‘I’m a real fan now’: How newcomers found community thanks to the Montreal Canadiens

Guy Lafleur is remembered as a star player on a team that made many people proud to live in Montreal, including those born elsewhere.

For Jamaican-born Montrealer and Canadiens fan Ivylin Scott, learning of Lafleur’s passing was a moment she won’t soon forget.

“I was listening [The Andrew Carter Morning Show]then he said, ‘I have a break from the news,’” she told CTV News.

“I was like, ‘Wow.’ I sent it to my daughter – she hadn’t seen it yet – and said, “Sad news, our hero has passed away.”

His daughter, Natalya Scott-Sandy, was also surprised by the announcement.

“I just went to get the photo and the DVD he signed for me, and just came back the moment I met him,” she said.

Scott-Sandy has been playing hockey since she was a teenager, becoming an avid Canadiens fan. It’s a family tradition started by his mother, who came to Canada from Jamaica in the 1980s.

Ivylin Scott says the Montreal Canadiens gave her a sense of belonging.

“I felt more like a real Canadian, you know? It’s a new culture for us, we don’t have that in Jamaica, so it’s really new. I’m really into it, I’m a real fan now.

Meeker Guerrier, sports analyst and presenter at Noovo, says his aunt had a similar experience when she moved from Haiti to Montreal in the 1970s.

“When you’re an immigrant and you move to a place where you want to fit in, you want to understand the culture and be part of the community,” he told CTV News. “So she started watching hockey, like any Quebecer, or any new Quebecer.

“You couldn’t help but fall in love with this team. And the superstar of this team, the best player on this team, but also the best player in the league, was Guy Lafleur.

For Scott-Sandy, who was born in Montreal, her introduction to hockey always gave her the opportunity to break down barriers in a predominantly white sport.

“You break down a lot of barriers, and it was fun, it was a community thing.”

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