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From Bell Centre to bell ringer

Andrew Shaw rang the Montreal Impact bell against rival Toronto FC on Sunday

by Steven Nechay CanadiensMTL /

Andrew Shaw rang in his introduction to soccer supporter culture against a familiar foe on Sunday.

And he had some Habs friends on-hand at Saputo Stadium to help.

"The [Montreal Impact's 1642 MTL supporters group] approached me and asked if I wanted to be a part of the big game against Toronto," explained Shaw, who traded in his usual bleu-blanc-rouge for bleu-blanc-noir alongside teammates Michael McCarron and Brandon Davidson at the pitch over the weekend. "Being up there behind the net and ringing the bell was pretty cool. The fans were fun, loud, and full of energy. I think the players feed off of it. It was a great atmosphere to be a part of."

Tweet from @CanadiensMTL: On esp��re entendre L'��toile du Nord jusqu'au Centre Bell! ��Hoping to hear the @NorthStarBell15 all the way to the Bell Centre! ��

The bell -- officially known as the North Star -- quickly found its place on the Montreal sports scene since first being introduced in 2015. The 1,500-plus-pound cast-iron creation tolls for every Impact goal at home, and its ringers over the years have included Montreal mayor Denis Coderre, three-time UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, and CFL hall-of-famer Anthony Calvillo.

Shaw and Co. were notably the first Canadiens players to accept the honor, but were almost held silent on the afternoon until Ignacio Piatti pulled the Impact within one in the 92nd minute.

"You know, it came late in the game, but it was a big goal," described the second-year Hab. "It was a lot of fun to actually get to ring that big heavy bell. I've never been to a soccer game, so this was a first for me, and it was pretty cool."

Video: Andrew Shaw rings the Saputo Stadium bell‬

All that was missing was the result, as Toronto eventually took Sunday's installment of the 401 Derby 3-1.

But not to worry.

The gritty forward will be more than happy to return the favor on the ice when the Habs host the Maple Leafs on October 14, and look to extend a 14-game win streak dating back to 2014.

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