taking it to the streets

Sunday Stroll: The Montreal Canadiens won the 14th Stanley Cup in franchise history on Thursday, May 5, 1966, dispensing with the Detroit Red Wings in six games after Henri Richard scored the decisive overtime goal in Game Six. Three days later, when the Canadiens went walkabout through the streets of Montreal, an estimated 600,000 citizens turned out to greet them. Above and below, captain Jean Béliveau and winger Bobby Rousseau make their way down Boulevard Saint-Joseph. (Images: Archives de la Ville de Montréal, VM94, Ed28-16 and VM94,Ed28-1)

road revel

Won Way: As the Washington Capitals gird themselves for today’s Stanley Cup parade, here’s Henri Richard in May of 1971 on his way through an adoring Montreal throng. His team had beaten the Chicago Black Hawks in seven games to win — well, it was their first championship since ’69, their fifth since 1965. The Cup itself led the way in the parade that year, sitting on a pedestal, riding a big green float alongside the entire marching band of the College Secondaire St. Stanislas. Canadiens captain Jean Béliveau came next in an open car. A local paper described his progress along the route: “Coatless and squinting in the bright sunlight he waved, smiled, shook hands and was totally Jean Béliveau.” The rest of the team followed him, two to a car, signing autographs as they went. The loudest cheers went to rookie goaltender Ken Dryden, “bread and butter man in the playoffs,” and Henri Richard (above), who’d scored two goals in the decisive 3-2 victory over the Chicago. (Image: Archives de la Ville de Montreal, VM94-Ed041-098)

in the eagerness to adulate

Floaters: Canadiens wingers Réjean Houle (waving) and Phil Roberto (autographing) parade Montreal on May 19, 1971. (Image: Archives de la Ville de Montréal, VM94-Ed041-069)

As the Stanley Cup goes parading through Pittsburgh this morning, let’s cast back to another championship march, Montreal’s, in May of 1971. Canadiens beat the Black Hawks 3-2 on May 18 in Chicago (Henri Richard scored the decisive goal) to take the Finals four games to three. Next day, back home, the team toured the Cup through downtown crowds numbering an estimated 500,000. Montreal Gazette reporters Hubert Bauch and Bill Mann took the view, too; some of their sightings, extracted and arranged, included:

Swarms of young boys on bicycles joined the parade, and somewhere between St. Matthew and Guy a large, black, vintage hearse mysteriously made itself part of the group for a few blocks.

Everyone in town was there, or so it appeared.

Two longhairs passed a joint back and forth near Guy Street, while not far away a sign a sporting goods store window urged all to “Get high on sports, not drugs.”

And of course there were the kids. The big ones and the little ones. They nipped under police rope barriers to mob the players. They climbed over the cars holding out their autograph books, and occasionally they almost tore the arms off their heroes in the eagerness to adulate.

At St. Catherine and Metcalfe, one fellow, in full goaltender regalia despite the oppressive heat, had pasted adhesive tape all over his face to resemble Dryden’s mask. How and with what degree of pain he later removed it was not known.

One girl in hot pants proudly displayed Henri Richard’s picture on her blouse which proclaimed “Henry the Conqueror” in French.

“Hourrai Pour Henri!” became a commonplace banner as the parade wended its way further east on St. Catherine.

Stanley Cup T-shirts ($2.50) were moving very well yesterday, as were Canadiens balloons (three for 50 cents), and they were ubiquitous along the parade route as the roiling crowd pressed towards Les Canadiens’ cars.

Four barmaids in identical peasant costumes stood together outside their empty restaurant and squealed with glee at the sight of the celebrated Mr. Dryden. And from high above the street came flurry after flurry of confetti.

Later, on the ceremonial veranda over champagne and bon mots, Mayor Drapeau seized the time to draw attention to the grandeur of it all.

“As you all know,” he said, “we’re used to doing things the hard way. And I would like to say that les Canadiens have accomplished their feat in the Montreal style.”

Jean Béliveau summed it all up in his own way when he simply said: “How nice it is.”

 

 

stanley cup shivaree

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Processional Hockey: Captain Canadien Jean Béliveau rides in Montreal’s happy Stanley Cup parade on May 19, 1971. Montreal police calculated the crowd to number 500,000 as the champions made their way through the downtown on the way to City Hall. The Gazette’s Hubert Bauch reported that the Cup was borne, perched high on a pedestal, on a big green float, and that, justly and poetically, it gleamed in the noonday sun. Also aboard: the entire marching band of College Secondaire St. Stanislas, who played a familiar tune as the crowd sang along: Les Canadiens, les Canadiens sont là. Béliveau came next, chauffeured in a car of his own. Bauch: “Coatless and squinting in the bright sunlight, he waved, smiled, shook hands and was totally Jean Béliveau.” (Image: Archives de la Ville de Montréal, VM94-Ed041-091)

sont là!

Halte la, halte la, halte la, les Canadiens, sont la. Les Canadiens, les Canadiens sont la! Happy anniversary, yesterday, to the Canadiens, founded in December of 1909 by a clutch of wealthy Irish-Canadians from Renfrew and Cobalt, Ontario. Flash forward, above, to the fruit of that labour: Yvan Cournoyer and Serge Savard parade the Stanley Cup outside the Forum on May 26, 1978. (Photo: Réjean Martel, Archives de la Ville de Montréal)

Halte là, halte là, halte là, les Canadiens, sont là. Les Canadiens, les Canadiens sont là! Happy birthday, yesterday, to the Canadiens, founded in December of 1909 by a clutch of wealthy Irish-Canadians from Renfrew and Cobalt, Ontario. Flash forward (above) to the fruit of that labour: Yvan Cournoyer and Serge Savard parade the Stanley Cup outside the Forum on May 26, 1978. (Image: Réjean Martel, Archives de la Ville de Montréal)