OTD: Les Canadiens de Montréal celebrate 100th anniversary

On today’s date in 2009, Mike Cammalleri scored a second-period hat trick as the Montreal Canadiens celebrated their 100th anniversary with a 5-1 victory against the Boston Bruins.

For the Canadiens, the game—played on home ice at the Bell Centre, in Montreal, Que.—snapped a four-game losing streak, during which time Cammalleri could only muster one assist; however, after netting three tallies on Dec. 4, 2009, he had a team-leading 15 goals.

“It’s a special night that I will never forget,” Cammalleri told CBC News following the game. “What else can I say? This was a special night for the sporting world.”

The team was perhaps inspired by the nostalgic 75-minute pre-game ceremony, at which the jerseys of 1940s Canadiens stars Elmer Lach and Butch Bouchard were retired.

“We really wanted to play well for them, but I think even after last night we wanted to come out and play well for ourselves,” said Canadiens defenceman Hal Gill during an interview with Hockey Night in Canada in the second intermission. By this point, the score had already reached 5-0.

STORIED HISTORY

The sta

The hockey jersey stamp (SC #2339) was issued in booklets of 10.

It was also on today’s date in 1909 that “Les Canadiens” – the present-day Montreal Canadiens (or Les Canadiens de Montréal) – was founded by prominent silver miner John Ambrose O’Brien, of Renfrew, Ont., as a charter member of the National Hockey Association (NHA), which was formed nearly a decade before the National Hockey League (NHL).

“Les Canadiens” was created as a team for Montreal’s francophone community and was to consist of francophone players—and francophone ownership. After the team’s first season (in which they placed dead last), ownership was transferred to George Kennedy, of Montreal, and the rest is history. The team would win its first Stanley Cup in the 1915-16 season, and the following year, “Les Canadiens” formed the NHL alongside four other NHA teams.

The season was split in half with part one running from Dec. 19-Feb. 4 and part two from Feb. 6-March 6. The Canadiens won the first half with a record of 10-4, and the Toronto Arenas won the second half with a record of 5-3. One of the teams, the Montreal Wanderers, withdrew in January 1918 after their rink—the Westmount Arena—burned to the ground. Toronto eventually won the NHL Championship with a total score of 10-7 over two games against the Canadiens. Then, after defeating the Pacific Coast Hockey Association’s Vancouver Millionaires 3-2 in a best-of-five series, Toronto won the Stanley Cup.

The Canadiens would win their first NHL Stanley Cup during the 1923-24 season.

CENTENNIAL CELEBRATION

In 2009, Canada Post commemorated the Canadiens’ 100th anniversary with a three-stamp souvenir sheet (Scott #2340) featuring replays of the historic 500th goals of Maurice Richard, Jean Béliveau and Guy Lafleur.

Using an action-oriented printing process called Motionstamp technology, the stamps depict close-up images of the actual footage of the three goals.

This three-stamp souvenir sheet was also issued by Canada Post in 2009.

This three-stamp souvenir sheet (SC #2340) was also issued in 2009 to mark the Canadiens 100th anniversary.

CAPTURING THE EXCITEMENT

“I think this was the perfect way to capture the excitement and dynamism the team has stirred in hockey arenas for the past century,” said Alain Leduc, manager of stamp design and production in 2009.

The souvenir sheet includes three $3 stamps and measures 130 mm by 100 mm. It was printed using six-colour lithography and a  lenticular process.

THE ROCKET’S No. 9

As part of Canada Post’s celebration of the Canadiens’ centennial, a Permanent stamp (SC #2339) featuring a close-up of Maurice Richard’s game-worn No. 9 jersey, which is currently housed in the Montréal Canadiens Hall of Fame, was also issued. Printed by the Lowe Martin Group on Tullis Russell coated paper using six-colour lithography, this stamp has general tagging along each side. Designed by Stéphane Huot, it measures 24.75 mm x 32.25 mm (vertical).

“The jersey’s texture is very interesting visually,” said Huot. “The older style, with its wool fabric and intricate detailing, really speaks to the team’s long history, capturing the magnitude of this anniversary.”

Huot added the jersey was considered a powerful, unifying symbol in French-Canadian culture throughout the middle of the 20th century.

“It’s sometimes called La Sainte Flanelle (the ‘Holy Shirt’),” he added. “By connecting it to faith in this way, fans attribute a mystic, other-worldly quality to the feelings it conjures.”

The booklets also list the team’s Stanley Cup victories and feature the team’s centennial logo. An official first-day cover was cancelled in Montréal.

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