On sets and stages throughout the year, Louis Morissette is the very definition of the word “busy”. Though he might find that 24 hours are insufficient for one day, if there’s one thing Louis always fits into his busy schedule, it’s the Canadiens. That’s why it’s no surprise to have seen some of his favorite players making guest appearances on some of his recent projects. We caught up with the jack of all trades to talk about his love for the Habs.
How long have you been a Habs fan?
LOUIS MORISSETTE: I’ve been a fan for as long as I can remember. My first memory is being at the Forum with my father in the early 1980s. The first game I ever saw was against the Hartford Whalers. I’ve never really liked any other team. Now that I’m an adult, I like to follow the NHL as a whole a little bit more. Today I can enjoy watching a game between the Panthers and Islanders, but when I was younger it was all Canadiens, Canadiens, Canadiens. I’m still hooked on the 1986 Stanley Cup winning team, with guys like Mats Naslund, Bobby Smith and the duo of Skrudland and McPhee.
Is the 1986 Stanley Cup run your most memorable Habs moment?
LM: Actually, my best Canadiens memory is not necessarily related to the Stanley Cup. When I was in college, I went to McGill and lived right across the street from the Forum. My roommates and I would watch the games and when they would go to overtime, we would run across the street. There were always people who were leaving the Forum to avoid traffic or whatever. When there were two or three minutes left in a game we would run over and wait by the front doors. There was always a family leaving early, so we would buy their tickets for five bucks and walk right into the Forum to watch the rest of the game and sometimes an overtime. It was really cool.
Did you have a favorite player?
LM: Mats Naslund, for sure. The Little Viking. #26. He was my favorite player.
Did you play any hockey growing up?
LM: I’ve been playing hockey since I was five. It pains me to say this, but I’ve been playing hockey for 35 years. I was small when I was younger, very small, which is why Naslund was my favorite player.
So when you played, did you pretend to be Mats on the ice?
LM: Absolutely. I even had a Torspo stick like his.
Were your stats on the ice basically the same as Naslund’s, too?
LM: No, no, no. I was never the most talented player. I’ve always been pretty a good player, but for other reasons. My coaches compared me to Dale Hunter in terms of talent. Even today, I would say I have the same style as Brendan Gallagher. To be that kind of player, you really need to get in there and mix things up and get your nose dirty. I’ve scored a lot of garbage goals in my career.
Do you have the same famous Gallagher smile when you play?
LM: The attitude that I have at work is the same attitude I have when I’m playing hockey. I’ll get in your head. I’m very competitive, I love to win and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to be successful. If I have to get in someone’s head, I’ll do it.
Do you still play a lot of hockey?
LM: I try to play once or twice a week.
Have you had the chance to play against your brother-in-law, Jose Theodore?
LM: I have actually. When he played for the Canadiens, I got to play against him in a charity game. He schooled me. Amateurs like me tend to make the rookie mistake of keeping their heads down to focus on the puck. The second I crossed the blue line, he was on me. I was too busy staring down at the puck in my skates. I didn’t even see him coming. He told me I need to look up when I’m skating.
Would you like a rematch?
LM: I’d love another chance to play against him now, especially with his old man hips!
You’re involved in a lot of different projects. Do you ever have time to catch a game at the Bell Centre?
LM: I have season tickets and I try to go to a game from time to time. My son is a big fan of the Canadiens so I’ll often go with him. I live out my passion for hockey with him.
Do you watch some of the games at home?
LM: Yes. I don’t always watch the entire game, but I’ll usually watch the beginning and I’ll definitely watch the end of the games. Otherwise, I’ll make sure I see the highlights. I’m really into it. A bit too much, if you ask my wife. I’m in a hockey pool and everything. I work a lot and I’m always busy doing something, so sports are my outlet. When I play hockey, it helps me relax and relieve stress. It’s an escape. I’m currently sidelined with a shoulder injury that will require surgery, which is unfortunate since I won’t be able to play.
So you watch a lot of hockey?
LM: Before I go to bed at night, I’ll always watch the highlights. Sometimes you don’t need to see the full game in order to know what happened. It’s an important part of my life and helps keep me sane.
You’ve done some on-screen work with guys like Michel Therrien and P.K Subban. Do you ever get intimidated by them?
LM: The most daunting thing is entering the Canadiens environment. Every time I go into the dressing room, I feel like I’m eight years old. It’s automatic, I feel like a kid again. It’s funny because I’m actually 41 years old and all the players are younger than me. And there are Quebecers, like David Desharnais. He knows me from TV. We met when he was just a kid in Laurier-Station. He looks at me and says, “Hi Louis.” For me, it was like I just met Brad Pitt. I’m always intimidated, even with P.K. I have to say that I think P.K is an incredible ambassador for the team. He understands how it works. He’s friendly and generous. Sometimes filming can take a long time, but he gets it. He doesn’t whine or complain; he just does it. I’ve worked with other players in the past that make the process seem especially long, but not with P.K. He understands what’s expected of him and he gets the job done.
Are you surprised by his acting chops?
LM: Not really, I expected him to be good. I was mostly surprised by his patience and availability
If you could give Marc Bergevin a role to play, what would it be?
LM: Ah, handsome Marc! What I’d do is try to play him. In Lemieux 24/7, I was somewhat inspired by him when developing my character. He looks good, and he knows it.
Interview by Hugo Fountaine. Translated by Jared Ostroff.
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