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Montréal’s healthy appetite for the Alouettes

Pro football in Montréal, both on and off the field, is typically far from boring. This year is no exception for the city’s Canadian Football League (CFL) franchise, the Montréal Alouettes, as the team hits the halfway point of the regular season and readies for a drive sure to satisfy football-hungry (and hungry football) fans. While the Als may be down in the overall CFL standings at the moment, the beauty of the Canadian game is that rebounding teams can remain in contention, so look for the Als to deliver on the promise of an exciting second half to the season. And the fun won’t just be on the field. In 2015, much of the focus off-field has been on the fans, with a number of new events and activities designed with the overall game-day experience in mind. Starting with stomachs. Football? Foodball! While home field Percival-Molson Stadium, nestled into the side of Mount Royal, provides for a dramatic setting complete with scenic views of the city, it doesn’t lend itself well to traditional NFL-style tailgate parties for the simple reason that there are no sprawling concrete lots in which to park your pickup. A good thing. It’s inspired a… / Read More →

Michael Sam signs with Montreal Alouettes in 2015

Football fans are excited about the Montréal Alouettes much-anticipated 2015 season, especially since the Canadian Football League team has signed international defensive end Michael Sam to a two-year deal, welcoming the openly-gay athlete in a city famed for embracing gay life and the city’s LGBT communities. In 2014 Sam became the first openly-gay football player in history to be drafted by a National Football League team. But after not being signed by an NFL franchise in 2015 – which many observers blame on homophobia – the Montréal Alouettes seized the moment and signed Sam, making history once again, as the first openly-gay athlete in the CFL. The pioneering athlete will play in the same city where black-civil-rights icon Jackie Robinson broke pro baseball’s colour barrier, with the Montreal Royals in 1946. When asked about comparisons to Robinson, Sam says, “I’m not trying to do anything historical, except help Montréal win some games. I have a responsibility to show respect for the game and handle myself the right way, carry myself the right way, so that future athletes gay or straight can be inspired by what I’m doing. I’ve been training and I’m ready to go.” Sam says he is happy… / Read More →

Montréal pro-sports season round-up

It’s no accident that Montréal is home to one of the most legendary professional sports franchises in the history of pro-sports, the Montréal Canadiens. Montréalers are passionate about being, well, Montréalers, and love for the city’s sports teams and annual competitive events – the Canadiens, Alouettes, Impact, Rogers Cup and more – is DNA-deep in the identity of the city’s inhabitants. It’s a love that’s going to see its full expression over an action-packed pro sports schedule in 2015. The National Hockey League’s Montréal Canadiens (or “Habs,” from the French word “habitants”) are always the biggest sports story in town at this time of the year simply because we’re in the final stretch of the regular season. In decades past, now is when the Habs Nation would normally break out in a rash of collective anxiety. Not this year. Against pre-season expectations, The Habs are currently alternating for top spot in the NHL’s Eastern Conference, in large part due to the next-level net minding efforts of Carey Price, who’s spent a good part of the season writing the book on Zen and the Art of Goaltending Greatness. And despite a recent lapse in scoring, and a Western Conference road trip… / Read More →

Sports in Montreal: the 2013 Montreal Alouettes

An interesting thing happened to professional football in Montreal in 1998: it was allowed to breathe. And almost as soon as the Montreal Alouettes inhaled high on the side of Mount Royal – a spectacular setting complete with scenic views of the city – away from the closed-in confines of the Olympic Stadium, their previous home, the people came. And when the people came, so did the wins…