Bleu, Blanc, Maroon and Gold?

Befuddled Habs and ConU Admin Have a Few Things in Common

  • Graphic by Myriam Arseneault

At first glance, there isn’t much Concordia University and the Montreal Canadiens have in common, except perhaps their proximity to Lucien-L’Allier Metro.

Look closer, though, and a strangely near-perfect parallel emerges between the decline of the Habs and the undeniably shameful year that Concordia has endured.

Both are the laughing stock of their national counterparts. Both are grossly overpaying for unproductive personnel, and will continue to do so long after they are gone (see Gomez, Scott and Woodsworth, Judith). Both have been the subject of a lot of bad press over the past couple of months.

Now, however, both are covering their tracks, looking forward towards what they hope is a promising future that begins by cleaning house and starting fresh.

Montreal Canadiens owner Geoff Molson fired general manager Pierre Gauthier last week; over the summer, Concordia will see much of its Board of Governors turn over and likely a new president.

The Habs’ decline into mediocrity began long before Gauthier became GM in 2010. It began when Serge Savard and Jacques Demers were ousted four games into the 1995 season, replaced by two stiffs with no experience, Mario Tremblay and Réjean Houle.

They began the destruction of the once-mighty empire, going as far as trading one of the greatest goaltenders in the history of the NHL, Patrick Roy, for what may as well have been a six-pack of Molsons and a bag of pucks.

Concordia’s fall from grace also began long before this dismal scholastic session—once considered a major hive for student activism, the school has been on a downward spiral lately.

The Netanyahu riots in 2002 and huge payouts to departing administrators over the past few years tarnished the school’s image.

ConU’s kept up the mismanagement, slamming the door in the students’ faces with regards to the tuition hikes, unwilling to open any form of dialogue beyond telling striking students to step away from the classroom doors—or else.

Gauthier disconnected himself from the league’s most demanding but most passionate fanbase and often showed a lack of respect in handling players and public relations. The same applies to our Board of Governors, who consistently refused interview requests from the media to explain their actions.

But above all, both flat out sucked. It’s painful for the previous generation of Habs fans to watch their team fall from its perch as the class of the NHL, and it’s painful for the younger generations, who have never been granted the chance to shed tears of joy, to raise their arms in triumph, to watch their captain accept hockey’s holy grail and lift it high above his head.

It is also painful for Concordia students, past and present, to be shunned by those paid to create an environment committed to education and expression and watch the university value dollars and strict, controlling governance over open-minded dialogue.

This city has been in serious turmoil over the past year, and it seems to be culminating in an end-of-season and end-of-semester explosion. News of another head rolling in a seventh-floor Bell Centre office. Pepper spray being unleashed on unsuspecting teenagers.

It seems like there’s a different protest every other week—the only one we know we won’t see is another playoff riot.

Let’s hope we’ve reached the end of this drama. This is our school. This is our team. This is our city. It’s about time we make that something we can be proud of again.

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