To the truism that you can fill an arena by giving the customers a winning team, Montreal adds a proud local axiom. Capacity crowds pack into the Montreal Forum to watch Les Canadiens of the National Hockey League no matter how the Canadiens are doing. It has been that way for more than 10 years. A typical Forum audience—such as the one pictured on the opposite page, about to see a member of the Boston Bruins take a shot on Montreal Goalie Jacques Plante—is composed of 14,500 fans, including about 1,000 standees. Some are millionaires, others are small starry-eyed boys who dream of one day playing in the red-white-and-blue Canadien uniform. One and all, they come in the prayerful hope of seeing Montreal win, and four times in the past twelve seasons their team has managed to lead the league. For an explanation of why Montreal is again leading the league this season, see the following pages.
One of the traditions of hockey as played by the Montreal Canadiens is the imperative: "Fight." This means fight for every goal and, if necessary, fight: for individual and team honor against enemy skaters
Rocket Richard (9), famed Canadien right winger, comes flying across the goal mouth in a dazzling solo effort to score on New York Rangers' Gump Worsley. But before the Rocket can drill home a winner Worsley goes down to block as Ranger defenders skate in to clear the puck.
Jean Beliveau, Montreal center (red jersey), gets in a solid board-check against Rangers' Lou Fontinato.
Henri Richard (16) gets some needed assistance from big brother Maurice during fight with Fontinato as New York's Harry Howell (3) rushes into the battle.
Lou Fontinato (8), fiery Ranger defenseman, starts a punching duel with young Henri (Pocket Rocket) Richard, a big league rookie this year.