Are the Montreal Canadiens Cursed by the Retro Jerseys?
By Lauren Dym Contributor
For more than a month now, Montreal’s beloved Canadiens have felt the wrath of the retro jersey. A plight so catastrophic that they haven’t recorded a single win wearing the navy sweaters. The Habs started the season strong, dominating the leaderboard in high-scoring games, but the team’s gameplay took a turn on Thursday, February 4, when the Canadiens debuted the retro jersey resembling the Maple Leafs signature blue. Since then, every time the team wears the jersey, it results in a loss.
Superstitious behaviour in sports is a big part of fan culture. Most superfans believe that a team’s wins and losses can be attributed to superstitions and rituals. Michael, a second-year International Business Studies student, has always believed in sports rituals. He follows the classic “no shaving during the playoffs” and, if the Habs are playing well during a season game, he won’t switch seats. This is common behaviour for die-hard fans, just like wearing the same clothes you wore when the team won last.
Second-year Cinema and Communications student, Jackson, follows similar hockey rituals. Jackson says he’s always been superstitious when it comes to the Habs, but leaves rituals like eating the same meals at every game for “crazier fans”. Ryan, a second-year Commerce student, takes his superstitions very seriously. “If someone new enters the room and the Habs get scored on, that person has to leave and isn’t allowed back.” Fans will do anything to help their team win, even if it’s temporary banishment.
If you’ve been watching the Canadiens lately, you probably noticed that the Habs haven’t won a single game wearing the retro jerseys, yet they keep reappearing. Michael, Jackson and Ryan are all on the same page about this problem; they want the red jerseys back full time. “The Habs have always donned the red jersey. The retro ones are tampering with the team’s identity”, Jackson says. Ryan believes the players are just as displeased by the uniform change. “Seeing as athletes are even more superstitious than fans, the notion of a curse among the team could actually end up affecting their play.”
“It is only right to assume the jerseys are cursed,” says Michael, but he thinks there’s more to the story. Only winning two of their last ten games, the Canadiens face problems on and off the ice. A change in leadership was imperative for the team. With the recent firing of coach Claude Julien, Michael is hopeful the Canadiens will come back stronger. Eager for the classic red jerseys to return and pleased with the addition of a new coach, Dominique Ducharme, Michael, Jackson, and Ryan are optimistic the team will find their groove once again.
Editor’s Note: The curse has been lifted! The Habs are still wearing the blue jerseys and I still think they’re ugly, but the losing streak came to an end on March 20th when les Canadiens beat the Canucks. They might not be cursed, but I’d be happier if the Habs donned their usual red gear and left the retro jerseys in the past, where they belong.
~ Mia Kennedy, Sports Editor