Friday marks the 30e anniversary of the last Stanley Cup won by the Montreal Canadiens and for many fans, the events of the time are already very distant or, for the youngest, simply absent from their memory.
The famous conquest of Patrick Roy and his acolytes materialized on June 9, 1993 in front of a jubilant crowd of 17,959 spectators at the old Forum. Since then, everyone knows it: it’s drought, not only in Montreal, but in the whole country. Canadian teams are still waiting to celebrate again despite six appearances in the final.
Also, many fans old enough to remember can see the images of Roy carrying the silver bowl on the ice, but other interesting facts, even anecdotal, may have been forgotten. Here is a brief look back at this significant evening for many Quebecers.
Before the hockey sidelines and the celebrations, there was a game, the fifth of the series between the Bleu-Blanc-Rouge and the Los Angeles Kings. On a warm spring evening and in an electric atmosphere, head coach Jacques Demers’ squad won an easy 4-1 victory. Sparkling in the playoffs, Roy had one of his simplest games, facing 19 shots. The scapegoat of the final, Marty McSorley, was strangely the only one to thwart him. For the rest, the Canadian settled the opponent’s case with two goals from Paul DiPietro, while Stéphan Lebeau and Kirk Muller beat Kelly Hrudey in the second period to give the Kings a hard blow. Proof of the conviction in the game of their favorites, the spectators began to celebrate in the stands with a few minutes to go.
Unfortunately, it is impossible to ignore the chaos and mayhem that shook downtown Montreal after the game. For those who stayed inside the Forum longer, leaving the building was a real obstacle course, worthy of the greatest military missions. The areas around Sainte-Catherine Street West, Atwater Avenue and Plaza Alexis-Nihon have thus become a playground for vandals. Some remember a scene showing a TVA television truck victim of the madness of a few individuals. Businesses located further east of the Habs’ home have paid dearly with numerous thefts of items and broken windows.
On a more pleasant note, Roy had plenty of reasons to celebrate and he didn’t just have the cup on his mind – and on top of his own – that night. As do the most deserving players who have taken their sports training to great honours, the Conn-Smythe Trophy recipient spoke the famous phrase « I’m going to Disneyland » in front of the camera in English while performing his solo ice cream ride with the cup. The images are still easily accessible on the web today, the sequence being one of the most prominent when it comes to the 1993 championship.
According to the website Disney Sports NewsAnother athlete that year promised to visit the entertainment company’s facility was NFL Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman. Some of Roy’s predecessors in this regard include Michael Jordan (NBA), Joe Montana (NFL), Al MacInnis (NHL) and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (NBA). The tradition continued long after 1993, including Aaron Rodgers (NFL), Barry Bonds (when he hit his MLB single-season home run record in 2001) and Tom Brady (NFL).
During the series and in subsequent years, observers have repeatedly mentioned McSorley and his too long stick for which he received a penalty that turned the final in favor of the Canadian in the second game. However, another stick may have gone unnoticed by most people. And this one marked its future owner even more. After the siren confirming the triumph of the Glorious, Demers received a « trophy » of his own: a silver baton from Wayne Gretzky, from the hands of the Marvel himself. Despite the bitterness of the defeat, number 99 wanted to keep his promise to his vis-à-vis and seemed to harbor less resentment than Kings pilot Barry Melrose. Many years later, he continued to claim that despite his legality, Demers used an unfair tactic by demanding the measurement of McSorley’s stick.
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These memories remain in Jacques Demers’ mind despite his health problems which led to aphasia a few years ago. Also, his brother Michel clarified in 2020 that the former coach religiously reviewed at TVA Sports the replays of certain matches of the 1993 course of the Canadian. “Jacques watches the series every night. I look at it too and I have chills. It’s been 27 years already. I watch it and it’s magic, ”his brother told host Dave Morissette.
The assertion here is nothing new: big events attract famous people from all walks of life. This was true during the evening of the conquest. The presence of the René Angélil – Céline Dion couple has been documented through a few photos showing the duo alongside Roy in the champions’ locker room, especially with the cup at their feet. It must be said that the impresario was a sports maniac, he had also attended the games played in Los Angeles and he also had his entries into the organization of the Canadian. The singer performed regularly at the Forum, a place the duo frequented often, for hockey and for work.