Why Are The Montreal Canadians Called The Habs?
"Go Habs Go! Go Habs Go!"
On any given game at Montreal's Bell Center, you're going to hear that chant. "Hab" fans are passionate and loud. Admist the cheering, have you ever wondered why the Canadians are referred to as "The Habs"? Where did this affectionate nickname come from? This article will tell why the Montreal Canadians are called the Habs.
There are two possible explanations.
The most common notion is that "The Habs" is derived from "les habitants". "Les habitants" is the collequial name given to the settlers in New France (modern day Quebec) from France in the 17th century. In English, it could be translated into "those who live here". These New France settlers were engaged in a bitter struggle against Great Britain for many years. Eventually Great Britain was victorious, and modern-day Canada was established with Quebec (New France) as one of the provinces. "Les habitants" and "les habs" evoke a sense of pride and nostalgia in Quebec. They value the old days when they were seperated from Canada. Quebecers are very proud of their ancestory and language. The Montreal Canadians, being in Quebec, wish to appeal to this devotion among their Quebec fan-base. By nicknaming the team, "Les Habs", the owners have effectively dedicated the team to the French people. The people and province of Quebec, historically in great disagreement with the rest of Canada, appreciates this gesture. After all, the Montreal Canadians used to be made up of all Quebec hockey players. Clearly, the Quebec fan base wants the team to be as made-in-Quebec as it can be. For these reasons, the name Les Habs has stuck.
The second explanation, which the NHL seems to favor, is that "The Habs" came as a result of an error. Tex Richard, owner of Madison Square Garden, apparantly told a reporter that the H in the Montreal Canadian's logo (see picture) stands for "les habitants". Wrong. The H within the C in the logo actually refers to "Club de hockey Canadien", the original name of the Montreal Canadians. Regardless, since Richard's comment in 1924, the name has remained popular.
Thanks for reading! I hope you now understand the origins of les Habs. Please leave a comment.