OWEN SOUND, ON. — David vs. Goliath; Coyote vs. the Roadrunner; Coke vs. Pepsi; or even science vs. religion are some important rivalries, but who is the Montreal Canadiens’ greatest rival? I reached out to hockey fans for the answer. Let’s take a look at how they responded.
@CaitlynGolem habs/bruins because the leafs haven't been competitive or a threat for years. Always bad blood with the bruins.
— Andrew Fransky (@1luvmyhabs) August 29, 2015
@CaitlynGolem living half hour from Toronto it'll always be Habs/Leafs for me. Too many friends are Leaf fans.
— Wes Hitchcock (@hitch_cocky) August 28, 2015
Hockey games set a big stage for those partaking in it. Playing in Montreal, with the history in the building, sets an even bigger stage. That being said, when Toronto or Boston are in the Bell Centre, the atmosphere is untouchable, but which of the two match ups is the greater rivalry? I asked hockey fans, Jacob Combs (Washington Capitals fan) and David Sherman (Habs fan); here’s what they said:
Being a hockey fan and respecting the game, you likely enjoy a good rivalry. Each team seems to have its own rivals, but in regards to the Canadiens, who is your favourite rivalry? Habs/Bruins or Habs/Leafs? Why?
David shared, “Growing up watching Hockey Night in Canada, I was quick to appreciate the Habs/Leafs rivalry. I had a high school teacher (Aquinas Institute of Rochester) who had earlier taught at St. Mike’s in Toronto and actually knew Tim Horton, Dave Keon and Don Cherry among others when they were kids. I fell in love with the Montreal legacy so my teacher and I always had our own rivalry. When the Habs beat Boston in the first round in 1971, that cemented my love of the Habs.”
Jacob explained, “I think both are two of the best rivalries in the game. The Bruins and Habs have such a history in the playoffs but I’m going to go with the Leafs and Habs because they are the two original Canadian teams and they both represent not only different cities but different cultures and languages. They’ve also played in so many playoff series and both have own plenty of cups. The games I look forward to the most that aren’t Caps games are the Saturday night Hockey Night in Canada games between Montreal and Toronto. The Bell Centre and the ACC are two of the best buildings in the league and the atmosphere is even better when they play each other.”
Looking back now, would you say that the people in your life and forming your own rivalries were the reason you favour the Habs/Leafs match up rather than it necessarily being based on the clubs’ history?
David agreed right away saying, “that’s true. My teacher and I remained close friends until he passed in 2008. Plus living in Buffalo, it was easier to follow Toronto.”
It seemed to be the consensus of the two people that I interviewed that the Montreal/Toronto match up is the best in the game, but I don’t think that’s the case. The Bruins and Habs have faced each other more times than any other two teams in the history of the NHL. This is part of the reason it is considered, “one of the greatest rivalries in sports.”
Depending on where you live or if you know fans of certain teams, it could create a stronger rivalry for you between two teams, but overall Boston and Montreal are the greatest rivalry in all of hockey.