CLERMONT – A full hour before the start of the Canadiens’ practice and nearly 1000 fans had already gathered outside the Clermont arena, impatiently awaiting the doors to open. The second they did, eager citizens of the small Quebec town poured into the arena, filling the stands, all intent on snatching up the best seats possible.
was the first player to make an appearance, skating out alone onto the ice where he waited awkwardly for several minutes before being joined by Hal Gill. The two defensemen, now obviously the butt of a prank by their teammates, milled around by themselves for a long while before finally being joined by the rest of the Montreal squad.Back in Action:
To the delight of fans who came out to catch a glimpse of their heroes at the Clermont arena, Canadiens’ defensemen Andrei Markov
and Roman Hamrlik joined the team for their first practice this year.
“It’s a good feeling – my knee seems to be doing well. It’s great to be back skating with the rest of the team,” said Markov. “I’m testing out my limits right now, trying to make sure I don’t push too hard too early. Whether I’ll be ready for the season opener is going to have to stay a secret for right now.” A very similar sentiment was echoed by Roman Hamrlik when asked about his own recovery. “I’m feeling better every day, and the pain in my knee has mostly disappeared,” confirmed No.44. “I’ll have to skate some more with the team first though, to know if I’m ready or not.”
Back in Town:
Bringing the team to Charlevoix for their retreat may not have been strictly Jacques Martin’s idea, but the kind words he had for the area and its people probably didn’t hurt either.
“This’ll be the fourth year that I’ve come to Chalevoix,” explained the head-coach. Martin visited the region as part of both the Nordiques and Senators organizations. “It’s a beautiful part of Quebec. The people are warm and welcoming, and I think it’s the perfect setting for what we’re here to accomplish – helping the team come together.”
For the Kids:
Among the crowd’s favorties Carey Price
– as well as the rest of his teammates – took the time to meet with fans, sign autographs and pose for pictures after practice. Schools in the area made a special exception for the event, allowing kids the opportunity to meet their idols – without the need to cut class.
“There are a lot of kids here that never really get the chance to see NHL players. I know if an NHL team came to Anaheim Lake, there’d be a ton of excited kids,” said the 23-year-old netminder. “We don’t make it out to these smaller communities very often, so this is something really special for everyone here.”Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Justin Fragapane.SEE ALSO:
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