The Montreal Canadiens (French: Les Canadiens de Montréal) are a professional ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They are members of the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference of the National Hockey League (NHL). The club is officially known as le Club de hockey Canadien. French nicknames for the team include Les Canadiens (or Le Canadien), Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, La Sainte-Flanelle,Le Tricolore, Les Glorieux (or Nos Glorieux), Les Habitants, Le CH and Le Grand Club. In English, the team's main nickname is the Habs, an abbreviation of "Les Habitants".[note 1]
Founded in 1909, the Canadiens are the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team and the only existing NHL club to predate the founding of the NHL, as well as one of the oldest North American sports franchises. The franchise is one of the "Original Six" teams, a description used for the teams that made up the NHL from 1942 until the 1967 expansion. The team's championship season in 1992–93 was the last time a Canadian team won the Stanley Cup.
The Canadiens have won the Stanley Cup more times than any other franchise. They have won 24 championships, 22 of them since 1927, when NHL teams became the only ones to compete for the Stanley Cup. On a percentage basis, as of 2010, the franchise has won 25% of all Stanley Cup championships contested after the Challenge Cup era, making it one of the most successful professional sports teams of the traditional four major sports of Canada and the United States.[note 2]
Since 1996, the Canadiens have played their home games at the Bell Centre, which was named the Molson Centre until 2003. Former homes of the team include Jubilee Rink, Montreal Westmount Arena, Mount Royal Arena and the Montreal Forum. The Forum was considered a veritable shrine to hockey fans everywhere, and housed the team for seven decades and all but their first two Stanley Cup championships.
The Canadiens were founded by J. Ambrose O'Brien on December 4, 1909, as a charter member of the National Hockey Association, the forerunner to the National Hockey League. It was to be the team of the francophone community in Montreal, composed of francophone players, and under francophone ownership as soon as possible. The team's first season was not a success, as they placed last. After the first year, ownership was transferred to George Kennedy of Montreal and the team's fortunes improved over the next seasons. The team won its first Stanley Cup championship in the 1915–16 season. In 1917, with four other NHA teams, the Canadiens formed the NHL, and they won their first NHL Stanley Cup during the 1923–24 season, led by Howie Morenz. The team moved from the Mount Royal Arena to the Montreal Forum for the 1926–27 season.
In the 1930s, the club started the decade successfully with Stanley Cup wins in 1930 and 1931. However, the club and its then Montreal rival, the Montreal Maroons, declined both on the ice and economically during the Depression. Losses grew to the point where the team owners considering selling the team to Cleveland, Ohio interests. However, local investors were found and instead it was the Maroons that suspended operations, and several of the Maroons players moved to the Canadiens.
Led by the "Punch Line" of Maurice "Rocket" Richard, Toe Blake and Elmer Lach in the 1940s, the Canadiens enjoyed success again atop the NHL. From 1953 to 1960, the franchise won six Stanley Cups, including a record five straight from 1956 to 1960, with a new set of stars coming to prominence: Jean Beliveau, Dickie Moore, Doug Harvey, Bernie "Boom Boom" Geoffrion, Jacques Plante, and Richard's younger brother, Henri.
The Canadiens added ten more championships in fifteen seasons from 1965 to 1979, with another dynastic run of four straight Cups from 1976 to 1979. In the 1976–77 season, the Canadiens set a modern-day record for fewest losses by only losing eight games in an 80-game season. The next season 1977-78, they had a 28-game unbeaten streak, the second-longest in NHL history only to the 1979-80 Philadelphia Flyers with 35-games unbeaten from October 14 to January 6.  The next generation of stars included Guy Lafleur, Yvan Cournoyer, Ken Dryden, Pete Mahovlich, Jacques Lemaire, Pierre Larouche, Steve Shutt, Bob Gainey, Serge Savard, Guy Lapointe and Larry Robinson. Scotty Bowman, who would later set a record for most NHL victories by a coach, was the team's head coach for its last five Stanley Cup victories in the 1970s.
The Canadiens won Stanley Cups in 1986, led by rookie star goaltender Patrick Roy, and in 1993, continuing their streak of winning at least one championship in every decade from the 1910s to the 1990s (this streak ended in the 2000s). In 1996, the Habs moved from the Montreal Forum, their home during 70 seasons and 22 Stanley Cups, to the Molson Centre (now the Bell Centre).
The Montreal Canadiens retired various uniform numbers as part of its leadup to its celebrations during the 2008–09 and 2009–10 seasons. As part of the scheduled events for 2009, Montreal hosted the 2009 NHL All-Star Game, and the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Pour toujours, les Canadiens! is a 2009 Quebec feature film about the centennial celebrations, written by Jacques Savoie and directed by Sylvain Archambault. The film debuted in theatres on December 4, 2009, the Canadiens' centennial.
Team colours and mascot
The current team colours are red, blue and white. These colours have been used in combination since 1914. The Canadiens' colours are an important part of French Canadian culture. In the short story "The Hockey Sweater", Roch Carrier described the influence of the Canadiens and their jersey within rural Quebec communities during the 1940s. The story was later made into an animated short, The Sweater, narrated by Carrier. A passage from the short story appears on the 2002 issue of the Canadian five dollar bill.
One of sport's oldest and most recognizable logos, the classic 'C' and 'H' of the Montreal Canadiens was first used together in the 1917–18 season, when the club changed its name to "Club de hockey Canadien" from Club athlétique Canadien, before evolving to its current form in 1952–53. The "H" stands for "hockey", not "Habs" or "Habitants", a popular misconception. According to NHL.com, the first man to refer to the team as "the Habs" was American Tex Rickard, owner of the Madison Square Garden, in 1924. Rickard apparently told a reporter that the "H" on the Canadiens' sweaters was for "Habitants."
The home sweater is predominantly red in colour. There are four blue and white stripes, one across each arm, one across the chest and the other across the waistline. The main road sweater is mainly white with a red and blue stripe across the waist, red at the end of both arm sleeves red shoulder yokes. The basic design has been in use since 1914, with the current version dating from 1952. Because of the team's lengthy history and significance in Quebec, the sweater has been referred to as 'La Sainte-Flanelle' (the holy flannel sweater).
The Canadiens used multiple designs prior to adopting the aforementioned design in 1914. The original shirt of the 1909-1910 season was blue with a white C, as can be seen worn by Georges Poulin. The Canadiens also wore a barber pole or "barber shop" design jersey for the year 1912–1913. Both of these designs were worn during the 2009-10 season as part of their 100th Anniversary celebration.
Nos bras meurtris vous tendent le flambeau, à vous toujours de le porter bien haut.
To you from failing hands we throw the torch. Be yours to hold it high.
The motto is from the poem "In Flanders Fields" by John McCrae which was written in 1915, the year the Canadiens won their first Stanley Cup championship. The motto appears on the wall of the Canadiens dressing room, originally at the Montreal Forum and currently at the Bell Centre.
Beginning in the 2004–05 NHL season, the Canadiens adopted Youppi as their official mascot, the first costumed mascot in their long history. Youppi was the longtime mascot for the Montreal Expos baseball team, but was dropped from the franchise when they moved to Washington, D.C. in 2004 and became the Washington Nationals. With the switch, Youppi became the first mascot in professional sports to switch leagues. The team has previously had children as mascots who would skate with the team during warm-ups and during intermissions. One notable child mascot was the son of player Howie Morenz, Howie Morenz Jr. Other mascots were typically the children of players or Canadiens management.
Seasons and records
Season by season results
This is a partial list of the last five seasons completed by the Canadiens. For the full season-by-season history, see List of Montreal Canadiens seasons.
Note: GP = Games played, W = Wins, L = Losses, T = Ties, OTL = Overtime Losses, Pts = Points, GF = Goals for, GA = Goals against, PIM = Penalties in minutes
|2008–09||82||41||30||11||93||249||247||2nd, Northeast||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 0–4 (Bruins)|
|2009–10||82||39||33||10||88||217||223||4th, Northeast||Lost in Conference Finals, 1–4 (Flyers)|
|2010–11||82||44||30||8||96||216||209||2nd, Northeast||Lost in Conference Quarterfinals, 3–4 (Bruins)|
|2011–12||82||31||35||16||75||212||225||5th, Northeast||Did not qualify|
|2012–13||48||29||14||5||63||149||126||1st, Northeast||Lost in Conference Quarterfinal,1-4 (Senators)|
Franchise individual records
Franchise scoring leaders
These are the top-ten point-scorers in franchise history. Figures are updated after each completed NHL regular season.
Note: Pos = Position; GP = Games Played; G = Goals; A = Assists; Pts = Points; P/G = Points per game
Sources: "Statistics | Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 2009-06-27., "Hockey-Reference.com". 2010-06-17.
Records – skaters
- Most seasons: 20, Henri Richard
- Most games: 1256, Henri Richard
- Most goals: 544, Maurice Richard
- Most assists: 728, Guy Lafleur
- Most points: 1246 (518G, 728A), Guy Lafleur
- Most penalty minutes: 2248, Chris Nilan
- Most consecutive games played: 560, Doug Jarvis
- Most goals in a season: 60, Steve Shutt (1976–77); Guy Lafleur (1977–78)
- Most powerplay goals in a season: 20, Yvan Cournoyer (1966–67)
- Most powerplay goals in a season, defenceman: 19, Sheldon Souray (2006–07)*
- Most assists in a season: 82, Pete Mahovlich (1974–75)
- Most points in a season: 136, Guy Lafleur (1976–77)
- Most penalty minutes in a season: 358, Chris Nilan (1984–85)
- Most points in a season, defenceman: 85, Larry Robinson (1976–77)
- Most points in a season, rookie: 71, Mats Naslund (1982–83); Kjell Dahlin (1985–86)
- Most goals in a season, defenceman: 28, Guy Lapointe (1974–75)
* Indicates a league record.
Source: "Season records – Individual records – Skaters | Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
Records – goaltenders
- Most games played: 556, Jacques Plante
- Most shutouts: 75, George Hainsworth
- Most wins: 314, Jacques Plante
- Most games in a season: 72, Carey Price (2010–11)
- Most wins in a season: 42, Jacques Plante (1955–56 & 1961–62); Ken Dryden (1975–76)
- Most shutouts in a season: 22, George Hainsworth (1928–29)*
* Indicates a league record.
Source: "Season records – Individual records – goaltenders | Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
Updated April 22, 2013.
- Jack Laviolette, 1909–10
- Newsy Lalonde, 1910–11
- Jack Laviolette, 1911–12
- Newsy Lalonde, 1912–13
- Jimmy Gardner, 1913–15
- Howard McNamara, 1915–16
- Newsy Lalonde, 1916–22
- Sprague Cleghorn, 1922–25
- Billy Coutu, 1925–26
- Sylvio Mantha, 1926–32
- George Hainsworth, 1932–33
- Sylvio Mantha, 1933–36
- Albert "Babe" Siebert, 1936–39
- Walter Buswell, 1939–40
- Toe Blake, 1940–48
- Bill Durnan, 1948 (January–April)
- Emile Bouchard, 1948–56
- Maurice Richard, 1956–60
- Doug Harvey, 1960–61
- Jean Beliveau, 1961–71
- Henri Richard, 1971–75
- Yvan Cournoyer, 1975–79
- Serge Savard, 1979–81
- Bob Gainey, 1981–89
- Guy Carbonneau and Chris Chelios, 1989–90 (co-captains)
- Guy Carbonneau, 1990–94
- Kirk Muller, 1994–95
- Mike Keane, 1995 (April–December)
- Pierre Turgeon, 1995–96
- Vincent Damphousse, 1996–99
- Saku Koivu, 1999–2009
- Brian Gionta, 2010–present
- Joseph Cattarinich and Jack Laviolette, 1909–1910
- Adolphe Lecours, 1911
- Napoleon Dorval, 1911–1913
- Jimmy Gardner, 1913–1915
- Newsy Lalonde, 1915–1921
- Leo Dandurand, 1921–26
- Cecil Hart, 1926–32
- Newsy Lalonde, 1932–34
- Newsy Lalonde and Leo Dandurand, 1934–35
- Sylvio Mantha, 1935–36
- Cecil Hart, 1936–38
- Cecil Hart and Jules Dugal, 1938–39
- Albert "Babe" Siebert, 1939
- Alfred "Pit" Lepine, 1939–40
- Dick Irvin, 1940–55
- Hector "Toe" Blake, 1955–68
- Claude Ruel, 1968–70
- Al MacNeil, 1970–71
- Scotty Bowman, 1971–79
- Bernie Geoffrion, 1979
- Claude Ruel, 1979–81
- Bob Berry, 1981–84
- Jacques Lemaire, 1984–85
- Jean Perron, 1985–88
- Pat Burns, 1988–92
- Jacques Demers, 1992–95
- Mario Tremblay, 1995–97
- Alain Vigneault, 1997–00
- Michel Therrien, 2000–03
- Claude Julien, 2003–06
- Bob Gainey, 2006 (January–May) (interim)
- Guy Carbonneau, 2006–09
- Bob Gainey, 2009 (March–June) (interim)
- Jacques Martin, 2009–11
- Randy Cunneyworth, 2011–12 (interim)
- Michel Therrien, 2012–present
Source: "Historical Website of the Montreal Canadiens". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
The Canadiens have retired fifteen numbers in honour of seventeen players, the most of any team in the National Hockey League, and the third highest total of any of the four major professional sports leagues of the United States and Canada. All of the honourees were born in Canada. Howie Morenz was the first honouree on November 2, 1937.
|No.||Player||Position||Career||Date of honour|
|1||Jacques Plante||G||1953-63||October 7, 1995|
|2||Doug Harvey||D||1947-61||October 26, 1985|
|3||Emile Bouchard||D||1941-56||December 4, 2009|
|4||Jean Beliveau||C||1952-71||October 9, 1971|
|5||Bernie Geoffrion||RW||1950-64||March 11, 2006|
|7||Howie Morenz||C||1923-34||November 2, 1937|
|9||Maurice Richard||RW||1943-60||October 6, 1960|
|10||Guy Lafleur||RW||1971-85||February 16, 1985|
|12||Dickie Moore||LW||1953-63||November 12, 2005|
|Yvan Cournoyer||RW||1964-79||November 12, 2005|
|16||Henri Richard||C||1955-75||December 10, 1975|
|Elmer Lach||C||1940-54||December 4, 2009|
|18||Serge Savard||D||1967-81||November 18, 2006|
|19||Larry Robinson||D||1972-89||November 19, 2007|
|23||Bob Gainey||LW||1974-89||February 23, 2008|
|29||Ken Dryden||G||1970-79||January 29, 2007|
|33||Patrick Roy||G||1985-95||November 22, 2008|
|99 1||Wayne Gretzky||C||-||February 6, 2000|
- Gretzky's #99 was retired by the NHL for all its teams.
Hockey Hall of Fame
Sixty-one people associated with the Canadiens have been inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame. Thirty-six of these players are from three separate notable dynasties: 12 from 1955–1960, 11 from 1964–1969 and 13 from 1975–1979. Howie Morenz and Georges Vezina were the first Canadiens given the honour in 1945, while Doug Gilmour was the most recently inducted, in 2011.
The following are members of the Hockey Hall of Fame in the Builders category. The first inductee was Vice President William Northy in 1945. The most recent inductee was coach Scotty Bowman in 1991 who coached the Canadiens from 1971 to 1979, leading them to 5 Stanley Cups in only 8 seasons.
|William Northey||Vice President||1945|
|Hon. Donat Raymond||Owner||1958|
|Frank J. Selke||General Manager||1960|
|J. Ambrose O'Brien||Owner||1962|
|Tommy Gorman||General Manager||1963|
|Hon. H de M Molson||Owner||1973|
|Sam Pollock||General Manager||1978|
- List of Montreal Canadiens award winners
- Montreal Junior Canadiens
- Bruins–Canadiens rivalry
- List of Montreal Canadiens presidents
- List of Montreal Canadiens general managers
- List of NHL players
- List of NHL seasons
- List of Stanley Cup champions
- List of Montreal Canadiens goaltenders
- Bell Sports Complex
- "Montreal Canadiens Team - Montréal Canadiens - Team: Administration". Canadiens.nhl.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
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- "The Complete List of Stanley Cup Champions". About.com. 2007. Retrieved 2006-02-14.
- "Stanley Cup Champions and Finalists". NHL.com. 2007. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
- "NBA Finals: All-Time Champions". NBA Media Ventures. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
- "World Series History: Championships by Club". MLB Advanced Media. Retrieved 2008-07-22.
- "Molson Centre renamed Bell Centre". CBC Sports. 2002-02-26. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
- "The end of an era (The Montreal Forum)". High Beam Research. 1996. Retrieved 2007-02-10.
- "Montreal Canadiens Hockey Team". Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- Stubbs, Dave (2008-09-04). "Canadiens toy with game at Olympic Stadium". Montreal Gazette. pp. C2. Retrieved 2008-09-04
- D'Arcy, pp. 10–11
- "Canadian Dictionary of Biography online". Government of Canada Library and Archives. 2007. Retrieved 2007-04-30.
- FlyersHistory.net, Some Facts & Figures About the Streak.
- "Old Flyers know what makes a streak". ESPN. February 27, 2013. Retrieved March 7, 2013.
- "Blackhawks' streak ends at 24 with loss to Avalanche". NHL.com. March 8, 2013. Retrieved March 10, 2013.
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- "Canadiens to host 2009 NHL Entry Draft" (Press release). NHL.com. 2008-07-15. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
- "''Pour toujours, les Canadiens!'' à l'affiche en décembre 2009". Cinoche.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- "File: Sur le plateau de ''Pour toujours, les Canadiens!''". Cinoche.com. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- Tarasoff, Tamara (2004-12-10). "Roch Carrier and The Hockey Sweater". Civilization.ca. Canadian Museum of Civilization Corporation. Retrieved 2008-09-04.[dead link]
- National Film Board of Canada Production (2008). "The Sweater". NFB – Collection. National Film Board of Canada Production. Retrieved 2008-09-04.
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- Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (2008). "The Virtual Hot Stove". Hockey: A People's History (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). Retrieved 2008-09-04.
- Coffey, Phil (2008-02-08). "NHL.com – Ice Age: Playing the point on many issues – 02/08/2008". NHL.com. Retrieved 2008-12-12.
- "Why are the Montreal Canadiens called the Habs?". About.com. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-30.
- "Montreal Canadiens jersey photograph". Scottywazz.blogspot.com. 2009-11-06. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- "Montreal Canadiens historical jerseys". Ourhistory.canadiens.com. 2008. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- "Canadiens adopt Youppi! as their mascot". NBC. 2005. Retrieved 2008-06-13.
- "Canadiens Roster". Montreal Canadiens. Retrieved 2013-4-22.
- "Canadiens fire Carbonneau, Gainey takes over as coach". Tsn.ca. Retrieved 2011-02-16.
- Club de hockey Canadien (2008). "Montreal Canadiens – History". canadiens.nhl.com. Archived from the original on 2007-12-29. Retrieved 2008-02-23.
- "Gretzky's number retired before All-Star Game", Sports Illustrated, 7 February 2000.
- D'Arcy, Jenish (2009). The Montreal Canadiens: 100 Years of Glory. Anchor Canada. ISBN 978-0-385-66325-0
- Leonetti, Mike (2003). Canadiens legends : Montreal's hockey heroes. Raincoast Books. ISBN 1-55192-731-4
- Mouton, Claude (1987). The Montreal Canadiens. Toronto, ON: Key Porter Books. ISBN 1-55013-051-X.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Canadiens de Montréal|
- Official website
- Official historical website of the Montreal Canadiens
- CBC Digital Archives: Montreal Canadiens at 100
- Montreal Canadiens's channel on YouTube
- Bell Centre
- Bell Sports Complex
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