summer, all of a sudden


Poolies: Sometimes, as a Montreal Canadien, you head to Florida on business in May and you get down there feeling good, relaxed, released from the bonds of Quebec’s long winter, ready to work hard, sure, but nice, also, to be in the sun, near the ocean, in shirtsleeves. But then your meeting doesn’t quite go as planned, you fail to seal the deal, the whole state seems to go sour on you in the span of a couple of hours, people are booing and jeering, what a terrible place, you can’t wait to get out of there. Not a great way to start your summer. In olden days, Florida wasn’t where hockey stopped. You didn’t go there to skate let alone to lose, Florida had nothing to do with the game, other than maybe as a reward for a season hard-fought and Stanley-Cup-winning. In the 1950s, when the Habs claimed five Cups, some of their famous number, with names like Richard and Geoffrion and Bouchard, would pack up their automobiles as soon as their duty was done on the ice and with their families drive in holiday armada to where the sawgrass meets the sky. Above, Maurice Richard thaws at poolside with his wife, Lucille, towards the end of the decade.