Montreal Canadiens fans on P.E.I. will be cheering loud for Game 3

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Nick Peardon says new fans of the Montreal Canadiens are welcome to cheer on the last Canadian team in the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)
Nick Peardon says new fans of the Montreal Canadiens are welcome to cheer on the last Canadian team in the Stanley Cup playoffs. (Brian Higgins/CBC - image credit)

In his room covered with Montreal Canadiens memorabilia in Cornwall, P.E.I., Nick Peardon gets ready for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup final.

His beloved Canadiens will be returning home where they will be taking on the Tampa Bay Lightning — last year's Stanley Cup champions — facing a 2-0 deficit in the series.

"First Stanley Cup final game in Montreal in 28 years," Peardon said. "Habs are going back home down 2-0 in the series so definitely a bit of a momentum swing."

Peardon was born the year that the Habs last won a Stanley Cup and describes himself as a lifelong fan. He and his twin brother have decked out one room in the house as a shrine to the team, even down to the proper deep red shade of paint.

Brian Higgins/CBC
Brian Higgins/CBC

For Friday night's game, he plans to watch at home so he can soak in every moment of it.

"This is something that I have always dreamed of," Peardon said.

"Certainly want to make the most of it and hopefully we can get another Stanley Cup back in Canada."

Businesses see playoff boost

Venues that have been showing the games have seen a boost in business through the playoffs.

At the Dooly's in Summerside, P.E.I., they are polishing the pitchers and warming up the big screen. Management said business has been booming during the team's successful playoff run.

"Oh it's great for us. There is lots of Montreal fans here in Summerside so we are expecting a big crowd tonight," said manager Karla Flynn.

Brian Higgins/CBC
Brian Higgins/CBC

Public health restrictions remain in place so only 100 people will be permitted inside Dooly's — allowed to take their masks off when seated.

Flynn said she expects a full house when the games are on.

"Everyone wants to come and watch the Canadian teams," Flynn said.

Showing off team pride

Sports gear retailers have been seeing more customers coming in to pick up jerseys and swag to show their support for the Canadian teams.

First with the Toronto Maple Leafs and now with the Montreal Canadiens making it to the final.

Brian Higgins/CBC
Brian Higgins/CBC

"It's a little bit of a frenzy, actually. Before the Habs, of course, Toronto were expected to do more, so I sold a lot of Toronto inventory," said Marco Thorne, owner of API Hockey Pros.

"Now with Montreal, what you see here is basically what I have left. I have sold a lot locally and online too."

He said online sales have been strong throughout the pandemic — especially for Canadian teams.

Some people have been showing their team pride at work — a way to tell who customers are cheering for based on their reaction to seeing the Montreal team gear on display.

Doug Adams at NAPA Auto Parts in Charlottetown said he first started putting decorations up when Montreal eliminated Toronto from the playoffs.

Brian Higgins/CBC
Brian Higgins/CBC

"Some people were kind of disgruntled coming in — some people were cheering — kind of getting it both ways," said Adams.

"You can tell the difference between who cheers for who kind of thing."

The puck will drop tonight and no matter how things go, Peardon said new fans are always welcome.

"For me, the more the merrier," Peardon said. "It's definitely something that's bringing a lot of people together as a country."

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