Wednesday, June 10, 2009

In Montreal, will everything old, be new again?

“We have assembled a very solid and credible group of investors and financial institutions as part of our offer, they are all dedicated to the long-term success of the Canadiens and have a strong presence in Quebec."-- Geoff Molson, lead hand for the Molson group and other investors seeking to purchase the Montreal Canadiens.

At one time the Molson family name was synonymous with the Montreal Canadiens and Stanley Cup victories. On Wednesday, the prospect of reuniting the first two parts of that historic union was set in motion.

The current generation of the Molson's provided their bid to Canadiens owner George Gillett Jr. Wednesday, hopeful that the team that once defined their product line will be returned to the iconic family name that has been in business in Quebec for centuries.

The Molson group, has been rather tight lipped about their bid, and quietly have gone about putting together their partners and financial backers in their quest for Les Canadiens. Respectful of the Gillett group, they don't intend to try and capitalize on the spotlight at the moment, and instead are simply expressing the hope that the NHL will be receptive to their efforts and will meet with them in short order to go over any contentious issues or seek clarification on items of concern.

Mr. Gillett has long said that he considers himself holding the legacy of the Canadiens with his ownership of the legendary team, now, with his motivation to sell the team high, he could return the team to some solid and familiar hands, hopefully to return the team to its once lofty position.

The last time the Molson's owned the Canadiens, some of the best in rivalry in sports came to the forefront, with a passionate battle for the hearts, minds and drinking choices of Quebecois everywhere, as the Molson owned Canadiens and Carling O'Keefe controlled Nordiques played some of the hardest hitting, emotional hockey seen.

As the years progressed both brewers found that owning and operating a hockey franchise was becoming a financial headache, first the Nords were sold off by Carling and then the Habs by the Molsons. An era that was accented by the rise of the Colorado Avalanche after their relocation from Quebec City, a moment that is still considered a black mark on Canadian sports fans calenders.

While the Nords are gone, but not forgotten, in Montreal a reunion of a different type is brewing, as the next generation of Molsons' seek to bring the team back into the family fold. The past provided some of the most stable ownership and with it legendary success for the Habs, one hopes that if their bid is deemed acceptable that those days will return to Montreal again.

Now if only we could revive the Carling-Okeefe brand and ownership, bringing a team back to Quebec City would instantly rekindle those ancient battles, a time and event in Quebec hockey history that still resonates across Canada to this day.

Montreal Gazette-- Molsons confirm bid for Habs
Globe and Mail-- Opening bids for Habs could exceed $400-million
CTV Montreal-- Molson family makes bid for Habs
Canadian Press-- Molson brothers and Quebecor table separate bids for Montreal Canadiens
Sun Newspapers-- Out with the old, in with the… older?

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