NEW YORK - New Yorkers are used to seeing fans sporting red, white, and blue, but during the playoffs, they should expect to see plenty of bleu-blanc-rouge as well.
Montreal native and current New Yorker Arya Sajed and a few hundred Habs fans have a standing date on Canadiens game days during the playoffs. Things kick off at 4:00 p.m. when the team is in action during the postseason, with a special "Habby Hour" held at Mile End Deli's Bond st. location. The Manhattan restaurant, co-owned by Montreal ex-pat Joel Tietolman serves up some tastes of home to Habs fans before the rabid crew makes its way down the streets of New York decked out in Canadiens gear to Finnerty's Bar for a watch party.
"As part of the playoffs, we do 'Habby Hour' at Mile End Deli," explained Tietolman, who has also served up smoked meat to Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau. "Usually we start off there, we drink a bunch of Molson, eat Forum hot dogs, poutine, and smoked meat. Then we walk the 15 blocks or so from Mile End Deli to Finnerty's and we scream and yell 'Go Habs Go' the whole way and it's a great time."
The fan club counts members from all over Canada and the US, including many New York natives who have grown up cheering for the winningest team in hockey.
"We started the New York City Habs Fan Club about three years ago because there are a lot of Montrealers in the city who knew that it just isn't the same watching hockey without a bunch of crazy Montrealers behind you," explained Sajed. "It's a crazy group of about 300 people who get together here in New York City to root for the best team in hockey. We get together about twice a month and now is the best time of the year. It's springtime so we're here every game for the playoffs."