Habs Nation is a rowdy bunch, especially at home at the Bell Center, but also when they travel in numbers to opposing arenas across the league. The mass of Habs fans infuriate and offend the natives of other towns while doing us proud with sheer numbers. Indeed, some road games feel a lot like home games (check any game in Florida, and even more so in the past couple of seasons, Uniondale).
However, there’s one behaviour in particular that grates on the nerves of both Habs fans taking in the game from home, and of hometown hosts.
You know them well, and you hate them. Whether its “Na na na na, hey hey hey – goodbye!” or “Olé Olé Olé”, there is no good time in a game to hear the hundreds or thousands of Habs fans chanting in unison, is there? I’ll admit, there are times when I cringe, once the collective pipes of the cheap seat choir get warmed up. But not all chants are created alike. They are two distinct songs indicating two separate emotions.
Na na na na, hey hey hey – goodbye
Of the two chants, this is the red-headed stepchild. It’s a cocky, arrogant, flippant chant meant to send the visitors out of town with their chins on their chests and tail between their legs. It’s mostly mean-spirited and completely ignores that:
1- What goes around, comes around
2- Nobody likes an ungracious winner
3- You look like a damn fool when you start it too early and the other team actually comes back to tie & win the game.
This chant should have been made extinct in the 80’s. It’s dumb and you almost always end up eating crow because of it. Stop it.
Olé Olé Olé
This is a different story entirely. Whether its a capacity crowd at the Bell Center, or a smattering of traveling Habs fans, this song only means one thing: “We are having a good time”. It happens early in games, it happens late in games and anywhere in between. The only time it doesn’t happen is when the Canadiens are losing – except in the instance of when they’re down by one goal in a highly entertaining back-and-forth match.
The NHL should be elated that Habs fans can lift the mood in a building on any given night. In Ottawa, Uniondale, Florida, New Jersey or any other building that more closely resembles a morgue than a sporting event worth spending hard-earned money on, this chant should be accepted and adopted in other markets. There’s nothing wrong with fans acknowledging that they are actually enjoying the on-ice product that they paid a small fortune to attend.
So there you have it. While you may be annoyed that Habs fans will make noise when not expected, or even in your own barn, not every chant is meant to grind your gears.