“I will be a Canadien forever” – Bob Gainey
Seated next to team president Pierre Boivin and joined by new GM Pierre Gauthier, Gainey confirmed what had been speculated for most of the day.
“Pierre and I met in December and I let him know that I wouldn’t be signing an extension with the team in the summer when my contract was set to expire,” explained Gainey. “Nothing specific led to my decision. It came down to wanting to have more control of my time. It’s a lifestyle decision. I knew I wasn’t ready to do this for another four, five or six years.”
After thanking Boivin, the Gillett family, the Molson family, and everyone he’s worked with in his six-plus years, Gainey announced he would stay on as a special advisor to Gauthier.
“What I will remember most is being a part of this special time that saw us reach a new generation of young fans. Fans anxious to experience the same joy their parents and grandparent have felt over the years,” said Gainey. “That will always be very special to me.”
As for Gainey’s new-found free time, his immediate plans involve a remote and his couch.
“Well, I am looking forward to watching the Olympics in HDTV,” said Gainey with a smile. “I’ll be staying in touch with Pierre as well as the trade deadline approaches. I’m not sure what my long term plans will be. Who knows may be I will play the piano.”
While the day would not have been complete without such Gainey zingers which have been doled out with regularity since he took over as GM in June 2003, the always reflective former Habs captain spoke from the heart before leaving the podium to his successor.
“I’ve done my best and enjoyed my now over 25 years with the Canadiens,” said Gainey. “Being here has been an honor and a privilege. All of the special moments, the incredible nights, the jersey retirements including my own. It’s all been fabulous, but it is time to pass the torch.”
It’s no accident who that torch has been handed to by Gainey.
“I’m leaving the team I love the most to the man I trust the most.”
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com
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