Habs fans in the “drive for 25” reflect on 1993 Stanley Cup victory

Today, June 9th, marks exactly 25 years since the Montreal Canadiens won their last Stanley Cup.

It was a moment fans of the Montreal Canadiens would never forget – but a moment that past generations got accustomed to.

In 1993, the Habs had 23 Stanley Cup victories in the books.

Little did they know, however, that when the Canadiens beat the L.A. Kings in June of 1993, it would be the last time the team would hoist a Stanley Cup for a quarter century.

The Montreal Canadiens celebrate one of 23 Stanley Cup wins. (CTV Montreal)

Longtime hockey broadcaster Dick Irvin was in the dressing room when the Habs won their 24th – and last – cup.

“And if you’d have said to me ‘you’re not going to do this – or nobody’s going to do this for another25 years,’ I would have said ‘what are you talking about,’” Irvin explains. “This is the Montreal Canadiens!”

Vincent Damphousse was also there that night, as a young player who’d been traded to the Canadiens.

“And that whole year was probably the most fun I’ve had in my 18-year career, because I was playing in front of my parents, in front of my friends,” Damphousse recounts. “I was playing for the team I loved as a kid.”

Patrice Brisebois was only 22-years-old when his home team cried victory and won the Stanley Cup, a dream-come-true moment that made him a “winner for life,” he says.

Irvin, now 86, grew up watching the Canadiens win – his father, Dick Irvin Sr., coached the team to three Stanley Cup victories.

“I was at the game in 1953: the first Stanley Cup final ever televised,” Irvin says. “Not very often you get the chance to see your father in a Stanley Cup winning moment, you know, so that night is very clear to me.”

He has lots of vivid memories of the team’s glory days, but the team’s winning streak ended abruptly and never picked up again in the same way after 1993.

“You really think you’re going to win another one – maybe three and four – and it’s sad, because it never happened,” he explains.

 

So what’s changed?

Well – lots, actually. Especially the gradual expansion of the league: from six original teams, to 24 when the Habs won the cup in ’93, to over 30 today.

But with 25 years already gone by, and a dismal season behind them – have fans of the Canadiens lost hope?

At Mister Steerburger downtown, where the menu recalls the ’93 win, the walls are covered with photos of the Habs’ winning teams.

But they’re still hoping to add a few more.

When asked if he’s still loyal to the Habs, James Gaspar says he will be “to the bitter end.”

According to him, a five or six game win to start the season would near guarantee a shot at the Cup.

“I hope the fans in this city – my god, they’ve been faithful through all of what’s happened in the last 35 years – I hope they get rewarded sometime,” Gaspar adds.

In the “drive for 25,” Montrealers have had to learn that even in a fast-moving game like hockey, patience is a virtue.