With the announcement Thursday of Patrick Roy’s
jersey retirement the Montreal Canadiens will raise their 15th jersey to the
rafters at the Bell Centre on November 22, 2008. Roy will join other
Canadiens’ legends, and during the centennial season it means that much more for
Roy who is a Quebec native. Although, as a boy, Roy grew up a fan of the
hated Quebec Nordiques, he will live forever in the hearts and minds of Habs
fans around the world.
Patrick Roy was drafted 51st overall in the 1984 NHL Entry Draft by Montreal.
In the 1985-1986 season Roy took over the starting goalie position for the
storied Montreal Canadiens. From this point on, Roy never looked back
leading the Habs to two Stanley Cups in 1986 and 1993. St. Patrick was
also the last goalie to lead the Canadiens to a Cup win in 1993 against the Los
Angeles Kings who were led by Wayne Gretzky.
It was after the 1993 Cup victory that hard times beset the organization and in
1995 Roy was traded to the Colorado Avalanche. After a very public falling
out with Rejean Houle and Mario Tremblay, the goalie that had been the heart and
soul of the team and led the Habs to two Stanley Cup victories was part of what
many consider the worst trade in franchise history. Roy and Mike Keane
were traded for Jocelyn Thibault, Martin Rucinsky and Andrei Kovalenko. Roy went
on to win two more Stanley Cups in Colorado.
Patrick Roy simply put is one of the greatest goaltenders to ever play in the
NHL. On a team and in a province that prides itself on producing great
goaltenders, Roy’s influence has been significant not just in the province of
Quebec but around the world.
Patrick Roy was the icon of the Montreal Canadiens and the symbol of success
during the 1980’s and early 1990’s. Many of the younger fans can point to
Patrick Roy as the main reasons they began cheering for the Habs.
November 22, 2008 will be a very special night for Habs fans young and old
alike. Patrick Roy was a bridge between generations of Habs fans.
For this reason Roy will go down as one of the greatest and most important
figures in the history of the Montreal Canadiens organization.