by Cate Racher, Staff Writer/Copy Editor, All Habs Hockey Magazine

Photo by Angela Price.

This idea may be run into the ground, but it is no secret that this season has been an extremely disappointing one for both the Canadiens and Habs fans alike. When teams perform poorly or have an off-season, fans get understandably upset and are always looking for someone to blame and get angry with.

For some, their target may be Marc Bergevin, who many see as the entire reason for the Habs failure to secure a spot in the playoffs this year. For others, it boils down to the players themselves not playing as well as they could have. When this happens, most would direct this anger at the players and vent their frustrations solely towards them and the way that they performed; for a select few within the media and within the community of Habs fans, however, they have chosen to direct their anger, frustration, and attacks towards the families of players on the team.

And this has GOT TO STOP.

This may come as a shock to most people reading this that aren’t familiar with me yet, but I spend a great deal of time on the internet. And this year, a lot of my internet exploring has revolved around the Habs as they played through the season. As previously mentioned, people are extremely angry and upset about the way this season turned out, but one thing that I noticed is that there are many people online who are directing their anger towards the families of players such as Carey Price or Max Pacioretty.

This has been going on for years, it’s nothing new, but it’s something that I took a particular notice of when I saw people circulating rumours that Price’s subpar goaltending this season came down to the fact that he and his wife were divorcing. Not only that, but it was incorrectly reported that there were tensions between Carey and his wife Angela Price because Angela was rumoured to be pushing for Price’s failure so that Bergevin would trade Price out of Montreal.

It got so bad that Angela felt the need to dispel these rumours herself on her Instagram page earlier this year, assuring Habs fans that she was quite content in Montreal and wasn’t looking to leave. Last year I even saw people claiming that, when Price was playing poorly, it was only because Angela and their daughter Liv were in attendance at the game.

Before the trade deadline this year, rumours began swirling about apparent conflicts between Pacioretty and Bergevin would lead to a trade for Max before the cutoff. The media takes everything that Max says as captain and runs with it, creating rumours and making up stories to garner attention for their media organization. Perhaps most heartbreaking of all in regards to the Habs captain, however, is how worried he is about his kids going to school in Habs jerseys and the criticism that they could face because of how the team played this year.

“That’s unfair to myself and to my family.”

“You guys throw so much stuff at the wall you just hope things stick,” said Max Pacioretty.  “And just from the brief stuff I’ve seen, so much of it is inaccurate so you pick and choose what you want to tackle when we speak to you guys and that’s the truth. I mean, it’s just little stuff like that that you worry about your family.I can’t shoulder the whole thing. That’s unfair to myself and to my family.”

The all-star goalie and team captain are not the only ones whose families receive a great deal of criticism. Some on the internet have gone after Noah Juulsen‘s father, Neil Juulsen, for not maintaining an athletic physique despite the fact that he is not an athlete.

Now, this may not be clear to everyone, but Juulsen’s father is not a hockey player, he is not responsible for how his son or his son’s team plays hockey. The fact that there are people both online and in the media who are criticizing him for his physical appearance, despite these facts, is disgusting to me.

Noah Juulsen and his firefighter father, Neil. (Photo courtesy of nhl.com)

I’d like to take a brief second to remind everyone of the controversy last year surrounding former Habs defensemen Greg Pateryn and his wife, Stefani Pateryn. Before Pateryn was traded to Dallas for Jordie Bennthe internet was swirling with rumours that Stefani was frustrated that Nikita Nesterov was getting more ice time than her husband and that her Twitter likes and retweets were just a representation of how Greg himself was feeling that then-coach Michel Therrien wasn’t giving him adequate ice time. This began when Stefani retweeted the following comment from a Habs fan on Twitter and continued as she vented her frustrations online.

Photo courtesy of Hockey Feed.

Fans posting to the Habs sub-reddit were very quick to blame Pateryn’s trade on Stefani’s online comments and her overall negative attitude towards the French coaching staff on the team rather than on Pateryn’s abilities on the ice and his sportsmanship towards his fellow teammates.

Hockey wives have an incredibly difficult job – they are expected to take care of their families and their hockey player husbands/boyfriends and essentially forget their own identities in favour of the careers of their partners. It is completely understandable then that Stefani would be very frustrated with Greg’s treatment on and off the ice – their entire identity is essentially expected to revolve around their husbands – but she can hardly be “blamed” for Pateryn’s trade to Dallas. And frankly, it’s incredibly irresponsible journalism to suggest her attitude and her online activities were any part of the reason that Pateryn now plays for the Stars.

People within the media and fan communities alike need to learn that the families of players on their favourite teams have absolutely nothing to do with the team’s performance on the ice or their ability to secure a spot in the playoffs. The players themselves shoulder enough of the responsibility for what happens on the ice and they do not need to be worrying about what their playing could mean for their families too. Criticism of a team and the players on that team needs to stay on the ice and in the locker room where it belongs and should never, EVER, extend to a player’s home life or to their families.