CBC Sports

Having Faith in Old Faithful

Posted: Thursday, May 13, 2010 | 09:20 AM

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In an age where the players change stripes so frequently and where cities become franchises in the marketplace of sport - the Montreal Canadiens steadfastly remain a team that inspires passion, loyalty, sometimes hatred and most importantly ... attention.

Sometimes it's easy to lose touch. 

The chase for Lord Stanley's mug rages on but you find yourself consumed with soccer's impending World Cup in South Africa and all the information you have to cram into your brain before kickoff.

Then something grabs you by the throat and brings you back.

"Les Bleu, Blanc, Rouge sont la!"

It's Kelvin, the big Jamaican-born security guard at the office who reminds you that the Montreal Canadiens are still in it - still gyrating towards another improbable date with destiny.

"Have a little faith man," chuckles Kelvin. "I grew up in Brossard on the South Shore. I love those guys."

What's not to love?

In an age where the players change stripes so frequently and where cities become franchises in the marketplace of sport - the Habs steadfastly remain a team that inspires passion, loyalty, sometimes hatred and most importantly ... attention.

They are hockey's old faithful and not to be ignored.

Game 7 in Pittsburgh and Hockey Night in Canada's opening theme surrounds the religious overtones the Canadiens inspire in their followers. There's a shot of the greatest French Canadian never to play for Montreal, Mario Lemieux, who now owns the Penguins. When the Habs take to the ice at the Igloo, Lemieux smiles broadly with delight.

The familiar voice of Bob Cole is at the play-by-play microphone. "You better hang around folks. This baby's not done yet," he chimes after Pittsburgh narrows the gap.

There's the incredible scene at the far off home of the Habs jammed to the rafters - 21,000 strong - as they watch on TV at the Bell Centre. Then a late third-period call comes from Harold, your old friend from Montreal days.

"I can't believe they're going to win this," he blurts before saying hello. "I have to go now," and hangs up.

With every Canadiens win this post-season the magic grows. They are luring us onto their team and making our hockey connection even stronger.

"I'm in a bit of a dream world right now," giggles Kelvin the morning after the win. "I wanted to believe in them and now I do."

They have once again become the nation's touchstone. 

The Montreal Canadiens demonstrate that sometimes you just have to have go along for the ride and have faith in old faithful.  

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