him on several occassions. The guys from TSN 690 go there from time to time, especially Tony and Randy.

But my favorite is still to come... One summer night I took my usual table in the music room (on the ground floor). i decided to take a trip up stairs to the other music room, curious to see if anyone I knew was upstairs. I glanced around and just I was to turn around and head back downstairs, I noticed a familiar face. I had to take a 2nd look to see if it was, who I thought it was... It was truly him, Bob gainey (the habs GM at the time)!

He was sitting alone enjoying a drink, I slowly approached his table and almost in the form of a question i said, "Mr gainey", he looked up and said, "yes, how can i help you?". Long story short, he invited me to sit down and share a drink with him. Just a little background history, this was right around the time he had lost his daughter on that boating accident. I believe she was still missing at the time. Long story short we talked for quite a while about hockey, other sports and just life in general.

Another Saturday night after a habs game, a lot of the habs alumni's came to Hurley's after the game. It was either a jersey retirement night or something, it was in 08-09, around the 100 year anniversary. Carbo was the coach at the time and he was at Hurley's after a big habs win smiling from ear to ear. I met so many x-hab players that night (they were all partying in the party hall upstairs).

It was great to meet all these Hab greats, but nothing will compare to chatting with Bob Gainey over drinks.

It doesn't really compare to meeting Bobby Orr, but is still a very special moment for me. i think BG was feeling kind of down (as aforementioned it was around the time his daughter disappeared) and appreciated the company. Others seeing me sitting, drinking and chatting with BG ended up joining us. It was such a thrill for me, but i also hope that it raised BG's spirits for the evening (he was going through a lot of personal issues) or at the very least let him forget the termoil going on in his life atm.

Mats Naslund and a chat with Bob Gainey.

Very high praised hockey company indeed, glad to hear you've chatted with Bob firststar.

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