Wednesday, December 4, 2013

2009-10 Montreal Canadiens 1909-10 Centennial Mike Cammalleri Jersey

It was on this date in 1909 that John Ambrose O'Brien founded "le Club de Hockey Canadien", the oldest team in the NHL.

O'Brien, in Montreal for business was asked by the owners of the Renfrew Creamery Kings to apply to join the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA). After being turned down by the CHA, he met Jimmy Gardner, the manager of the Montreal Wanderers hockey club.

The pair hatched the idea of starting their own league, christened the National Hockey Association (NHA), using O'Brien's teams in Cobalt and Haileybury, the Wanderers plus founding O'Brien's new club, the Canadiens, intended to appeal to he French-speaking fans in Montreal as a rival to the Wanderers.

1909-10 Montreal Canadiens future Hall of Famers Cattarinich, Laviolette &
Pitre shown wearing the Canadiens original sweaters

O'Brien only owned the team for one season because he was sued by George W. Kendall, the owner of the Club athéltique Canadien, who claimed he had the legal rights to the Canadiens name. As part of the settlement, Kendall bought the team from O'Brien for $7,500.

The Canadiens remain the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team and the only NHL club older than the league itself. During their history, they have held the Stanley Cup 24 times, including their first in 1916, a year before the founding of the National Hockey League.

1915-16 Montreal Canadiens team, 1915-16 Montreal Canadiens team
The 1915-16 Canadiens, the first Stanley Cup winners in franchise history

While the rivalry with the Wanderers fell by the wayside in 1918 when the Westmount Arena burned down and the Wanderers folded, the Canadiens new cross-town rivals arrived in 1924 with the founding of the Montreal Maroons. Two seasons later the Canadiens would move into their home of 70 years, the Montreal Forum, which they would share with the Maroons until their demise in 1938.

By 1949 the Canadiens had won but six Stanley Cups in their first forty years, hardly the dominant franchise the hockey world would soon come to know, as the Canadiens would make it to the finals in 1951, the first of ten consecutive appearances in the final series.

The arrival of Boom Boom Geoffrion in 1951 to compliment Maurice "Rocket" RichardDoug Harvey and Dickie Moore set the ball in motion, and soon the Canadiens embarrassment of riches would grow into a full-fledged dynasty with the additions of Jean Beliveau and Jacques Plante in 1953, Henri Richard in 1954 and Claude Pronovost in 1955. Ten seasons later, the Canadiens would double the number of Stanley Cups won, with six in ten years.

Richard Beliveau 1958 Stanley Cup, Richard Beliveau 1958 Stanley Cup
Richard and Beliveau with the Stanley Cup in 1958

The success would continue through out the 1960's despite the retirement of Rocket Richard after the 1960 championship. The club would capture an astounding ten titles in fifteen seasons from 1965 to 1979, including four straight to finish the run with star players such as Jacques LaperriereJ. C. TremblayGuy LafleurYvan CournoyerKen DrydenPeter MahovolichSteve ShuttBob GaineySerge SavardGuy LapointeJacques Lemaire and Larry Robinson.

The club continued it's streak of at least one championship in every decade from the 1910's by winning the title in 1986 behind the goaltending of rookie Patrick Roy and again in 1993.

Montreal 1993 Stanley Cup, Montreal 1993 Stanley Cup
The Canadiens most recent championship team from 1993

The team became the first in NHL history to reach 3,000 victories on December 29, 2008 with a win over the Florida Panthers, a team no one could have imagined in 1909.

To celebrate the club's centennial several uniform numbers were retired, including those of Moore & Cournoyer (both #12), Geoffrion (5), Savard (18), Dryden (29), Robinson (19), Gainey (23), Roy (33) and Elmer Lach (#16) and Emile Bouchard (#3) leaving them with 15 retired numbers, 12 of those under the #20, forcing current Montreal players to wear some of the highest numbers in the league, a visual oddity for one of the most traditional franchises in sports.

Lach and Bouchard were the last to have their
numbers retired by the Canadiens

In addition to other events, such as the issuing of commemorative coins and stamps, the construction of a "Centennial Plaza" outside the Bell Centre and a concert, the Canadiens hosted the 2009 NHL All-Star game as well as the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, but our favorite tribute to the club's historic past was the wearing of a series of Centennial Jerseys, six in all.

Today's featured jersey is a 2009-10 Montreal Canadiens 1909-10 Centennial Mike Cammalleri jersey, as worn on November 21, 2009 against the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-2 shootout loss, with Cammalleri scoring both of Montreal's goals.

The jerseys had a lace-up collar and sported the Canadiens Centennial patch on the right shoulder, as did all the Centennial jerseys worn by the club.

They were scheduled to wear the jerseys a second time on February 13, 2010 against the Philadelphia Flyers, but a change in plans saw them stick with their regular jerseys, leaving the 1909-10 blue jerseys worn just the one time.

Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey, Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey
Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey, Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey
Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey, Montreal Canadiens 09-10 09-10TBTC jersey

Here is the shootout from the November 21st game when the Canadiens debuted their 1909-10 Centennial jerseys.

Finally, here is 100 years of hockey supremacy condensed into five and a half minutes. If this doesn't get your juices flowing and make you want to put on your skates on and pretend you're Richard, Beliveau or Lafleur, you have no pulse.

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