Montreal Canadiens’ captain Shea Weber celebrates a goal with Jonathan Drouin, who once played for the Lac St-Louis Lions, during a game against the Florida Panthers in January.
John Mahoney / Montreal Gazette
It was recently pointed out to me by a learned (pronounced learn-ed) colleague, whilst we were chewing the fat over the Habs, I was incorrectly referring to them as the Montreal Canadians. As the gentleman in question was by far better read than I who suffer acute swelling of brain tissue when attempting to corroborate anything beyond my usual default position of fabricating facts — I reluctantly deferred to his wisdom. But not without a brief fight.I said, “So how come all the sports announcers outside of Quebec refer to them as the Canadians?”His answer was brief and cryptic: “Clod Lemieux.”After about 15 minutes, I finally got it and laughed. Game over. (I also thought the nickname Habs came from Habitant the canned soup company.)Upon deeper thought — something I desperately try to avoid normally — I realized that I am a first generation product of immigrant allophone refugees, raised in downtown Balconville Montreal and still stuck in a bit of pre-Bill 101 time warp.I still refer to the main artery in my youth’s hood as St. Lawrence Street (not even Boulevard.) Same with the river. In fact, I still refer to St-Antoine as Craig Street. (So, sue me.)Fun fact: In 2002 the Historic Sites and Monuments Board of Canada named St. Lawrence Boulevard as The Main National Historic Site of Canada. (They called it Saint Lawrence. Yay.)But back to the issue of the — uh — Canadiens. (Is that three n’s or four?) To be fair, I still hear many (young and old) people refer to the anglo version of the — Canadiens. So that begs the question, If so many people (ie. Anglos, allos and Argos) get it wrong, doesn’t it eventually become right as well? (I am going to get trolled, aren’t I, or a salted letter from the Parti SolidAir?)By the way, technically, Toronto Maple Leafs is bad grammar; it should be Toronto Maple Leaves. So if they accept that, why shouldn’t Montreal Canadians be correct seeing as it is a direct translation much less not illiterate? And if Montreal Canadiens is proper conversational reference, how come I can get away without the accent over the e? (Missed that one, didn’t you?)Maybe the problem with me is I don’t watch hockey (Sacre rouge, blanc et bleu !) so I don’t get all official about the team names. But it would be fun to see what other NHL teams would be called if they flew with the French translation:Anaheim CanardsArizona CoyotesCalgary FlammesCarolina OuragansChicago Faucons NoirsDetroit Ailes Rouges (Sounds like a recipe for chicken wings.)Edmonton PétroliersMinnesota SauvageTampa Bay FoudreSome do sound better in French: Las Vegas ChevaliersSome sound sappier: Toronto Feuilles d’érableI am sorry the Oakland Seals are no more. My favourite: Oakland Phoques.Anyway, I must continue to call them the Canadians. Otherwise, there wouldn’t be any fun in annoying the die-hards.Related