I define a great experience as something that gives you goosebumps, makes you smile whenever you think about it, and as something that you can’t forget.
I had a great experience a few months ago, and I was lucky enough to share it with my dad.
We went to our (that’s right, OUR) first Montreal Canadiens game this past May, and it was game 5 of the Ranger series in the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
I’ve been a Habs fan all my life, and never before have I been able to proudly wear my jersey, and have everyone surrounding me, also be wearing that jersey. It sounds like something so small compared to the experience itself, but it was actually what made the game; everyone there was cheering for the same team.
Let’s start from the beginning; it’s Memorial Day Monday and my dad tells me to look at tickets for the game on Tuesday. The Habs are down in the series 3-1, and a lot of tickets were up for sale, and some were at a very reasonable price. We found two tickets, in the perfect seats, and bought them. Just like that, we were gonna go to Montreal for a hockey game.
I’ve been to plenty of hockey games before, but I have never been to one at the Bell Centre, and neither had my dad. With our jerseys packed, we left home (at 8 o’clock in the morning!) for the game, neither of us could contain our excitement. Five hours later, we were finally in Montreal. We stopped at Harvey’s for lunch, walked around Wal-Mart for a bit, and finally parked our car and took the metro into town. It was only 3:30 and our jerseys were already on. When we arrived at the Bell Centre, we went to our first stop, the “Temple de la Renommee“. It was incredible to see how the club has evolved throughout the years, and there were plenty of places for photo ops.
One of the most famous quotes associated with the Habs, comes from a poem, “In Flanders Field”, by John McCrae, and it reads “to you from failing hands we throw the torch, be it yours to hold it high”. It is currently written in the Canadiens’ locker room, and in the temple, there was a flame on display.
After we walked through the temple, we walked outside, right into the Habs Fan Fest. After getting a flag painted on my face, we walked around, went into town and found a quiet spot to relax before heading back into the madness that was the Fan Fest.
It was finally 6:00 and the doors were about to open. As we walked in we were greeted by staff who were handing out rally towels (I snagged an extra one while no one was looking). Before finding our seats, we found some food. After filling our stomachs, we went up to our seats, which were absolutely awesome. Soon enough, the teams came out for warmups and we got our first glimpse of the players.
It was now time for the pre-game ceremonies to begin. The only words I can use to describe what happened is: incredible. The whole place lit up as the torch was brought to the ice; everyone cheered as they showed a video of past Stanley Cup victories; and of course everyone boo-ed when the Rangers stepped onto the ice.
Finally, the game started. Less than two minutes into the game, the Habs opened up the score, 1-0. That first goal, standing up with everyone else, screaming, waving my rally towel in the air, and my dad doing the exact same thing, followed by everyone singing the goal song, “Allez Montreal“. It’s something I’ll never forget. And lucky enough for me, I got to cheer for my team six more times.
The final score was 7-4. We couldn’t believe it. Of all the games we could have gone to, that’s the one we got to see. The first game we go to we get to see our team score seven times. The Habs dominated the game. It was insane.
As we got on the Subway and headed back to the car, we were still surrounded by Habs jerseys, and we couldn’t stop smiling the whole way back. Everytime we looked at each other, we would break into a smile, and laugh in disbelief at what we had just experienced.
I’m getting goosebumps just writing this.
Bottom line is, if there’s something you want to do, do it. I promise you, you won’t ever regret it.