They usually do things up right in Montreal and when you get an occasion such as the 100th anniversary of one of Canada's most storied sports franchises, well you just know they're going to pull out all the stops.
The Montreal Canadiens will celebrate their 100th year on December 4, 2009 when the franchise observes the date that Les Habitants first took to the ice in Montreal.
Between then and today however will bring an amazing list of events and commemorations that should keep Montrealers and Canadiens fans worldwide occupied for much of those fourteen months.
The Canadiens previewed some of their plans on Wednesday night with a special presentation, showcasing the newest toy for visitors to the Bell Centre, a 510-square-foot, 7 million dollar High Definition viewing screen in the arena. A guys rec room dream come true we assume, complete with the latest in bells and whistles to make the in the rink experience that much more enjoyable.
When they weren't locked onto the visual wonder of the new screen, invited guests learned of the many surprises planned through the next fourteen months as the rouge, blanc et bleu receive their tributes.
Among some of the intriguing ideas that are set to be launched are a special stamp from Canada Post recognizing the Canadiens achievements, commemorative coin sets and a special issue by the Mint of some 10 million loonies bearing the teams logo.
Books and DVD's on the history of one of Canada's greatest success stories, a Montreal Canadiens edition of Monopoly, a Symphony Performance, an all star game, amateur draft and the retirement of Patrick Roy's jersey.
There will be Habs Hall of Fame, a 500,000 dollar outdoor rink for the community and a selection of historic jerseys worn on eight separate occasions, marking the many eras of Montreal hockey.
There are so many plans in the works, one wonders if the team will find the time to practice and play in the actual games this season, as they mark the centennial year for most discussed part of Quebec history.
The Montreal Gazette provided some background for us on the plans for the long running celebration, a moment of history that Montrealers will be fully involved with as the next fourteen months progress.
The only thing that could possibly top all of the excitement would be a Stanley Cup parade down St. Catherine Street come June, and while the team we're sure works on their end of the bargain, the Habs management are probably developing plans just in case, it would certainly make for a storybook finish to a celebration that many have been looking forward to.