Back in the early to mid-1960s, (expansion in 1967) when only the Original Six teams played in the NHL most families in Quebec and Ontario were rather predictable as to which team they would root for. At the same time, some families did eschew the provincial allegiance to root for another team, sometimes ‘the’ other team.
It was rare, but it happened.
Perhaps the source of that discord was deeply rooted in sibling rivalries, where no matter the topic, it would breed a natural competition. Maybe it is a natural occurrence between brothers and sisters separated by a few years and maybe – just maybe – it is egged on by a parent.
I grew up in Montreal in the 1960s, during the peak of the Leafs and Habs rivalry. I can attest the hatred of the Leafs was commonplace, just as I’m sure the reverse must have been true in Toronto; they despised everything Blue, Blanc et Rouge. Growing up during this period was a precious time when it came to taking in hockey’s greatest moments and players of the century.
My favorite team was, naturally, the Canadiens, so my father outfitted me in a Canadiens sweater and socks, and for some reason unknown today, he outfitted my brother in a Leafs sweater and socks. Looking back at the pictures from 1963 today, I can only conclude either my dad was stoking the sibling rivalry on purpose or perhaps the Leafs apparel was on sale in Montreal because no one was buying the stuff.
Either way, growing up in the 1960s, where it was commonplace to watch the Habs versus the Leafs in a playoff fight, it is great to see them back at each other now.