Hockey fans may wonder when the next pro alumni hockey game will grace Pictou County, but they got plenty of thrills this time.
More than 1,200 fans attended the Pictou County Wellness Centre last Wednesday as the Montreal Canadiens alumni outscored their Boston Bruins counterparts 6-4. The game is among many alumni players from various NHL teams play during the hockey season.
Wednesday’s game rekindled the Habs-Bruins rivalry that at least equals that of the one between the Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs going back nearly 90 years.
John LeClair, the former power forward from St. Albans, Vt., barely an hour south of Montreal, showed the skills that indicated his potential with the Canadiens that he realized after being traded to the Philadelphia Flyers when he scored the alumni game’s first goal.
The Habs made it 2-0 moments later and never lost the lead.
The Bruins stayed close on Mike Krushelinski’s goal from a scramble and Raymond Bourque’s screamer from the high slot in the second period. Andrew Alberts scored twice in the third for the Bruins but they could not catch the Canadiens on this night.
Lucien Deblois, another more familiar player on the Habs’ roster, clinched the game late in the third period.
The atmosphere was festive, if not electric, with a sizable number of fans decked in Bruins jerseys and what appeared to be a larger number of those wearing the Habs’ home and mainly red tops.
“It was fun,” said Jon Sim, former NHLer who shared the official puck-drop with Trenton Mayor Shannon MacInnis, who chairs the Wellness Centre Authority board.
Chad McDavid, who helps with arrangements, said he was pleased with the outcome.
“We were very happy with the event overall,” he said. “The game itself was exciting and very well attended. The pub night that followed was also well attended and received.”
David Latulippe of New Glasgow and Valerie Dunbar were among the Habs fans enjoying the games’ outcome.
“All my life, they were the only team I rooted for,” Latulippe said.
Dunbar’s reason for supporting the Habs has a family connection. “My mother was a Toronto fan,” she said with a wry smile. “I sort of became a Montreal fan because I had to be opposite her.”
The Canadiens’ roster was generally younger. Their older players included Chris Nilan, 59, and Alain Cote, 60.
The Bruins’ roster included Rick Middleton, 64, and Terry O’Reilly. 66.
Canadians’ Lucien Debois takes a shot on Bruins’ goalie Andrew Raycroft. (Goodwin photo)