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A Montreal Myth Debunked

There is a theory among the ill-informed that what will topple MLSE will be some sort of revolution by the put-upon proletariat. MF37 and Dave Feschuk, of all people, handily disproved that falsehood. The truth is that the vast majority of the money that MLSE rakes in comes in from their corporate brethren and if the French Revolution taught us anything it's that the nobility tend to stick together (and eventually get beheaded together but sadly Peddie and the MLSE board are likely safe from that fate) so there is no respite in sight from that avenue of appeals.

So the next time someone says that Leaf fans need to stay away from the ACC to help save the Leafs laugh in their faces because they are completely clueless. In fact, they are probably Jays fans because staying away from the SkyDome has helped turn the Jays into a winning franchise. I mean, ownership would never find another way to sell those tickets. Right?

To read about the more insidious falsehood or to comment on the hilarity of needing to sell tickets to opposing fans to get butts in the seats click 'Full Story'.

The most dangerous lie of our time arose from this great article by this great article by Kim Jorn. He did a great job of showing how clueless the Montreal cabbie was but in the comments a blatant falsehood made an appearance. A lie that I have heard perpetrated with pride by Montrealers repeatedly and echoed by an inebriated bird-watcher:

Montrealers love their team but will voice their disapproval of management, ownership and the players on the ice by withholding their money. When the Corey/Houle/Tremblay Habs stumbled, the fans damn well let them know changes were necessary and ownership listened. I think that Ballard, Stavros and now MLSE don't ever receive that message.

you've completely missed Berger's point about Habs fans-- which isn't that they should be applauded for being front runners, but that they should be applauded for going away when the team was as bad as the Leafs are now! And that you're proudly unashamed of your unwavering support of the Blue and White when it's painfully clear that what has allowed the Leafs to languish through these forty years of mediocrity is exactly that!

Those are two well thought out comments that addressed Kim's article and showed him to be lacking in knowledge, wit, and hygiene. Or at least they would have accomplished that if they had been made in an alternate universe where Habs fans had in fact gone away from their team in the past 15 years when they have been terrible much more often than not. Hell, they've missed the playoffs five of the last eight seasons and they are not exactly guaranteed to prevent it become six times in nine years.

Unfortunately, in this reality, Habs fans have not wrought change with their Karl Marx-led revolt against George Gillett. The real improvement that is finally being seen came because their President, Pierre Boivin, was given the backing by ownership to bring in a proven winner as General Manager, Bob Gainey. Keep in mind that even while the Habs, like Icarus before them, have flown close to the sun of first place there is no guarantee that they will not see the wax (Kovalev-Plekanec-Kostitsyn The Elder) holding their wings melt away causing them to plummet into the draft lottery as happened just a year ago.

The truth is that Habs fans have happily continued to go see their heroes in droves and plunked down their hard-earned cash (one assumes but never really knows) to see the team that they love and they should be applauded for their devotion. Exhibit A in the case versus the alterers of history is below. Keep in mind that while that that trio of 94% seasons seem like some sort of exodus they were still good enough to rank in the top two in the NHL for average attendance. Not only that but if you take a closer look you'll see that those average attendances were still enough to outnumber the average number of Leafs fans that suffered in the ACC during that same period.

So we can finally put the canard that Habs fans are so otherwordly knowledgeable about hockey that they sacrificed their chance to see their adored bleu, blanc, et rouge in order to bring about change to rest. MZ in the comments of the Cox Bloc probably summed things up best:

More than any of that, though, is how ridiculously unfair it is for guys like you and Berger to blame the fans. Teams like the Leafs and the Red Sox have real fans, and there's no getting around that. It's why, as Kim Jorn rightly points out, a boycott won't work. If Leaf fans as a species survived the asteroid impact of the '80s, we'll survive this season. But don't you dare suggest that it's because we won't flick some internal switch and abandon a losing team (a trait [Ed.'s Note: which doesn't in fact exist] in Habs fans that you applaud) [now] that we have a losing team. It's not our fault that there's been some serious bungling at the management level. It's not our fault when players get injured. Losing 8-0 to the Panthers was in no way our fault.

  • Indicates a season shared between the old arena (Maple Leaf Gardens and The Forum) and the new arena (The Air Canada Centre and the Molson/Bell Centre)

** Attendance figures before the 2000-2001 season came courtesy of Andrew's Stars Page who thankfully archived the old ESPN numbers. The number from 2000-2001 onward come from the ESPN Average Attendance page.