The Montreal Canadiens have been crowned a lot of things in their illustrious history, but now they can officially take ownership of THN.com’s first-ever logo title.
Sure, the 100th anniversary of the legendary equipe is nice, but we think this season will forever be remembered for yet another remarkable run through a tournament.
There was no Patrick Roy or Ken Dryden to drive the engine this time, however; just a distinct red, blue and white ‘C’ with an ‘H’ lovingly installed in the middle.
While popular wisdom often claims the ‘H’ stands for Habitantes, the facts prove otherwise. True, the Montreal players use that as a moniker, often shortened to ‘Habs,’ but the history of the logo dates back to 1917, when the NHL played its first season and one of the teams from Montreal (the one not named the Wanderers) officially changed its club name from Club Athletique Canadien to Club de Hockey Canadien.
With that minor change, a new logo was needed. The Montrealers had a template for their new vision, as the old look featured a red ‘C’ with an ‘A’ in the center, to represent the “Athletique” portion of the name. The switch was elementary.
And while the dimensions, borders and outlines changed over the years (the modern logo came into existence in 1953), the ‘CH’ has been a beacon for success in hockey for nearly a century.
So it really should be no surprise that Montreal emerged as champion of our logo tournament. Although the Canadiens were ranked behind the Chicago Blackhawks and Detroit Red Wings in our initial NHL rankings, they were certainly no underdogs given the broad appeal and fan base of the Montrealers.
Coasting through the preliminaries and the pool stage, Montreal then entered the tournament bracket stage. And once again, as the team has done in so many Stanley Cup showdowns, it took on all comers.
It would be no easy road for the Canadiens; first-round opponent Boston College was the No. 1 seed in the Hockey East rankings and breezed through its conference pool. Similarly, the University of North Dakota blew away the competition in the WCHA, but could not best the Habs.
In an Original Six battle of the titans, Montreal took on Detroit in the semifinal, where the pride of Lower Canada once again came out on top. This set up an unlikely final.
The Rimouski Oceanic, pride of the Quebec League, had scratched and clawed its way past a host of tough competition, from the very game Gwinnett Gladiators of the ECHL to an earthshaking upset over the Chicago Blackhawks in the quarterfinal.
The semifinal pitted the Oceanic against the ECHL’s newest franchise, the expansion Ontario Reign of California, who had consistently mobilized their new fan base to cash in droves of votes at each stage. But the Reign would end when Rimouski used a tidal wave of its own, catapulting itself into an all-Quebec final, where the Canadiens would ultimately prevail 61 percent to 39 percent.
It was a great summer for all of us at logo-loving THN.com, but now a champion has been crowned and we turn our attention to the beginning of the NHL’s regular season. Some teams have already made remarkable runs thanks to our tourney; now it’s time to see if they can do it on the ice.
Until next summer, when we’ll likely stir up another fun debate, congratulations, Montreal.