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To Ottawa Senators Fans, Do You Really Mean Those Boos? February 8, 2008

That sound you hear tomorrow night in Ottawa is the sound of people cheering the Senators and booing the Habs? And that sound is the sound of long-time Montreal Canadiens fans who’ve become Senators fans.

I know, I know. The unwritten book of civic pride says you should always support your home team. But picture this. You grew up in east Ottawa making childhood scrapbooks of your team, Les Canadiens. You wrote fan letters to the Rocket and Beliveau, or Cournoyer and Lafleur. And you showed your son how to do the same with Patrick Roy and Vincent Damphousse.

From time to time you bought a bus/Forum ticket package and went down the 417 to see a game in your magical Forum. Then you took the bus back to Ottawa that same night, but still going to work the next morning.

You wore the Montreal sweater when the games were on TV. Pictures of Habs graced your rec room, to your wife’s dismay. You got into arguments with Leaf fans. Your eyes went moist when the Habs hoisted the Cup.

You were the staunchest, most die-hard, most loyal Montreal Canadiens fan you knew.

Then, in 1992, the Ottawa Senators started playing again after 60 years of being away. Suddenly you stopped going to games in Montreal. You bought a Sens jersey and put your Habs one in a trunk. You convinced your son of the magic of Heatley and Spezza instead of Kovalev and Koivu. Your pictures came down and the old scrapbooks somehow got misplaced. You still argued with Leaf fans, but for different reasons.

It’s all very sad. But I suppose it’s noble to back the home team. It’s good and proper community spirit. I just wonder if somewhere deep inside, deep in the crevices of your heart, sitting like cobwebs on your soul, lies a little bit of love for your old passion, your old team, the Montreal Canadiens.

Maybe it never completely went away.


2 Responses to “To Ottawa Senators Fans, Do You Really Mean Those Boos?”

  1. Ron Mclean Says:

    As a much loved hockey broadcaster, I will chime in and say that it is the DUTY of local fans to cheer for the local team. Not doing so, shows a lack of respect to your neighbours and city leaders. Let me explain. The Ottawa fans pay their city taxes to the city of Ottawa, not Montreal, so it makes perfect sense for them to cheer for their partly subsidized team (via their building).

    So, fans in Ottawa, buy a high priced ticket, and boo to your hearts content. You paid for it!

  2. Jim Wills Says:

    Like you Dennis I was a die hard Habs fan all my life. I also made the Journey down the 417 to see the Habs at the old Forum. And God forbid, even made it down the 401 to see the odd Leaf game at the Gardens.
    But more than the teams, I loved the game. Over the years, there had been talk of NHL hockey coming to Ottawa. Plans were even made to raise the roof on the Nepean Sportsplex to hold 14,000 spectators. Much to my disappointment,those plans never came to fruition.
    Then out of no where a group of individuals lead by Bruce Firestone came together and decided that this city deserved an NHL team.
    And in 1992 those dreams came true. On October 8th I sat in a refurbished Civic Center to watch the home opener as the Ottawa Senators played my beloved Montreal Canadians. As I sat through a scoreless first period I wondered how I would react to the first goal. I truly wondered where my loyalties lay.
    Early in the 2nd period Neil Brady scored the first goal in modern Sens history and I jumped to my feet. The conversion had been made. I would be a Sens fan for life.
    I just don’t see how a fan in an NHL city can’t be a fan of the home town team.
    And Dennis,to answer your question about somewhere down deep inside your heart is there a passion for your old team? I guess I would have to say yes and that will always be there.
    But I will also say that I also now have a passion for a team that has never won a thing but that I will also have higher regard for because they are from my home town.
    By the way Dennis, Don’t beat yourself up over the diminishing number of Habs fans in Ottawa. When you attend a Sens Habs game here in Ottawa in can sure sound a lot like the Bell Center. Cheers!!!

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