Ten former players will bring the living history and mystique of the Montreal Canadiens to the Cominco Arena on Feb. 16, and, fans young and old will appreciate the diversity.
Acting coach and five-time Stanley Cup champion, Steve Shutt, will lead the Canadiens alumni when they hit Cominco ice to face-off against the Trail Old Timers and raise money for the Trail Hockey Club Society’s Scholarship Fund.
Shutt played left wing on a Canadiens line centred by Jacques Lemaire with Guy Lafleur on the right wing during the 70s and early 80s. The Hall of Fame trio dominated the NHL as Montreal won four straight Stanley Cup titles from 1976 to 79, and put an end to the dark ages of the Philadelphia Flyers’ Broad-Street-Bullies brand of intimidating hockey.
The line’s unmatched offensive skill and speed helped Montreal post the greatest regular season performance in league history with an astounding 60-8-12 record in 1976-77. That year Shutt led the NHL with 60 goals and in the process set a new league and team record for left wingers that remained the NHL standard until Luc Robitaille’s 63-goal performance in 1992-93. Following the season, Shutt was named to the NHL’s First All-Star Team, and was eventually inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 1993.
Longtime NHLers Chris Nilan, Stephane Richer, and Patrice Brisebois will lead the Habs on the ice.
Brisbois enjoyed an 18-year NHL career, 14 in Montreal, winning the Stanley Cup in 1993 with the Habs and was the 2009 recipient of the Jean Beliveau Trophy.
Richer, #44, played 17 years in the NHL, won three Stanley Cups, including two with the Canadiens in ’86 and ’93 and one with the New Jersey Devils, and was also the last Canadiens player to score 50 goals in a season.
Nilan played 10 of his 13-year career with the Canadiens. A fan-favourite and fearsome fighter on the ice, ‘Knuckles’ Nilan racked up the most penalty minutes, 2,670, of any Canadiens player, and trails only Dave “Tiger” Williams for most pims in NHL history. Nilan also won a Cup in 1986 as a member of the Habs.
Keith Acton will take his familiar position at centre ice, having played five years in Montreal and 15 in the NHL. Known for his grit and intensity, Acton also centred Lafleur and Shutt (after Lemaire retired), and became one of the league’s top face-off artists. He won a Stanley Cup with the Edmonton Oilers in 1988.
On defence, 1991 draft pick Oleg Petrov was the first Russian to play for Montreal and won the Cup with the Habs in ’93.
Joining Petrov on the back end is six-foot-eight enforcer John Scott whose eight-year NHL career ended in Montreal. Scott was with the Arizona Coyotes when, on a Twitter lark, he won the 2016 NHL fan-voting for the All-Star Game. He was traded to Montreal as the controversy swirled, and the NHL actively tried to convince Scott to refuse to play in the match. Following much criticism and scrutiny over his selection, Scott went on to play in the All-Star Game, captaining his team to victory, and winning the MVP award as a result.
Scott finished the season with Montreal’s AHL affiliate, and dressed for one game as a Canadiens, but has proven to be a very popular addition to the Habs’ alumni team.
Defenceman Marc-Andre Bergeron and forward Normand Dupont round out the Montreal lineup with goaltender Richard Sevigny between the pipes.
Sevigny came to Montreal in 1979, the final year of the iconic Ken Dryden era, and played eight seasons in the NHL, split between the Canadiens and Quebec Nordiques. His presence in net will bring back a lot of memories for the more experienced hockey fan, as the Vezina Trophy winning goalie sports a stand-up style of goaltending, highlighted by diving poke-checks and sprawling stacked-pad saves rarely seen or enjoyed in today’s era of the butterfly goalie.
The game goes at 7 p.m. at the Cominco Arena. Adult $15 in advance, $20 at the door, with limited kids seats available for $10. VIP seats still available. Tickets can be purchased at the Trail Smoke Eaters office, Gericks, and at all Smoke Eaters home games.