MONTREAL – As part of the advance celebrations marking the Montreal Canadiens’ centennial on December 4, 2009, a commemorative pre-game ceremony will be held at the Bell Centre on Tuesday, January 8 to salute 82 seasons of rivalry between the Habs and the Chicago Blackhawks.
For this occasion, several of the greatest players who ever wore Canadiens and Hawks jerseys, and who were at the heart of the notorious confrontations between both clubs, will be invited to centre ice, where a video montage showing the most memorable moments during the two teams’ match-ups will be shown on the central scoreboard screen. All fans attending the Bell Centre game will receive a free souvenir program highlighting the greatest moments of this exciting rivalry and its unforgettable participants.
Former Blackhawks legends who have confirmed their presence at this historic evening include: the spectacular Bobby Hull (1957-1972), better known as the Golden Jet, who had five NHL seasons in which he scored 50 goals or more, totaled 1,170 points, including 610 goals; Tony Esposito (1969-1984), winner of the Calder and Vezina trophies and still the only NHL goalie to record 15 shutouts in one season (1969-1970), and Stan Mikita (1958-1980), a five-time All-Star team member, a four-time NHL scoring leader and two-time winner of the Hart Trophy.
Meanwhile, among the Canadiens legends attending the event are Guy Lafleur (1971-1984), five-time winner of the Stanley Cup and author of 1,246 points, including 518 goals and a host of individual honors, Henri Richard (1955-1975), one the 12 former Habs to have won the Stanley Cup for five straight seasons and responsible for the famous goal that allowed Montreal to win the Stanley Cup during the seventh game of the final against Chicago in 1971, and Yvan Cournoyer (1963-1979), Canadiens captain from 1975 to 1979 and 1973 Stanley Cup hero, scoring the winning goal against Chicago, two-time winner of the Conn Smythe Trophy with 25 points including 15 playoff goals.
Next season, to mark the 100th season of the Montreal Canadiens, the New York Rangers and the Toronto Maple Leafs will be part of commemorative ceremonies to celebrate the greatest moments of their rivalries with the Canadiens and other NHL’s original six teams.