LAVAL-SUR-LE-LAC - Being that the annual Canadiens Golf Tournament in Laval-sur-le-Lac was the grand entrance for a new generation of Canadiens players, the new generation of owners also took part in the relay event.
Taking advantage of the opportunity, George Gillett, Canadiens owner since 2001, welcomed the owners and their partner Geoff Molson.
"It was eight great years filled with joy. Every moment the fans gave us over the years were incredible ones. You have in front of you a new group of owners, a dynamic new generation and we are very enthusiastic about passing the torch along to them."
Visibly choked up, Gillett spoke in analogies in terms of letting go the club that has meant so much to his family.
"Selling the team is my perfect example of a paradox filled with mixed emotions. For us, it is the equivalent of owning a new car and watching your stepmother drive it into the river'' said a smiling Gillett.
Before giving way to Geoff Molson, Gillett took the opportunity to thank Canadiens fans one last time.
"Our lone regret is that we weren't able to win a Stanley Cup for you, and for that we apologize", Gillett confided. "Although hockey is an industry, we have never begun one conversation with a discussion about money. All our talks were made with the objective of improving the performances of the team."
Although details of the sale agreement are still pending, the two men then shook hands, a gesture symbolic of a torch passing from the Gillett family to the Molsons.
"This is the first press conference of my life, and it represents a very special moment for our family", said Geoff Molson. "There remains certain details to finalize, but the transaction is very close to being complete."
Aside from the Molson family, other partners in the new ownership group include Woodbridge Ltd., the QFL Solidarity Fund, Michael Andlauer and Luc Bertrand.
Taking the opportunity, Geoff Molson also noted that his group will also be purchasing the 19.1 percent shares of the Molson - Coors company, while clarifying his role on the hundred year old club.
"My role will be to serve as the president of the administration council opperating the partnership" said Molson." I would like to reiterate my confidence in both Pierre Boivin, Bob Gainey and their respective groups. We have one goal that we will be working together to achieve, and that is bring a 25th Stanley Cup to Montreal."Alexandre Harvey is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Robert LefebvreRead alsoLetters from Camp: Day 3 Season preview: Georges Laraque Season preview: Carey Price Habs owners through the years