Old Habs Daz­zle Arena Crowd

Stanstead Journal - - FRONT PAGE - Made­line Mul­hol­land Stanstead

The Montreal Cana­di­ans, as a pro­fes­sional hockey team, have an aura about them that few NHL teams could ever as­pire to achieve. It can be only par­tially at­trib­uted to their long his­tory of ex­cel­lence and their many Stan­ley Cup vic­to­ries. His­tor­i­cally they were a team known for dy­namic per­son­al­i­ties who could con­sis­tently come to­gether in un­ri­valed team­work to pull vic­tory af­ter vic­tory from the edges of de­feat. An­other fac­tor for their le­gendary sta­tus may be that many of their orig­i­nal su­per­stars came from hum­ble, Que­bec roots. Some were from small farms, oth­ers re­mote vil­lages in the cold­est re­gions of Que­bec, but all were boys whose ded­i­ca­tion and pas­sion pushed them to achieve su­per­star­dom with a pair of skates, a puck and a dream.

Af­fec­tion­ately nick­named the Habs, the Montreal Cana­di­ans were al­ways a team that seemed greater than the sum of its’ parts. And on Sun­day, when they played at The Pat Burns Arena, that su­per­star qual­ity shone through in more ways than their game of hockey. The re­tired Habs play­ers do­nated their time to play for the ben­e­fit of the Arena open­ing in a trib­ute to their old coach, Pat Burns, and his widow, Line Burns. Many Stanstead play­ers claimed the op­por­tu­nity to play against the re­tired Habs was not only a thrill, but an honor. The game was fast paced and ex­cit­ing. To be hon­est, even the warm up was ex­cit­ing!

It was with great an­tic­i­pa­tion that Stanstead’s hockey team, the Stanstead Stars, awaited their chance to play against NHL greats such as the le­gendary Guy Car­bon­neau, Martin Lafleur, and Pa­trice Brise­bois. Lafleur, son of hockey great Guy Lafleur, is an alumni of Stanstead Col­lege. Michael Wolfe, Head-Mas­ter at the Col­lege, claimed he hardly rec­og­nized Martin Lafleur when

from page 1 he saw him Sun­day. “When he was young I re­mem­ber him as a thin and lanky young man. He must have put on fifty pounds of solid mus­cle, be­cause now he’s huge.”

Mr. Wolfe, who played for the Stanstead Stars on Sun­day, shared his thoughts on the ex­pe­ri­ence of play­ing against the re­tired Habs play­ers. He stated that the game was a ‘Hockey thrill of a life­time’ and he ex­pressed his ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the team com­ing to Stanstead, not­ing they were great am­bas­sadors of the sport, Pat Burns and the Arena. He went on to say that he spent the first pe­riod in awe just watch­ing their team­work, pass­ing skills and the ge­om­e­try of their game. What also struck him was their in­cli­na­tion to an­tic­i­pate where the puck was go­ing to be, while the Stanstead team was con­cen­trat­ing on where the puck was. He claimed he more fully rec­og­nized, and ap­pre­ci­ated, their knowl­edge and skill af­ter hav­ing played against them.

Af­ter the game play­ers met with fans, chat­ted and signed au­to­graphs. Their spirit of gen­eros­ity and ap­pre­ci­a­tion of their fans was ev­i­dent. Guy Car­bon­neau and Pa­trice Brise­bois pre­sented a Montreal Cana­di­ans jersey to Line Burns in trib­ute to both her­self and her late hus­band’s ded­i­ca­tion to both the sport and the Montreal Cana­di­ans as a team. The crowd stood in a stand­ing ova­tion to honor Burns’ widow as she re­ceived the jersey and ad­dressed the crowd. Choked up yet smil­ing, Ms. Burns ac­cepted the gift in grat­i­tude and spoke sin­cerely of her ap­pre­ci­a­tion for the re­al­iza­tion of the Pat Burns Arena project, the trib­ute to her late hus­band, and her thanks to all those who helped bring the con­struc­tion of the Arena to fruition. Ms. Burns was quoted as say­ing “If Pat were here to­day, I think he would say how im­pressed he was by this won­der­ful build­ing and how grate­ful he was for all the hard work that’s gone into it.” She then went on to say “I know that Pat would be so happy that this has hap­pened. He would be so proud.” Later she was in the stands au­to­graph­ing hockey pro­grams for what seemed a nev­erend­ing line of chil­dren ea­ger to meet her. Cana­dian se­na­tor, Jac­ques De­mers, ex-coach of the Habs, was also on hand to coach his old team mem­bers.

The arena could hardly con­tain all the spec­ta­tors, as many were on the mez­za­nine watch­ing the game from above. The mood was elec­tric and the game en­er­getic, with Stanstead scor­ing the first goal. The fi­nal score was 11-9. Sur­pris­ingly, or not, the Habs won.

Stanstead Col­lege head­mas­ter Michael Wolfe and former Hab Guy Car­bon­neau (fore­front) get ready to fight for the puck af­ter Line Burns, widow of the late Pat Burns, drops it. Seen also in the photo (l. to r.) are Fed­eral Min­is­ter De­nis Lebel, former Hab Henri Richard, Or­ford MNA Pierre Reid and Stanstead mayor Philippe Du­til.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Line Burns, cen­ter, re­ceiv­ing a Canadiens jersey in mem­ory of her late hus­band Pat Burns who coached the team, from Guy Car­bon­neau and Pa­trick Brise­bois.

Photo Stanstead Jour­nal

Line Burns gra­ciously signed au­to­graphs for young­sters

be­fore the match.

Se­na­tor Jac­ques De­mers, also a former coach of the Canadiens, speak­ing with a fan.

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