The 100-year-old club kicked off the party on November 12, 2005, retiring Dickie Moore and Yvan Cournoyer’s legendary No. 12 in a ceremony in Montreal. Since then, fellow Hall-of-Famers Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion (5), Serge Savard (18), Ken Dryden (29), Larry Robinson (19), Bob Gainey (23) and Patrick Roy (33) also looked on as the jerseys they made famous were sent to the Bell Centre rafters.
The franchise’s great players weren’t the only ones recognized during the ongoing Centennial celebrations. On December 14, 2006, the Canadiens inaugurated “Builder’s Row” in the Bell Centre concourse, honoring the men behind the scenes for so many years in Montreal, including J. Ambrose O’Brien, William Northey, Leo Dandurand, Joseph Cattarinich, Louis Letourneau, Donat Raymond and Senator Hartland de Montraville Molson.
One year to the day before their 100th birthday, December 4, 2008, the Canadiens unveiled Centennial Plaza outside the Bell Centre. Featured at the corner of rue de la Gauchetiere and de la Montagne, Centennial Plaza pays tribute to the team’s storied history, highlighted by four bronze statues of superstars, Howie Morenz, Maurice Richard, Jean Beliveau and Guy Lafleur built upon thousands of bricks personalized by loyal Canadiens fans.
The Bell Centre played host to the 57th NHL All-Star Game on January 25, 2009, during a memorable weekend that saw Eastern Conference captain Alex Kovalev rise to the occasion by winning game MVP honors. All eyes were again on Montreal a few months later as the NHL Entry Draft made its return for the first time since 1992. The Canadiens celebrated the occasion by selecting hometown boy Louis Leblanc in the first round.
In this final homestretch to the Centennial, the feature film Pour toujours les Canadiens hits theaters today, while the Canadiens Hall of Fame will open its doors in January.
The Habs are the first NHL team to celebrate their 100th Anniversary. The pre-game ceremony will begin at 5:45 p.m., featuring an impressive array of former Canadiens stars. Join us as we blow out the candles in honor of our 100th birthweek.
François Parenteau is a writer for canadiens.com. Translated by Shauna Denis
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