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Tree: A Habs fan for life

Crown The Empire bassist Hayden Tree fell in love with the Canadiens while watching a young Carey Price dazzle in goal

by Matt Cudzinowski @CanadiensMTL /

MONTREAL - As a young goaltender, Hayden Tree's hockey idol was Hall of Famer Martin Brodeur.

That is until Carey Price stormed onto the scene. Then everything changed.

It wasn't long before Tree became a Price fan and a real admirer of his playing style in between the pipes.

"When Carey came along, that kind of flipped my whole world upside down," said Tree, the 26-year-old bassist in renowned American metalcore band Crown The Empire. "I thought he was super cool. I wanted to play like him. I admired his calm and collectiveness. The way he was cool in the net was something I definitely took from him. I always wanted to look like I was unbreakable, and he always seemed that way to me, like it was very hard to get under his skin. That's what I wanted to be like to. I didn't want anyone to get in my head."

Watching Price go about his business also inspired Tree to become a tried and true Habs supporter along the way, and his passion for the club just kept on growing.

"From there, I honestly just fell in love with the Canadiens, the whole organization and the culture behind the team with it being the oldest franchise in NHL history," explained Tree. "They've had such great players over the years, from Jacques Plante to Maurice "Rocket" Richard to Patrick Roy. It's a great community."

Tweet from @blessedbymunk: i knew y���all were my team for a reason

On February 4, 2018, Tree's fandom reached a whole new level after taking in his very first game at the Bell Centre.

It was a Superbowl Sunday matchup against the Ottawa Senators ahead of a Crown The Empire performance later on that evening at MTELUS.

"I remember it being a very eye-opening experience. I went by myself, walked into the arena and there were Canadiens jerseys everywhere. It was so loud and everyone was having a good time," recalled Tree, who witnessed Price turn aside 25 shots in a 4-1 victory on home turf. "I went around to read a bunch of the plaques before the game started, and then I sat down and enjoyed. It was incredible. I definitely got lucky that day."

The Los Angeles resident even paid a visit to Tricolore Sports to stock up on some merch and purchased a Price T-shirt of course. 

Admittedly, Tree doesn't have a big collection of Canadiens clothing right now, but he still displays his bleu-blanc-rouge pride wherever he travels so to speak.

"I actually have a giant decal on one of the gear cases for my band with the Canadiens logo," revealed Tree. "I also have a Canadiens jersey that was given to me as a gift. It doesn't have a name on the back because the person didn't know which name to put on there. I was like, 'Come on! You should know that.'"

As it stands, Tree is the lone Habs fan in his immediate circle. 

Drummer Brent Taddie supports the Pittsburgh Penguins, while Tree's Canadian wife Caity doesn't really cheer for any particular team.  

Speaking of Caity, who is a radio host on SiriusXM's Octane channel, Tree enjoys riling up her family from time to time with some hockey-related antics.

"She was born in Victoria, BC, but her whole family and especially her dad really loves the Boston Bruins. I'm the only who doesn't. I'm the outlaw," said Tree with a laugh. "They're always busting my chops about it. But, I'll go to their house wearing my Canadiens T-shirt just to drive them crazy."

Keeping up with Claude Julien's contingent, meanwhile, has never presented a problem for Tree when he hits the road.

Between watching games on the tour bus and following a slew of players on Instagram, he does his best to stay informed all season long.

"Whenever a game is on, I'll pull out my laptop, plug an HDMI cable into the TV and then use the hotspot from my phone," specified Tree. "That's how I watch the majority of the games, just like that."

And the best part about being a Canadiens fan is…

"I was thinking how crazy it is that no matter where you go, or what team they are playing, Canadiens fans will always show up. That's one thing I notice about the team. It sticks out," noted Tree. "No matter where they are, you will see red or white jerseys in the crowd. I always thought that was so cool. The community is so strong and everyone is so supportive and always looking forward to the future of the team, which I love."

Rock on, gentlemen!

Crown The Empire, which released their fourth studio album Sudden Sky two weeks ago, is currently headlining a tour called "Rage Fest" which stops in 23 cities across the United States.

Even though Tree and company won't be hitting the stage in Montreal this time around, they certainly haven't forgotten their previous gigs in the city.

"You guys definitely love metal. Every time we go there, the show is always packed and it's one of the craziest shows on the tour. The last time, I remember the venue being absolutely insane. It was going off," remembered Tree. "Every table was moshing, jumping, having a blast and singing every word. And we weren't even a headliner. It was nuts."

The question now is whether a country music loving Price could be persuaded to attend a Crown The Empire gig down the road knowing that Tree is an admirer. 

He'd first have to embrace the metalcore genre, and Tree believes it's entirely possible.

"If anyone could do it, it would be my band because we're not necessarily the heaviest band and we get softer as time goes on," said Tree. "I feel like there are definitely some songs that are metal that Carey might like."

And the winning selections are…

"There's "Blurry" and "Under the Skin" from our new album. If he's going to like anything, it's got to be "Blurry." It's not country sounding, but it's a straight good rock song," concluded Tree. "He also might like a couple of songs from our last album Retrograde like "Hologram" and "Weight of the World.""

Watch: Youtube Video

We'll be sure to pass those suggestions along!

To check out Crown The Empire's tour schedule, click here.

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