A hockey ex­cur­sion to Mon­treal

A lob­ster sher­man and a store clerk boarded a bus in Truro…

Truro Daily News - - COMMUNITY - Lyle Carter Lyle Carter’s col­umn ap­pears ev­ery sec­ond week in the Truro News. If you have a col­umn idea, con­tact him at 902-673-2857.

If you were around in the 1960s, chances are you re­call some­one tak­ing a hockey ex­cur­sion to Mon­treal. You may have even gone on one your­self.

It was quite pop­u­lar with a num­ber of hockey fans more than 50 years ago. ey would gather at the Truro train sta­tion and then head down the tracks to en­joy live Na­tional Hockey League ac­tion at the Mon­treal Fo­rum.

On their re­turn, high­lights and se­crets might be shared care­fully with the tight-lipped. Re­cently, John Leblanc and John John­son told me their story – it seems that they too en­joyed a hockey ex­cur­sion to Mon­treal.

Leblanc, a very per­son­able man, could also be de­scribed as a colour­ful char­ac­ter. Raised in Mor­ris Is­land, near Yar­mouth, the pop­u­la­tion was roughly 20.

“My fa­ther was a sher­man,” said Leblanc, 64, of Brook­lyn, Yar­mouth County. “My grand­fa­ther was a sher­man and I’m a sher­man.”

Leblanc, a lob­ster fish­er­man for 50 years, shes in the win­ter and paints houses in the sum­mer. He de­scribed strong ties to Truro.

“My daugh­ter Mau­reen is mar­ried to John John­son of Truro. We get to Truro about three times a year. We en­joy go­ing to Masstown Mar­ket; I like Vic­to­ria Park and we try to catch a Truro Bearcats hockey game when we can. ere’s good places to shop in Truro and my wife Nancy en­joys get­ting to the Farm­ers’ Mar­ket.”

Late this sum­mer, Leblanc had an idea.

“I saw on so­cial me­dia an ad­ver­tise­ment of a Mon­treal – Pitts­burgh NHL hockey game at the Bell Cen­tre in Mon­treal. I tele­phoned John in Truro and he was all for it. We are both Mon­treal Cana­di­ens fans so we’ve kind of bonded.”

Dream Va­ca­tion Tours, out of Monc­ton, was mak­ing pick­ups in Hal­i­fax and Truro as well as points in New Brunswick.

“John and I boarded a large coach at 5:15 a.m. on Fri­day, Oct. 10 at the Rath-eastlink Com­mu­nity Cen­tre. e char­ter in­cluded two buses, one bus had 51 pas­sen­gers and the other had 52. ere were stops ev­ery two- to two-and-a-half hours.”

John­son, a store clerk with the Nova Sco­tia Liquor Com­mis­sion, has lived in Truro all his life. e trip was made the week­end of John and his wife Mau­reen’s veyear wed­ding an­niver­sary.

“ is was our rst guys’ trip away,” John­son shared. “Dur­ing the trip to Mon­treal, we just sat back and en­joyed the sights and we lis­tened to con­ver­sa­tions around us. There were many stretch breaks along the way. Ev­ery­one aboard was go­ing to the hockey game; we watched videos and played trivia games. We were all rst-timers for the hockey ex­cur­sion… be­tween eight and 80 years of age.”

Along the way, there were lots of snow geese to see.

“Near­ing Mon­treal at rush hour, the num­ber of cars we saw com­pared to Truro…” said a smil­ing John­son. “It was great to see Olympic Sta­dium all lit up.”

e bus got into Mon­treal at 6:30 p.m.

“It gave us a night to re­lax,” Leblanc said. “ e next morn­ing, we watched the Cana­di­ens’ prac­tice at the Brous­sard Com­plex. is was part of our pack­age.”

John­son re­called an­other pregame high­light.

“We en­joyed a visit to 5 Guy’s Burg­ers. Dad wasn’t re­ally for it un­til we were served our burg­ers. We both hoed in. Walk­ing down Saint Cather­ine Street be­fore the game, it was awe­some tak­ing in the hus­tle, the bus­tle and the hockey at­mos­phere.”

Leblanc told of a visit to a sports store in the Bell Cen­tre.

“We tried on sports jack­ets loaded up with Cana­di­ens’ crests. They were very nice and very colour­ful. The jack­ets sold for $275 and the pants were $175. We both tried on the out ts but we didn’t make any pur­chase.”

Leblanc said the trip high­light was game night.

“The game was a sell- out, 22,000 fans. It was a great game to see, it went to over­time. en, we watched Mon­treal win 4-3 in a shootout.”

John­son added, “Yes, it was re­ally awe­some sit­ting at cen­tre ice, we caught a re­ally great game.” At a sports store in Mon­treal’s Bell Cen­tre, John John­son suits up in a well-crested Cana­di­ens out t.

Ar­riv­ing back in Truro Sun­day night, Leblanc and John­son were more than pleased, the hockey ex­cur­sion to Mon­treal had gone well.

“It’s the only way to go,” said Leblanc. “ e whole thing cost us about $550 each. e price in­cluded our ho­tel room and our hockey tick­ets.”


John John­son, left, and John Leblanc en­joy a Mon­treal Cana­di­ens-pitts­burgh Pen­guins game at the Bell Cen­tre in Mon­treal.


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