The owners of the restaurant had the Canadiens logo and the 'Go Habs Go' slogan on this sign painted over after first learning of possible infringement. (Sarah Buck/CBC)

The National Hockey League is demanding $89,000 from a Montreal restaurant that displayed a Montreal Canadiens sweater and the words "Go Habs Go" on a sign.

The owner of a Basha franchise in downtown Montreal put an image on an outside wall showing the name of the restaurant and a man slicing shawarma while wearing a red Canadiens sweater.

But a lawyer working for the league sent a letter saying the sweater and the slogan are trademarks, and that the owner will have to pay the sum for copyright infringement.

The owner, Fadl Issa, painted over the Canadiens logos and the slogan when he first learned of possible infringement two months ago.

Issa has since taken down the sign completely, but he said he won't pay the money, and wonders why his restaurant was singled out.

"[I'm] surprised, I [said] it can't be, it's nonsense," said Issa. "I see places all around Montreal [showing] Go Habs Go."

The lawyer and the NHL would not speak to CBC News for this story, but the league did send a brief emailed response.

"The NHL takes seriously the protection of league and team trademark rights," the email said.

Issa said he just wanted to support his hometown hockey team, and said the idea came from his children.

"They said to me, 'Dad, why don't you do something to support the Canadiens?'" said Issa.