Gainey’s No. 23 joins retired Habs legends

Updated Sunday 11:08 a.m.

Bob Gainey watches his banner rise to the rafters of the Bell Centre during Saturday’s number-retirement ceremony.
André Ringuette, NHLI via Getty Images

With his son, Stephen, and daughters Anna and Colleen at his side, along with members of his family, dear friends and many former teammates, Canadiens general manager Bob Gainey watched a banner bearing his name and his No. 23 pulled to the rafters of the Bell Centre at 6:53 p.m. Saturday night, an emotional and fitting tribute for the giant-hearted Hall of Famer, writes The Gazette’s Red Fisher.

Gainey, who skated onto the ice in uniform just before 6:30 p.m. to a rousing standing ovation that lasted nearly six minutes, is the 14th Canadien to be honoured with a number retirement.

Look for a photo gallery of the game at, where you’ll also find an audio slideshow of the pre-game tribute.

Gainey chose to speak on Friday about this ceremony. If you haven’t heard his comments, they’re here in audio form.

Link to a detailed biographical and statistical Legends of Hockey package by clicking here.

Here’s a fine piece at on Gainey’s first experience as an NHL coach with the 1990-91 Minnesota North Stars, which showed his promise in hockey off the ice.

Robert Lefebvre’s typically excellent post at his own blog features 23 links to Gainey stories.

Below is the cover of the program given to fans attending Saturday’s game.

And don’t forget to visit – and make a contribution to, if you can – the Gainey Foundation.

The cover of tonight’s souvenir Gainey number-retirement program.
Courtesy Manny Almela,


  1. A. Berke says:

    Since the GM’s need their office support staff i.e. the secretaries and other office workers etc., for such efforts, my guess is it’s difficult to have the support staff around on a Sunday. Maybe every one wants to rest once in a while. Otherwise, I don’t see why not.



    Ali B.

  2. A. Berke says:

    Great and classy ceremony for a very classy guy and thank you for the memories (as well as directing the team) Mr. Gainey.

    Unfortunately, the team did not show up last night much to everyone’s total disappointment. I hope that they will feel some shame and do better from here on.


    Ali B.

  3. N.B.habs fan says:

    Welcome aboard habsoloutly, what is the weather like there today,-10 here.

  4. LizardKing1967 says:

    Hey, you think it was hard to keep a dry eye in your living room? I was there at the Bell Centre. There was no such thing as a dry eye in the place. They could re-name it the “Scotties Forum” after last night. What an awsome, awsome ceremony. It was my 7 year-old daughter’s first time at a Canadiens game, and she wants to keep all the souvenirs, as well as her ticket stubb. I think she understood, and, maybe, appreciated it a little. I know I will never forget it.



  5. 24 Cups says:

    habsoloutly – Welcome to the site James – I noticed you joined up 20 minutes ago. By the way, your comment on this thread about Bob Gainey just happened to be number 23. That has to be a great omen!

    The Original 24 Cups

  6. 1010 says:

    Mr. Gainey: The memories are treasured. Thank you.

    GO HABS.

  7. Naila Jinnah says:

    It was covered in the pre-game show at 6:30. The Toronto puck drop was at 7pm. Viewers in Quebec got to see part of that (if I remember correctly) before the Montreal game started at 7:30.

  8. downeast hab says:

    Maybe a stupid question, but can a team make a trade on a weekend or only from Monday to Friday. you never see a trade on a weekend.

  9. NightRyder says:

    CBC in Vancouver showed part of the Gainey ceremony.

  10. theflower says:

    Very classy, from a classy guy. I agree guys, I was watching in my living room and how could you keep a dry eye watching that!!! Stellar career, humble hard working man. Young Habs need to learn from this. Let’s hope some of this rubs off on our players down the road!!!

  11. Sulemaan says:

    It was so nice to see those former players. How I’d love to see Gainey, Robinson, Jarvis, Carbonneau, Naslund in the colors again. What a terrific ceremony. (Too bad the team didn’t bother to show up for the ceremony.)

    FYI – You can see the retirement video highlights on

  12. WetCoast says:

    Not on the West Coast they didn’t – believe me I checked. It showed in the guide but the channel showed news then the Toronto game.

  13. Habifax says:

    Pure Class.

    Thanks for the thrills and memories Mr 23.

  14. habsgod says:

    congratulations mr.gainey!!that was an awesome ceremony!!nobody does them better than montreal!mr.gainey you are the epitomy of class,and hard work!!you deserved this so much!!what an honour!i’m sorry mr.gainey that cathy,and laura weren’t there to share it with you!they were there in spirit however!don’t ever think that your jersey doesn’t belong up there bob,you are truly one of the greats!and in the 70,and 80 you were the heart and soul of this team!it belongs up there with the other greats!

  15. WetCoast says:

    Thank you RDS for showing it. I cannot believe that CBC didn’t cover the ceremony – guess who they showed instead!

  16. GoalieT says:

    Hello all!
    Here’s wishing that Gainey’s big night would have ended in a more favourable outcome. But, let’s move on.

    I’m kind of new to commenting, but have been reading all your comments on here consistently for over a year already, so I feel like I know most of you already. I’ll try to be as regular a contributor as the rest of you are.

    Yesterday’s game, although frustrating to watch, made me realize that the problems that were having aren’t all that complex to fix. Firstly, our dear boy Carey. I think all that can be said is it wasn’t his night. The first goal, he played the shooter. Komi forgot to shoulder check, that’s all. You’ve got to keep that in mind when there’s a guy who rhymes with ‘Rick Nash’ is on the ice. I won’t even comment on the second goal, but I will say that I would put $50 down on me for saving that one. He let a bad one by. I’m just going to let Maxim quietly collect his thoughts on the third goal.

    We need a fired up goal crease atmosphere. Namely, we need a Huet-of-January to step up. I don’t really care who. Cristo, Carey, or even Halak should be given a shot at this consistently. Not one game or two.

    Bob, get SOMEONE. Hossa, Jokinen, I don’t care. I think either of these two on Koivu’s line might wake him up. I think trying that will give you two months to see if Koivu’s heart is in it here anymore. If not, maybe entertain a trade in the off-season for someone who will want to play beside the likes of a Hossa or a Jokinen? That, or give Ryder a chance to STICK to Saku’s line. Stop juggling (this means you Carbo). I personally like our coach, but make up your mind, dude!

    Goaltending and secondary scoring. I think we’re that close to making some noise. We’ll be okay. Give ‘er, boys!!

    Ultimate Die-Hard Since 1986.


  17. Athenian says:

    Congratulations Mr. Gainey. You’re one of the greats and you deserve to have your name and number placed up high on the rafters.

  18. martin says:

    great for Gainey. bad for our team. How is it that a team so good can be so bad? They stunk tonight, the shots on goal do not tell the story. What a shame for BOB. You would think the team would have some pride and show up on such a great nite. Thinking hey this could be me someday but noooooo.

  19. RH says:

    Actually, the CBC DID cover the ceremony. They covered the first couple of speeches, as well as Gainey’s and the raising of Gainey’s jersey, up to the rafters.

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.