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On Habs fans and the booing of the anthem

Apr 20, 2010, 10:15 AM EDT

Last night, watching the Washington Capitals and Montreal Canadiens, I
was overwhelmingly impressed with the atmosphere created by the home
crowd. I’ve been to a game in Montreal before, and I was completely
blown away by how much their fans are into the game. There are no video
prompts, no music calling for noise or “defense” or anything like that.
The Habs fans are just simply LOUD.

Yet there are some downsides
to this amazing corner of fandom. The Canadiens fans are notorious for
instantly turning on their own team and frankly it makes it hard to
watch sometimes. The way Carey Price looked ready to just collapse at
home last summer under the pressure of the crowd and how various players
have itched to move on. It’s a tough place to place as a visitor; it
might be even harder if you’re a member of the team.

Last night, the
discussion around the game wasn’t just on the in-game atmosphere; no,
many were harping on how (some) Habs fans were booing during the United
States anthem pregame.

If you know anything about Habs fans, this
shouldn’t surprise you. If fact, it should be expected. Nonetheless,
it’s still a bit shocking when you hear it and it’s a conversation that
should never take place during a hockey game. But it does.

Steinberg of DC Sports Blog
makes a great point, though, saying we
shouldn’t really get that worked up over it.

as far as things to get mad about on the Internet, this is
pretty far down my list. The Habs fans who boo are just role-playing at
this point, like American fans at a WWE event. Clearly it has nothing to
do with the actual hockey teams; the Canadiens have four Americans on
their roster, including key contributors like Hal Gill, Scott Gomez and
Brian Gionta. The Caps have the exact same number of U.S. players, and
actually have more Canadians than the Canadiens on their current roster.

The booing of the national anthem was quickly forgotten as the
Canadiens collapsed and the crowd became increasingly quiet and
agitated. I won’t speak specifically on the overall state of Canadiens
fans, since some of best hockey friends are Habs fans, but I will say
that it’s increasingly embarrassing for hockey overall when these sorts
of fan reactions get the most attention.

  1. Bob - Apr 20, 2010 at 10:33 AM

    caps fans did not boo Oh, Canada in the first 2 games…but I think this will ensure it happens in Game 5.

  2. Matt - Apr 20, 2010 at 11:13 AM

    Because it’s the “cool thing to do”, right?
    Would fit in well with the bandwagoners already there. They don’t know any better.

  3. JF - Apr 20, 2010 at 11:17 AM

    Caps fans will do the same thing the Bruins fans did, when the classless Hab fans did the same thing last year. Give the Canadian anthem a standing OVation and send those Habs home for the offseason in game 5. How is that great goal tending Mr Jagr was talking about before the series working out?

  4. Evan - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:30 PM

    Who cares about what Canadiens do? They are just America junior anyway.i

  5. Barb - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:32 PM

    Let’s not confuse ‘Canadiens’ with ‘CANADIANS’. There’s very few CANADIANS who would be so uncouth….and if they are, they probably originated in Quebec…

  6. luvheat - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:34 PM

    As far as I’m concerned Canada is beneath Venezuela in my popularity contest. Who cares if they boo? They just can’t understand English

  7. AJ Gallo - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:48 PM

    It stems from an overall and long standing dislike, bordering on hatred, of Americans in general by Canadiens in general. There’s an old Italian saying; “screw ’em.”

  8. JM - Apr 20, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    Oh yes, and if there is anyone in this world who shows a good example of respect for other nations, it would be an American? Give me a break. The bottom line is- this is playoff hockey- it heats up on the ice, and it heats up in the stands. It was rude, no doubt, but let’s get a little perspective here.
    Also- let’s not confuse “Canadiens” with “Canadians”? You know that “Canadien” is the French spelling of “Canadian”, right? French being the language spoken in Quebec.

  9. True Canadi"A"n - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:00 PM

    I’m surprised that the Canadi”E”ns fans don’t boo the Canadian anthem as well!!!!!!

  10. Barb - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:09 PM

    Seriously…don’t confuse the two pronunciations. And can’t understand English?? Really? Hmmm….the rest of Canada realizes that Quebeckers understand English, they just ignorantly choose NOT to speak it. But back to the topic, booing a national language is just class-less, and as a CANADIAN, I don’t support HABS fans. (By the way….GO AVS!!!)

  11. Barb - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:13 PM

    Nope…sorry, but even Quebeckers would argue the difference. To CANADIANS, Canada comes first. To CANADIENS, CANADA is a distant second, French or English. Either way, booing is not classy.

  12. Barb - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:15 PM

    Oops! Meant ‘national anthem’ not language!

  13. Evan - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:26 PM

    Canada sucks! Lets just leave it at that. We all know its true and that they wish they were the United States.

  14. papa - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:42 PM

    gold medal game

  15. me - Apr 20, 2010 at 1:43 PM

    I think this just shows the level of the people that watch hockey.

  16. papa's PAPA - Apr 20, 2010 at 2:29 PM

    overall medal count in Candi”A”n hosted olympics.
    FYI Candi”A”n’s make up 55% of NHL so they should win the gold medal every time. I didnt see Canada in the gold medal game against the USA in basketball.

  17. the dude - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:18 PM

    I hope the Caps fans do not boo ‘O Canada’ in game 5 but if by some off chance they play the french national anthem…by all means, boo the hell out of that one. Not all CanadiAns are bad, just those frogs from Quebec and Montreal

  18. AJ Gallo - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:25 PM

    Purely an unintentional misspelling on my part. I did not mean “Canadiens” I was speaking about nor did I mean to refer to them. I was referring to “Canadians” in general. My apologies for the mixup.

  19. habsfan - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:26 PM

    I was at the game. It was not booing at all. The fans in attendance were chanting ‘Go Habs Go’ before the anthems started and some fans continued during the US National Anthem which may have sounded like booing on TV. Still somewhat disrespectful, but much different than booing.

  20. Fred - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:37 PM

    I am thinking of making up a anthem for Quebec! One that incites, hatred and bigotary. That way everyone in th efree world can boo it too!! Washington, you must realize that this is a small portion of Canada (montreal is small compared to the rest of Canada) and we English Canadians have more respect than those french assholes in quebec. These people in Montreal are a few loads load of a full truck. BTW, we speak English in Ontario, and BC and Alberta etc… Sunday’s Ottawa Senator’s crowd cheered the US anthem while Oiler fans in the past have sung it out loud. I don’t blame you for being upset but this goes back several years with Philadelphia fans. They started everthing and are just as classless in my books because they are no better than those idiot Montreal fans.

  21. oldgunslingerfan - Apr 20, 2010 at 3:52 PM

    I am a Canadian living in Calgary Alberta and I find the antics of Quebecers as annoying and disrespectful as all you Yanks do. PLEASE DO NOT GENERALIZE ALL OF CANADA BECAUSE OF THESE A$$HOLES. We have been kissing their a$$es for years just to keep our country together. About 40% of them want to leave Canada, which would be fine for most of the rest of us. Like their compatriots in Europe they are rude, crude, and obnoxious. GO CAPS GO. Bye the way, I have a lot of friends downsouth who love to come to ENGLISH CANADA on vacation. Be respectful of us, the way we should be respectful to you.

  22. Fred - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:17 PM

    yah right on oldgunslingerfan!
    Americans are alway welcome here in Canada, everyone knows where the real Canada is right?
    Hey Habs fans, 5 goals up your a** you bunch of derelicts!

  23. C. Smith - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:18 PM

    Just shows you how ignorant and disrespectful they are.

  24. oldgunslingerfan - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    One final point, the Habs have a few U.S. born players including Brian Gionta, Scott Gomez and Hal Gill. I bet they loved hearing their anthem booed. It seems the Montreal “fans” discriminate against their own players. Very ignorant but very typically French.

  25. oldgunslingerfan - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:44 PM

    Something else to prove my point, a few years ago a peewee hockey team from the U.S. made a good will trip to Quebec. They were booed, cursed at, and if memory serves pretty much run out of town in tears. THIS WAS DISGRACEFUL. A year or two later the same team was brought back to Canada by some good Canadians from New Brunswick. They were treated extra special by or friends in the Maritimes and went home with a better feeling for our country. Thanks to real Canadians for restoring some good to this story.

  26. weezman - Apr 20, 2010 at 4:47 PM

    There’s not really any reason to get worked up about it. That’s the way the French Bloc in Quebec is. You won’t catch it happening in any other Canadian city outside of Quebec.

  27. Dave - Apr 20, 2010 at 5:46 PM

    Philly and NY have boo’d during canadian anthems in past years…SO GET OVER IT. We have our French and you have NY/philly.. At least we are not vomiting on fans…

  28. 2late2matter - Apr 20, 2010 at 7:25 PM

    Eh? Me mum was born in London, Canada and thankfully never learned more than a few words of the Canadien national language. My fraternity brother speaks Quebecois but humors me with his perfect English. Go figure, eh?
    Re. the Olympic gold medal game: As I recall, the U.S. team won the first game v. Canada, then spotted them how many goals before finally losing sight of Sidney, a Canadian who plays in for the Penguins last I heard.
    Incidentally, Steve Nash is a Canadian who plays NBA ball for the Phoenix Suns, now playing Portland in the playoffs. Eh?

  29. Rich - Apr 20, 2010 at 7:27 PM

    Montreal fans have every right to be proud of their French and hockey heritage. Perhaps the Canadiens are booing the uppity American arrogance and we are better than you attitude instead of the national anthem.

  30. Sparklemahn - Apr 20, 2010 at 8:32 PM

    I’m a native American, but I love Canada. I do not expect the same from anyone else, or expect a Canadian to love America. The United States has most of the finest athletes in the world. But Canada has the best hockey players. As far as throwing up on fans on purpose: that might just be worse than booing a national anthem. I love Philadelphia, though. Happy 4/20!

  31. americawho - Apr 20, 2010 at 9:48 PM

    Americans play hockey?? Aren’t they too fat to do that??

  32. paton - Apr 20, 2010 at 10:39 PM

    Oh Canada your home and boring land.What have they done up their? NOTHING! enough said. Time to move on Canada its so old!

  33. Peter - Apr 21, 2010 at 2:19 AM

    Canada did nothing but win the war of 1812 against you! :)

  34. 60eagles - Apr 21, 2010 at 6:30 AM

    They should be proud of their two ship navy and the one helicopter in the 200 man military. If anything bad happens these same dorks will be running to the US for cover. Drop dead Canada!!!

  35. chomsky - Apr 21, 2010 at 10:01 AM

    It’s simply another reaction against the Amerikan Empire and the evilness it stands for! Millions of people the world over love to tell Amerika to f-off. Hurts to be hated, don’t it, Amerika?

  36. Anonymous - Apr 21, 2010 at 10:14 AM

    I agree. We live on the Canadian border south of Quebec. The French Canadians are rude and obnoxious. Please do not compare them with the rest of Canada. We have many Canadian friends and there is no comparison between English speaking Canadians and the French Canadians, who are continually trying to separate from the rest of the country.

  37. MarkD - Apr 21, 2010 at 11:55 AM

    I have sympathy for the Canadien’s fans. It isn’t easy being a minority culture in your own country. The Habs used to be the dominant team in hockey, and a symbol for all things French Canadian. Those days are as far gone as Jean Beliveau and Rocket Richard. It makes for a better game, or at least a more competitive one today, but glory is tough to lose.
    I’m not even a Canadian, much less a Canadien, but I used to watch those games as a kid. It’s understandable. Not the best manners, but they aren’t rioting or killing fans of the “wrong” team. It’s not European football.
    It’ll be a very good day when this rises to the top of my list of things to be concerned about.

  38. whocares - Apr 21, 2010 at 12:04 PM

    Canadians ? oh the land of make believe…oops… maple leafs. they boo because we can talk and chew gum at the same time aaaaaaaaaaaa hoser ?

  39. MP - Apr 21, 2010 at 12:56 PM

    I’ll take booing Canadiens fans any day over brainless, vulgar, criminallly inclined philly fans, and i’m a Bruins fan who hates the Canadiens hockey team. big deal, they boo our national anthem. how wonderful that all of you who take offense to that are so patriotic! i’m sure you all pay your taxes on time(if at all)and have never done anything to disparage your own country. i believe all of the Canadians outside of Quebec who have rplied here…screw the arrogant Quebeckers and embrace the rest of Canada!

  40. raider51 - Apr 21, 2010 at 1:01 PM

    I am a Native American currently living in Canada and have been for the past 10 years. First and foremost Canada is an extremely divided country, one that cannot even decide who or what it wants to be, (English or French) and West hates East and Central does give a crap about either. Of course being good Canadians thye will never admit to such feelings because “they are so nice”.
    A few comments;
    1) With regards to the booing, everyone takes this sports crap too seriously……get a life and concern yourself with something that actually matters!
    2) Peter’s response is pefect example of a Canadian…forever holding on to a past event to gains some sort of a good feeling about themsleves because there just isn’t that much to feel good about. Care to try the event again?
    3) Gold medal Hockey game….who cares!
    4) Chomsky’s response….those very same people who are ready to tell America to “F off” will be breaking down America’s door pleading for help if any disaster or invasion hits their country and if you don’t believe that you are as ignorant as your comments show.

  41. American - Apr 21, 2010 at 6:05 PM

    What has Canada ever done anyway! they hate on us because they aint us! we dont want them here because they make our country weak! keep to the North fools! these colors never run!

  42. bindatype - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:27 AM

    I’m an American but my extended family is Canadian (PEI). I love both countries. I had my 19th birthday in Montreal and I’ve been back several times. I love that city. There’s no place like it in the US. St Catherines is a crazy good time or at least it was back then. And that smoked meat thing they do is outta this world. I even love Quebec City too; the old town is beautiful. I haven’t been all over Canada but I have seen Ontario, Quebec, and the Eastern Provinces and I think we are 99% the same people. And we argue over the 1% difference which I guess is human nature. But even in our differences we find similarities…Canada, you think Quebecois are annoying? Try sharing a country with smug and self-righteous Californians!

  43. MP - Apr 22, 2010 at 12:42 PM

    Hey American! Speak proper English and perhaps someone would take you seriously.
    Maybe I should say it in your vernacular (look it up)…
    Listen fool. Ain’t nobody gona give you props if you hate on a foreign country and don’t be speakin’ you own language good.
    People like you make the rest of us Americans look bad. Grow up!

  44. ificantypethistheniamastupidamerican - Apr 22, 2010 at 3:42 PM

    It make me laugh to think that you Americans really think that suddenly we (the rest of Canada) will suddenly get invaded by foreigners (what foreigners? maybe the Yanks?) and then come running over to you?? That’s really old and I think you need a better arguement. I have tried to be nice BUT some of you Yanks decided to take this below the belt and attack English Canada! You should directing your venom at cowardly Quebec and not us!! What’s the matter with you anyway? Yeah raider51, your country would have loved to win the Gold as you would have probably rubbed it our faces? Most GOLD medals baby so stuff it!! 1812, sure let’s go again if you want? Just keep in mind it’ll be a conventional war (our F18 pilots are better than yours) and every other country in the world we be helping us defeat you again cause you are hated…so keep dreaming! Good feelings? negative feelings? I think Americans are the ones a little self conscious right about now HUH??

  45. demon - Apr 22, 2010 at 4:35 PM

    Montreal fans should try to improve their sportsmanship. Perhaps they could emulate, say Philadelphia fans. ha.

  46. Robert Shriner - Apr 22, 2010 at 4:38 PM

    Just to get things going – I am a Caps fan. There’s no class in disrespecting one’s national anthem – whether you’re an American or Canadian. Personally, I love Canada and I have always been treated with respect when visiting. Perhaps, we should reflect on the insights of my Canadian girlfriend. She is from Calgary and knows firsthand the quirks of French Canadians-after all they wanted to create their own government-so there’s no particular loyalty to Canada as a whole. She did mention that the frogs all wanted the Western Canadian Oil, however. Just a perspective.
    PS: take this in good humour – CROSBY SUCKS

  47. Gayphilly - Apr 22, 2010 at 9:10 PM

    Yes Philadelphia fans are true sports fans. Every fan should be like them! They are so polite, respectful and courteous. They will give you the shirt off their back and will even be quiet as you cheer on your own team in their rink. Very good people those guys huh? I love those people and they are happy and gay!! Go Philly go!!

  48. hokiefan - Apr 25, 2010 at 9:43 PM

    F18 jets are DESIGNED and MADE in the USA. Nobody is that stupid to believe canada has an air force to begin with.

  49. hokiefan - Apr 25, 2010 at 9:56 PM

    In Riverside County, Southern California, US, 2 citizens from our northern neighboring country, working and living in Riverside US, will be charged with burying a U.S. flag and replacing it with their maple leaf flag to celebrate their Winter Olympic hockey victory over the US in Vancouver back in Feb. This story can be searched on the internet for more info.

  50. njfan - Apr 27, 2010 at 1:36 PM

    Won the war of 1812? Re-writing history just a little don’t you think?
    Canada chose the wrong side during the American Revolution and all they’ve got is hockey, so let ’em boo.

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