The National Hockey League team the Montreal Canadiens were founded in 1909 and are the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team in the world. Players and fans are often called the Habs, which is believed to be an abbreviation of less habitants, the informal name given in the 17th century to the original settlers of "New France." At its peak in 1712, the territory of New France, also known as the French North American Empire or Royal New France, extended from Newfoundland to the Canadian prairies and from Hudson Bay to the Gulf of Mexico, including all the Great Lakes of North America.
Other nicknames for the Canadiens include French monikers such as Les Canadiens, Le Bleu-Blanc-Rouge, La Sainte-Flanelle, Le Tricolore, Les Glorieux, and Le Grand Club.
Habs Might Be an Erroneous Nickname
The "Habs" nickname might have been the result of an error in 1924. The first man to refer to the team as the Habs was Tex Rickard, the found of the National Hockey League and the owner of Madison Square Garden. Rickard apparently told a reporter that the "H" in the logo on the Canadiens' jerseys stood for habitants, which is not true. The distinctive C-wrapped-around-H logo stands for the hockey team's official name, le Club de Hockey Canadien. The "H" stands for "hockey."
The Montreal Canadiens' current CHC logo was not adopted until 1914. Jerseys for the 1909-10 season were blue and featured a single white C. For its second season, the team had red jerseys featuring a green maple leaf with a C logo and green pants. The season before adopting their current look, the Canadiens wore a "barber pole" design jersey with red, white, and blue stripes. The team's logo was a white maple leaf reading "CAC," which stood for Club athlétique Canadien. To celebrate their centenary, the team players wore jerseys featuring these early logos during the 2009-10 season.
The Canadiens are the only existing hockey team to predate the founding of the NHL. The team has won the Stanley Cup more times than any other franchise, taking home the championship trophy on 24 occasions (most recently during the 1992-93 season). The Canadiens are one of the most successful sports teams in North America.
Although the team has been fondly known as the Habs for nearly 100 years, the Canadiens did not have a mascot until the 2004 NHL season when they adopted Youppi! as their official mascot. The orange furball was designed by Bonnie Erickson, a puppet artist known for her work with Jim Henson on the Muppets (she also designed Miss Piggy). Youppi! had been the longtime mascot for the Montreal Expos until the franchise moved to Washington, D.C., in 2004 and became the Washington Nationals. With the switch, Youppi! became the first mascot in a professional sport to change leagues.
The Canadiens' motto is Nos bras meurtris vous tendent le flambeau; à vous toujours de le porter bien haut, which means "To you from failing hands we throw the torch; be yours to hold it high." It is taken from the John McCrae poem "In Flanders Fields," a memorial to Canadian soldiers killed during the First World War.
The Montreal Canadiens, or, in French, Les Canadiens de Montréal, are colloquially known simply as the Habs. Habs is short for Les Habitants, which term dates back to the 17th century. In this context, “Habs” refers to the settlers of New France, now Quebec.
According to the Canadian Encyclopaedia, habitants were once an iconic symbol of French-speaking Quebec. They were once comparable to cowboys in the American West, or gauchos in Argentina, in terms of their cultural meaning.
“Canadians”, which is the word for most of the inhabitants of Canada as described in the English language, are not called “habs”. Les Canadiens (note the spelling as it is from the French language) are Montreal’s NHL hockey team and one of the “original six” teams in that league. As far as I know, they have usually had a majority of French-speaking players and their nickname, “les Habs” (note the capitalization as it’s a proper noun in English even as a borrowing from French) is short for “les Habitants”, or the French word for the settlers of New France, the precursor to the province of Quebec. As a sidebar, this explains why the “H” in the Canadiens’ logo does not stand for “Habs”:
Are people in Montreal Nice
It depends on your experience and where you come from. There are nice people and there are assholes like anywhere else, but the assholes hide among all other people so it takes time to notice.
Montreal is the second largest city in Canada, but it isn’t what I’d call a big city; I say this having worked in Toronto, NYC and Chicago and having traveled both for business and or pleasure to big cities, Beijing, Tokyo, Paris, Rome, Los Angeles, Bangkok, Singapore and many others.
There are nice people and some not so nice, like most anywhere if you stay long enough to notice. You’d better speak French if you want to live here. I do, live here and speak the lingo and because of that I am happy living here. I’m a US expat, though I was born in small town in this province, but most of my family is in the US. People here have less stress I find than in places I have lived, worked or visited and that explains why so many visitors and residents say and think Montrealers are nice. They have healthcare for one thing, and that makes many happier than most Americans, I know. They are a festive bunch, that also makes them appear nicer or friendlier and they are as liberal minded as you’ll find where I visited in Europe.
For a city the size of Montreal, you’d be surprised to know it has 4 universities, 2 French and 2 English, so there are lot’s of young people here and that’s a plus, it keeps the city lively.
Most people who live here, I find, are not looking to live elsewhere, especially if they came from elsewhere and that says much about life here. I don’t plan on leaving, probably ever, except to travel. My better half is new to the place and she doesn’t want to ever leave, she is smitten by the smiling faces of the people here. Oh yeah, they smile back at you here, like New Yorkers flip you the finger (and I heart NY).