They came to celebrate the career of Larry Robinson on Monday, as the Montreal Canadiens acknowledged "Big Bird's" remarkable career with le rouge, bleu et blanc.
Robinson who held down the blue line with the legendary Canadien teams of the seventies and eighties, joined the litany of stars that Montreal have placed in the rafters of first the Forum and now the Bell Centre.
In a ceremony that the Canadiens presented in a first class fashion (as is the norm), the long time Montreal icon was remembered by fellow Habs, his current boss New Jersey GM Lou and of course the thousands of Montreal fans in attendance.
Robinson an English farm boy from rural Ontario, spoke in french about how the "greatest hockey city in the world" took him under their wing when he arrived in 1972. They continued to shower him with that respect with a fourteen minute or so ovation prior to the Monday night contest between the Habs and Ottawa.
It was a fitting match up for Robinson's soiree, he grew up on a farm not too far from Ottawa, but played all of his hockey for one of the most storied franchises in the league. And tonight joins the ranks of the beloved, a lengthy list of the who's who of Candiens hockey.
As classy as ever, at the end of the ceremony Robinson walked along both blue lines shaking the hand of every player on both the Canadiens and the Senators and then took the turn towards the benches to do the same with the coaching staff of both teams.
As always, just like when he was on the ice, Robinson knew exactly what to do, exactly where to be and did it in style.
Canadian Press--Robinson raised to the rafters
Sports Illustrated--Robinson's No. 19 retired by Canadiens prior to game against Ottawa
Habsworld--For Larry Robinson, an Honor Long Overdue
The Ottawa Sun--One for Big Bird
CBC Sports--Canadiens retire Larry Robinson's No. 19
Montreal Gazette--Robinson's impact on Canadiens difficult to measure
Vancouver Sun--Robinson's 'Hit' still resonates with Dornhoefer