Ducks’ Francois Beauchemin savors final game played in hometown
MONTREAL — Before he could take the ice at Bell Centre for what he is certain will be the final time, Francois Beauchemin had plenty of moments to think back to the first time.
Most of the cherished memories in a career full of them have come in three tours with the Ducks. But this one, though, came as a member of the Montreal Canadiens. The hallowed Canadiens, with banners of legendary names and their retired numbers won crowding the rafters. The many Stanley Cups won.
This was his team while growing up, like it is for generations of those within and around La Belle Ville – “The Beautiful City.” Les Habitants are Quebec’s team. And on Feb. 27, 2003, Beauchemin was a French-Canadian wearing the famed “CH” logo like the many legends once did.
“That day started where I was in Hamilton, Ontario playing for the Bulldogs,” Beauchemin said, talking about his American Hockey League team. “I got a call at 9 a.m. and they were saying two defensemen were sick so I had to drive to Toronto, get on a plane and fly to Montreal.
“And I got here around 1 in the afternoon. Got a quick bite to eat. Went to the hotel. I’m usually taking a nap but that day I couldn’t. Obviously I was too excited for the moment. I got to Bell Centre and we played Minny that night. And then I got sent back down the next morning.”
The Canadiens wore white at home back then instead of their red-and-blue combo. Beauchemin got his chance as an emergency recall because Patrick Traverse and Francois Bouillon were too ill to play. He remembered the 17-plus minutes he played and the hit he put a hit on Minnesota’s Marian Gaborik.
His team lost, 6-3. But that’s of no consequence nearly 15 […]