I received an email this morning from Matt Baker; really a terrific story that must be shared.
Here is how Matt remembers the Canadiens’ 1993 Stanley Cup victory, won 20 years ago tonight. He was there.
First and foremost, thanks for your work. Living in Nashville, I’d be much less involved with the Canadiens if I didn’t have your articles and your Twitter presence. Your tweet this morning about the Habs’ last Cup win coming 20 years ago reminded me of a great story.
In the summer of 1993 I was a senior at the University of New Hampshire, one semester shy of graduating. The fraternity I belonged to was almost all Bruins fans, save for myself and one other guy, who were diehard Habs fans.
We watched gleefully that summer as the Canadiens started to put away the Kings. The morning of Game 5, my friend came to me and said, “Let’s go to Game 5 tonight and watch Montreal win the Cup.” I took about two seconds to reply – absolutely.
Being students at UNH, the Montreal road trip was standard (this would be a good time to remind you of the difference in drinking ages). We of course had no tickets, but being young and foolish, this did not deter us. We each took out about $200 US from our bank accounts (a good amount of money back in the day) and by 10 am we were off to Montreal.
About 4 1/2 hours after leaving Durham, we made our way into the city, parked, and sought out to find a scalper. It did not take long. My friend Nick, who had a hockey player’s physique, handled the talking. The scalper had only standing room only tickets in our price range, which he would sell to us for $100 US, total.
We couldn’t believe our luck! We handed over the money, got the tickets, and celebrated knowing we were actually going to be in the building for Game 5! We went to Peel Pub for a beer or two, and then headed to the Forum, where other Standing Room only fans were lined up.
While in line, we made small talk with other Habs fans. Then, something terrible happened. Someone saw our tickets, and the look on their face belied trouble. They looked up slowly at us and said, “I’m sorry, but you bought tickets to Game 7”.
We were as angry as could be. Devastated. Here we were, maybe two hours from game time, and we had been duped into buying tickets for a game that was not likely to be played. I wanted to cut our losses, head back to the bar.
Nick wanted to find the scalper and “demand” proper tickets (which I was pretty sure was not a good idea). Someone else in line overheard us bemoaning the situation, and told us that we should try to go in, anyhow. “There is a massive rush once they open the doors. The ticket takers are pretty old and don’t pay much attention. You could get in. And if not, you haven’t lost anything, really.”
We decided to try. I’ll never forget the moment leading up to handing over our bogus tickets to the ticket taker. My heart was pounding, and I was so nervous we would be denied. It was truly a chaotic scene as people streamed in and screamed their heads off.
Within moments we were in front of the ticket taker. We handed our tickets over, he ripped them, and WE WERE IN. I could not believe it – it worked! We ran to the top level of the Forum, though I don’t think I could feel my legs. We screamed with excitement.
After we got a spot, Nick held our place, and I went and called my parents back in New Hampshire – “Hey Dad, guess where I am? The Montreal Forum! I’m about to watch Game 5!”
The rest, as you know, is history. There were so many other funny and scary things that happened on our adventure to Montreal. But we won. We won that Cup, and I was given the memory of a lifetime.
I’ve attached a picture of the “bad” ticket. I still have it, of course.