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The Stars of THE Rivalry

August 8, 2019, 11:24 PM ET [75 Comments]
Karine Hains
Montreal Canadiens Blogger • RSSArchiveCONTACT
I've always been a Habs fan, probably because my dad had the good idea to introduce me to hockey during the 1985-1986 season when the Canadiens won their 23rd Stanley Cup and Patrick Roy came bursting into the biggest stage of them all. That being said, I'll always remember my first encounter with a professional hockey player...it was 1986 and the Nordiques were holding their annual Humpty Dumpty practice. Being a devoted Nordiques fan, my dad always went and took me along for the ride. That year though, Peter Stastny was injured and he wasn't on the ice with the other fleur de lysée but sat in the stand amongst the fans. I was only six but when I saw him, I immediately recognized him and asked my dad if it was Peter. His whole face lit up, a mic of joy at seeing one of his favorite player and pride that his daughter could recognize such an important players for his team. Amazingly, no one was talking to Peter so we went over and sat down next to him, my dad started chatting to him and before the practice was over, he went to get a puck and signed it for me.

I think it's impossible for a hokey fan not to respect the Stastny brothers and what they did not only for the Nordiques but also for european hockey. They really showed the way and allowed so many brilliant european players to believe that they could make it in America... If the Stastny don't defect in the early 1980s, who's to say that Jaromir Jagr would eventually have come to America? Of course, they did hurt the Habs on this ice from time to time but to me, they remain a symbol of the first decade of my life the 80s. When I heard that the statue was going to be unveiled during my 3 weeks of work, I just knew I had to be there and I'm glad I was.

While the critics are not unanimous about the statue, I personally love it! Why? well, because it depicts them in their usual formation, Anton on the right, Marian at centre and Peter on the left in the form of table hockey players. That to me is a stroke of genius. Surely I wasn't the only one who played table hockey every night with her dad after dinner while waiting for the game? Furthermore, it's not just any table hockey style, it's the one that was all the rage in the 80s and I believe it accurately depicts Québec's love not only for the Stastny brothers but for table hockey and all the memories that come with it.

After the unveiling, the brothers did address the crowd, mainly through Anton who's the best French speaker and boy was he applauded when he said that while Québec city adopted the Stastny, the Stastny also did adopt Québec City. Peter even went as far as saying that it was heaven on earth... As for Marian, he couldn't say much...the years havent been kind to the eldest Stastny and he now suffers from Parkinson's disease. The brothers of course made the ceremonial puck drop at the Pro-Am and were honoured with a 3 minute video and countless cheers from fans and raucous applause.

As for the Pro-Am, Lecavalier's Lightning bested Bergeron's Bruins in an uninspired affair. To be honest, the fact that regular players are allowed to play with the stars kinda ruins the show. NHLers spend way too much time trying to make those players shine and the spectacle suffers. Furthermore, there's something really wrong about seeing Philip Danault wear a Bruins jersey and seeing Brad Marchand struggle to give a puck to kids for 10 minutes and actually acting like a nice guy...

All that doesn't matter though, what really does matter is the fact that $450 000 were raised for 5 Quebec fondations...
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