CANADA PRIDE PUBLIC ENEMY PUBLIC ENEMY NO. 1 NO. 1
For decades, Toronto battled with Montreal for national sovereignty
THERE AREN’T MANY hockey rivalries with as much history and hatred as the one between the Toronto Maple Leafs and the Montreal Canadiens. It dates back to the NHL’s inaugural season of 1917-18 – when Toronto’s team wasn’t named what it is today – and includes the two franchises who’ve won the most Stanley Cups in league history (a combined 37).
When you blend those elements with the cultural history behind the franchises – Toronto representing English Canada and the Habs representing Quebec’s French-speaking majority – you create a conflict that doesn’t require playoff encounters to maintain its passion and longevity.
Both franchises have em-
ployed some greats (in Montreal, it’s been Guy Lafleur, Jean Beliveau, and Maurice Richard; in Toronto, Teeder Kennedy, Darryl Sittler and Syl Apps), and they understood they had to be at their best when the Leafs and Habs squared off. Since they’re back in the same division (1998), the rivalry is as fresh as it’s ever been.
The two teams meet Oct. 8, Feb. 14, Feb, 28 and April 11.