MONTREAL -- On the 99th anniversary of the foundation of the franchise, the Montreal Canadiens unveiled today a series of initiatives as part of the Club’s Centennial celebrations.
A year to the day from the Club’s 100th anniversary, on December 4, 2009, the Canadiens officially inaugurated the Centennial Plaza presented by Ford. Located on De La Gauchetière, corner of De La Montagne, the Centennial Plaza honors the Canadiens four greatest legends, Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, Jean Béliveau and Guy Lafleur, and also pays tribute to all their fans who are taking their rightful place in the team’s rich history.
The Centennial Plaza features several components of the Canadiens history that will be prominently displayed. At the forefront of the Plaza four wonderfully crafted bronze monuments representing the legends are surrounded by over 20,000 personalized bricks used by Canadiens fans to express their loyalty and encouragement to their team. The Centennial Plaza will provide visitors and local fans alike with a one-stop historic tour of the greatest achievements in team history, including a plaque describing each of the 24 Stanley Cup Championships, a biography of each of the 15 Canadiens players who had their jersey retired by the Club, as well as the 100 most memorable moments in the history of the franchise since 1909.
Putting a shine on the Canadiens Centennial Plaza The Royal Canadian Mint unveiled four special gold coins to be permanently displayed on a commemorative plaque at the foot of each of the monuments dedicated to four of the most celebrated hockey players ever to wear the Canadiens colors. The plaque on each monument also features two embedded original five cent circulation coins of the years marking the career of each of the players.
An Original Six Salute with a colorful throwback jersey The December 4th Original Six Salute against the Rangers is the fourth of a series of five such encounters with the last one set on January 8, 2009, when the Toronto Maple Leafs will be the visitors at the Bell Centre. On Thursday night, the Canadiens and their fans will salute one of the NHL’s oldest rivalries with past players from both teams being honored at centre ice prior to the game.
Thursday night’s match-up will be the 593rd between the Blueshirts and the Canadiens who have won 313 games against their Broadway rivals since their first encounter back on November 27, 1926. In post-season play the two teams met on 14 occasions including once in the Stanley Cup Finals in 1978-79. There were several memorable games between the two Original Six rivals, but perhaps none as impressive as the game played at the Bell Centre on February 19, 2008 when the Canadiens set a team record with an amazing 5-goal coming-from-behind 6-5 victory.
Tonight’s game will have the Canadiens wear a throwback jersey from the 1915-16 season when the team, then known as the Club Athlétique Canadien, captured the first of its 24 Stanley Cups. That red jersey, with a round blue color, features a broad blue stripe with the letters “C” and “A” in red with a white outline. Furthermore, the two Canadiens goaltenders will be wearing modern day pads, blockers and catching gloves reminiscent of the color equipment worn by their early century predecessors. Players will also be wearing pants, gloves and helmets reflecting this era.
Prior to the game, a ceremony honoring former players at the center of the Canadiens-Rangers rivalry over the years will take place at center ice.
The Zone Canadiens Team Store gets a new look and a new location On this day of anniversary, the Montreal Canadiens are also pleased to announce the grand opening of a new “Zone Canadiens” Team Store located in the Lucien L’Allier terminal, at the doorstep of the Bell Centre. Substantially larger in size, the store will provide visitors and shoppers alike with an enhanced shopping experience, a wider selection of products and items including the exclusive “100 seasons” collection and the highly attractive Centennial jerseys featuring among others the 1915-16 jersey that will be donned by the Canadiens when they meet the Rangers on Thursday night. The store, which will be open during all Canadiens games, can also be accessed from the Bell Centre concourse facing section 113.