Maxime Martin shared his passion for the Habs with Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre.
MONTREAL – To one day meet the Canadiens is at the top of every young Habs fans’ wish list. Thanks to the Canadiens' annual “Grande Visite,” that day not only arrived for a local youngster, his Habs heroes actually rang his doorbell.
Promptly at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, January 6, 2007, Maxime Martin was greeted by Guillaume Latendresse and Maxim Lapierre at the front door of his Rosemont home. As the winner of the second edition of La Grande Visite, the eight-year-old not only got to show off his love of the Habs, but Maxime and five of his friends also had the opportunity to play some hockey with their special guests.
Presented by Tim Hortons in collaboration with TVA, the contest was open to 8-to-12-year-old minor hockey players. To enter, fans had to write a short 150-word essay explaining why the Habs should visit them. One look at Maxime’s room, it was no surprise why the youngster was chosen from the over 2,800 entries. His room could easily have been mistaken for a Canadiens museum.
Center ice was painted on one wall, posters adorned the rest, hockey sticks held up his Canadiens curtains, and there was even a goal light on his desk that he lights up every time the Habs do the same on the ice.
“I don’t think I had nearly as much Canadiens stuff in my room as he does,” admitted an awestruck Lapierre. “When we walked in there it was unbelievable. Wall-to-wall, there wasn’t one thing that wasn’t Canadiens.”
From Maxime’s house it was off to nearby Étienne-Desmarteau Arena where 150 fans watched from the stands as Lapierre and Latendresse took on the six youngsters in friendly game of shinny. A goalie for the CJL Canadiens, Maxime and his buddies impressed their hockey heroes.
“He’s really good,” said Latendresse. “I had a tough time getting pucks past him.”
Latendresse wasn’t the only one blown away by the talent level of his young admirers.
“These kids are awesome,” agreed Lapierre. “There’s definitely some potential in Quebec.”
While the day was a dream for little Maxime and his lucky friends, it was equally as memorable for the Habs.
“The kids on the ice and in the stands are happy because they get to see us but it’s also fun for us to spend time with them,” said Latendresse.