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Hab at Heart: Charles Lafortune

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens

Whether he’s hosting a television show or a radio program, Charles Lafortune always keeps a close eye on his beloved Canadiens. We met up with the man who discovers some of the best voices in Quebec to learn more about his passion for all things CH.

How long have you been a Canadiens fan?

Charles Lafortune, during a cocktail after the Montreal Canadiens Golf tournament in 2014.

CHARLES LAFORTUNE: I’ve been a Canadiens fan since I was born. There really wasn’t any other alternative. I went to see games from time to time with my father at the old Forum. I wore my footed pyjamas, I had my pennant and I would skate on the hardwood floor in my living room.

What is your best Canadiens memory?

CL : I think it’s the Stanley Cup win in 1986. I was in high school back then. It was really a Cinderella story with Patrick Roy’s performance and everything else involved. It was just extraordinary.

Was hockey more of a family affair or just an interest amongst friends?

CL : It was primarily with friends. The 1986 Stanley Cup Final was going on that spring while I was in Secondary V. I finished school with a Stanley Cup. I was in a basement in Laval and we were watching the game. I think we had a pool going on, and I came out on top.

Did you play hockey growing up?

CL : I played Inter-City. Then, after Bantam, I played hockey and basketball. Between the two, I finally opted for basketball. I got back to playing hockey later on with people from the Journal de Montréal. I’m a defenseman.

So, if we put you on skates, would you be able to hold your own on the ice?

CL : Yes. It wouldn’t be a problem. I took the challenge during the Quebec-Montreal television series, and it wasn’t embarrassing. I tried to do the Peter Forsberg move. Unfortunately, I hit the post.

What is the most unusual place you’ve ever watched a Canadiens game?

CL : It was in Tracadie, NB. We were playing hockey for some charities with the Journal de Montréal. We were watching the Canadiens game in a bar, and there was such a big snow storm outside that the police came to tell us that we shouldn’t leave the establishment. Everyone had to stay there. All of the roads were closed. They served us beer all night long and we slept on the floor.

So, you were basically forced to watch the game…

CL : Definitely. Not just the game, but the news and then a replay of the game after that. Sixty-eight centimetres of snow fell in five hours. It was completely crazy.

Have you ever recorded a game and watched it later?

CL : It’s happened. But, generally you always end up knowing the score before sitting down and watching it. You get in the car and the radio is on. “It’s 3-2 Canadiens…No!”

Charles Lafortune and his son, Mathis, at the Bell Centre during Family Week-End.

We saw you with your son, Mathis, during a Canadiens game last year. Who is the bigger fan? Him or you?

CL : It’s definitely me. My son is autistic, so he really doesn’t understand anything when it comes to hockey. When I go to games with him, I have to admit that it’s just so we can have that father-son experience. I feed him ice cream for three straight periods.

Which Canadiens player do you think would make the best contestant on a show like La Voix?

CL : That’s an excellent question…I don’t know which of the guys on the team plays any musical instruments.

Do you need to play a musical instrument in order to sing?

CL : It helps sometimes. It helps to be familiar with musical notes. I think P.K. would be funny. I think he’d definitely have potential.

Who would make the best judge on the team?

CL : I’d have to say Carey Price. He rarely shows any emotion. He’d just sit there, and he wouldn’t flinch. “You’re doing well. Yup, everything is going good. You might be overdoing it a little bit, but we’ll fix that, P.K.”

You’re very active on Twitter, especially during games. To what degree does that allow you to vent?

CL : During the playoffs, it really allows me to vent. Otherwise, I’d feel almost helpless. I love putting up #nostradacharles during games. I make predictions about the next goals, people get involved, and it makes it all very interesting.

Do you keep statistics on your #nostradacharles predictions?

CL : No, not really. It’s a bit of a legend. As long as I’m not tracking it, I’m always right. I have to start keeping track. I’ll try that this season.

Do you think you could be a hockey analyst?

CL : It’s a fantasy of mine.

Would you make a better play-by-play guy or hockey analyst?

CL : I’ve been up on the press box with Martin McGuire and Pierre Houde. They’re a lot like auctioneers. It’s crazy just how fast things happen. They do their jobs with such ease. Both of them explained to me that they’ve got some ways to make things easier. But, to be able to remember all of the players’ names, and do it from atop the rink without missing a single one, is very impressive. And, there’s a difference between television and radio. When McGuire is on air, every time the Canadiens take a shot, it sounds like they’ve almost scored. That’s cool. When pictures are involved, you have to be enthusiastic, but not too enthusiastic. I think I’d like to try play-by-play just for fun.

Interview conducted by Vincent Cauchy. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.

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