The Montreal Canadiens, nicknamed “the Habs”, are a professional ice hockey team based in Montreal, Quebec. The team is part of the Eastern Conference of the NHL. The Canadiens were founded on December 4, 1909, and have achieved 24 Stanley Cups, making them the most successful professional ice hockey franchise in history. Currently, the majority owner of the team is the Molson family. It does not get any more historical or legendary than the Montreal Canadiens. Below you will discover some amazing facts about the Montreal Canadiens and their storied history.
1. A founding member of the National Hockey League, the Montreal Canadiens were founded by J. Ambrose O’Brien on December 4, 1909, as the first team in the National Hockey League.
2. The Molson brewery owners, Tom and Hartland Molson purchased the team in 1957.
3. When the Molson family sold the team to George N. Gillett Jr. in 2001, he was the only interested buyer.
4. Henri Rickard led the team to 18 playoff appearances from 1955 to 1975, the longest in team history.
5. In their history, the Canadiens retired 13 numbers by 14 players. That figure is the fourth highest of any North American professional sports franchise. Eleven of them are Canadians.
6. The Canadiens won six games between 1951 and 1960, including five straight (a record) in 1956-59.
7. Maurice Richard has scored 82 goals in the playoffs for the Montreal Canadiens in their history.
8. The franchise’s longest-serving head coach is Dick Irvin, who led the team from 1940 to 1955.
9. By his 203 playoff games, Larry Robinson holds the club record for baseball’s most playoff games.
10. Joe Malone is the first player to ever score a goal for the Montreal Canadiens.
11. A year before winning their first Stanley Cup, the Canadiens defeated the Portland Rosebuds of the Pacific Coast Hockey Association.
12. A goalie by the name of Jacques Plante has become the first to wear a mask since 1959 regularly.
13. Canadiens goalie Jose Theodore was honoured with the Hart Trophy in 2002 as the NHL MVP. The first Habs’ goalie to do so.
14. In his first year as a head coach for the Canadiens, Jean Perron won the Stanley Cup playoffs in 1986.
15. There have been no Canadiens players with more postseason points than Jean Beliveau.
16. Sports Illustrated featured Jean Beliveau on its cover in 1956. The first NHL player to be featured.
17. Saku Koivu is the team’s first captain, who is not a Canadian.
18. A group of Canadiens team executives and four representatives of other NHA teams formed the NHL in 1917.
19. 1967 marked the last time the Canadiens and Maple Leafs met, and Toronto won the Stanley Cup.
20. In 1919, the Stanley Cup final was marred by tragedy: the Spanish Flu pandemic that hit Seattle killed Canadiens star, Joe Hall. The rest of the series was cancelled.
21. 1995 was the first year in the past 25 years that the Canadiens missed the playoffs.
22. Among Hockey Hall of Fame inductees, the Canadiens have the second-most with 42. All their inductees are Canadian, except for previous defenceman Joe Hall, from England.
23. As a result of an incident with an official, Rocket Richard was suspended for the rest of the season in 1955 against the Detroit Red Wings. Millions of dollars in damage were caused because Montrealers rioted in the streets. The Habs had to forfeit the game and lost in the finals to the Red Wings.
24. Stunned by the Montreal Canadiens’ terrible performance by the 1935-36 NHL season, the NHL awarded the Habs rights to all French-Canadian players for two years.
25. Averaging +120 in the 1976-77 season, Larry Robinson is the team leader in +/- in a season.
26. At the end of the 1945-46 NHL season, Rocket Richard became the first player in NHL history to score 50 goals in a regular season; he achieved this feat one night after the season ended.
27. A year ago, the Canadiens participated in the first outdoor hockey game in the history of the NHL, the Heritage Classic in Edmonton, on November 22, 2003.
28. Peterborough hosts the Peterborough Petes of the Ontario Hockey League, a farm team of the Montreal Canadiens.
29. In a season, Steve Shutt and Guy Lafleur have the most goals, with 60 each.