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United in song

by Staff Writer / Montréal Canadiens


MONTREAL - The Canadiens are a worldwide phenomenon for many different reasons. Not only do they boast 24 Stanley Cup titles, an iconic logo and a storied history, but they've also got a loyal fan base that supports the team everywhere they travel.

Among those devoted supporters is the Desjardins family, who came up with the rather ambitious idea of criss-crossing the globe, literally. Dad, Christian, mom, Valerie, and their three kids, Louis, Nathan and Adrien, decided to set out on a journey to conquer the world. And, within that particular project, another was born. Interestingly enough, the song "Le But" by Loco Locass was at the very heart of it. After all, it's the same tune that can be heard resonating in the Bell Centre when the Canadiens light the lamp against opposing netminders.

"The idea came to us when we were traveling. We're all Canadiens fans, especially my second oldest son. He follows it a lot more," explained Christian Desjardins, an engineer by trade, who ultimately produced the venture. "He learned the song as part of a school project for a Christmas show. He knew the lyrics off by heart. It's still a big song to learn. There are a lot of lyrics. We held contests to see who could get the furthest along in the song."

One thing led to another, the entire family got involved, and every member of the Desjardins clan began learning the song word by word, not knowing what the final result would be.

"My sons were 25,000 kilometres away from their city, and they were still singing "Allez Montreal!" - Christian Desjardins
"When we were in New Zealand, I told myself that it might make an interesting little video clip. I threw the idea out there. They just jumped on board without even knowing what was involved. I suddenly became a scriptwriter. I basically cut the song into pieces to create sequences here and there," offered Mr. Desjardins, who has previously called China, Morocco, Puerto Rico and Costa Rica home. "It was tough because we spread the project out over five months. When you get started, you get swept up in just how good the idea is and you want to finish it as fast as possible. I wanted to film scenes in England, China, everywhere. We had to be organized."

Of all the countries the family visited, 10 made the final cut. And, it's safe to say that if the people of Great Britain have good hockey knowledge, the same can be said for residents of Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam.

"Many of the people from places that we included in the video had never even seen a hockey stick. One of my sons had a Canadiens cap. We took the opportunity to explain what the team is all about. We learned about their culture, but we also shared some of our culture with them," explained Mr. Desjardins, who directed a filming process that also featured a few zany moments. "Fun fact, when we filmed the part where everyone chants "Guy, Guy, Guy", we integrated a woman from the area whose name was Guy. She thought that we were chanting her name, which was really funny. She didn't really know what was happening. All of the Vietnamese people there thought that we were shouting her name. It was hilarious."

Even though they were thousands of kilometres away from La Belle Province, the Desjardins family still managed to follow their beloved Canadiens, leaving the cold and winter behind in the middle of the 2013-14 campaign before returning in September just in time for hockey season.

"When the playoffs started, we made extra efforts to follow the team as often as possible. I was a little bit frustrated because I told myself that the Canadiens were going to win the Cup when I was out of town. I was frustrated, but happy. We watched the games on the beach, in hotel rooms or in shopping malls. When the games started, it was probably 9 a.m. in Thailand."

No matter the end product, the project also afforded the Desjardins children the opportunity to stay in touch with their home, with Montreal, and with their favorite NHL club.

"We had a chance to interact with other cultures and we realized that the Canadiens really did bring us closer to home," admitted Mr. Desjardins. "My sons were 25,000 kilometres away from their city, and they were still singing "Allez Montreal!" The Canadiens are an easy team to become attached to."

Vincent Cauchy is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Matt Cudzinowski.


Click here to check out the video.
Click here to read the Desjardins family blog.

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