The New Year is for a fresh start and with the way the Montreal Canadiens have been doing since their elimination from the Stanley Cup Finals, everyone needs to start fresh. And that includes the team’s fans. Some have been carrying a grudge against the organisation since June 29, 2016 and have hated Marc Bergevin since. That’s when he traded fan favourite P.K. Subban. Others have been their usual roller-coaster fans, up when they win, down when they lose.
So what better than the New Year to try to become better fans and make the atmosphere around hockey, around the Habs, a little bit more… endurable? For the occasion, I have come up with a list of New Year’s resolutions. Some are short term, others are longer term.
Resolutions for fans
Ease up on your expectations for the rest of this season. It shouldn’t be a shocker when I say that the Canadiens won’t make the playoffs. They should be expected to lose, based on many factors which includes the amount of injuries to key players, and the fact that they’re not playing for anything already. So why cry wolf when they don’t execute on the power play, or aren’t successful in killing penalties? Why get all uptight if they find ways to lose games? Expectations are not put on them by the team, they’re on us. We control that. That includes the coach by the way.
Give new management a chance. Bergevin is gone, whether you liked him or not. So everyone, rally behind new management, Jeff Gorton and his upcoming new General Manager. You know what? I can one hundred percent guarantee that they will make decisions and moves that you, as a fan, won’t like. It’s impossible to please everyone. They will do good things, but they will certainly make mistakes. Show me someone who doesn’t and I’ll show you a liar.
Lay off Jonathan Drouin just a bit. Just a few months ago, everyone was going public in supporting the young man when he told his story of mental health. Today, many people have gone right back to the public display of bashing that they were doing before. Don’t be an hypocrite. Poor mental health doesn’t go away. It’s okay not to be happy with his play. Be careful and thoughtful on how you express yourself out there.
Try to show a little bit more patience towards young prospects and players. While some players will have an immediate impact, they are few and far between. In general, it takes time to develop young players and for them to reach their full potential. For some, it will take 3-4 years in the AHL. Trust the system and the people in place. Because the team hasn’t won a Cup since 1993 is not their fault. It doesn’t change their timeline for development.
Skip over nonsense on social media. That’s often easier said than done, trust me. I spend my life debating if I should say something or keep it to myself. It’s particularly true when we read stuff that is either not true or doesn’t make any sense to us. By skipping, ignoring and not taking the bait from those trolls (that’s really what some of them are), you will contribute in making interactions with other fans a more positive experience. It’s okay to not have the last word. It’s okay to disagree on topics. It’s okay to mute or block people. Be the bigger man/woman.
At the end of every game, try to find three positives in that game. If you’re on Twitter or other social media, share them with fellow Habs’ fans. If you must, put three “not so positive” points, but always end with three positive ones. You will be pleasantly surprised about how you feel and how your fellow Habs’ fans will appreciate you doing that.
Ignore or unfollow negative reporters. We know who they are. It doesn’t matter the situation, some reporters or radio personalities feed on negativity and/or controversy. Some will even invent situations and stories if there isn’t enough out of it out there. Good reporters rely on their skills and good work to gain notoriety and respect. Others can’t compete with them. The only way they can get followship, readership, viewership or listenership is to use the platform they have been given to feed negativity. That’s how they get paid. If you don’t bite, some might eventually go away.
Last but not least, surround yourself with positivity. There are many positive people out there but if I had to suggest someone, I’d tell you to make sure to watch, subscribe and follow Habs Tonight. When former Canadiens’ Dale Weise created that platform, he stated being tired of the negativity in some of the media and wanted something that would tell the true story in a positive way. Dale is playing in Sweden right now and his time is tight, but he pinches in when he can, and he can rely on a great team carrying on what they call Habsitivity, on which I wrote about for them. I’ve recently joined their team as a co-host.
Happy New Year 2022
I don’t suspect that the Canadiens’ fan base will take this on and apply those resolutions, to be honest. But writing about it, sharing it, being aware of the behaviour might, just might, open up some eyes to the toxic participation some people have towards the team, towards the fan base. If a handful of people change just a little bit, it will make for a better place. Let’s face it… we’re all sick and tired of COVID, restrictions, pro and antivaxx, and everything about it. While we can’t control the pandemic (for the most part), let’s focus on what we can control. Our outlook is one of them.
So to you, dear reader, and to your loved ones, please accept my most sincere wishes of health (both physical and mental), love, peace and prosperity for the upcoming 2022. What does the New Year bring? Nothing less than 365 opportunities.