Relive great sports moments in Montréal (from home)

Tourisme Montréal

Montréal is a city that loves its sports, from the major leagues to the Olympics and from amateur competitions to edgy urban sports festivals. Here’s a look back at some of the most memorable moments in sports in Montréal – and trust us, there’s sure to be more where these came from.

Nadia Comăneci’s perfect 10s

There’s plenty of iconic moments (not to mention architectural wonders) from the 1976 Montréal Summer Olympic Games, but none so dear in the hearts of sports fans as Romanian Nadia Comăneci’s gasp-worthy perfect 10s.

Gilles Villeneuve takes the trophy

In his first Formula 1 Grand Prix du Canada in 1978, local hero Gilles Villeneuve pulled ahead of the pack on the new Circuit Île Notre-Dame (since re-named the Circuit Gilles-Villeneuve), beating the previous Canadian record of a 10th place by George Eaton 8 years previously. Vroom!

Sugar Ray Leonard vs. Roberto Durán at the Olympic Stadium

Billed as "The Brawl in Montréal", the legendary boxing match between Sugar Ray Leonard and Roberto Durán was held on June 20, 1980 at the Olympic Stadium. After 15 hard-fought rounds, Duran won the WBC welterweight title by defeating Sugar Ray Leonard by unanimous decision.

Jackie Robinson breaks the colour barrier with the Montreal Royals

Jackie Robinson is remembered in American history books as the player who broke the colour barrier in Major League Baseball in 1947. But what many fans may not know is that Robinson was embraced by Montréal fans a year earlier when he played for the Montreal Royals, a farm team for the Brooklyn Dodgers. After a "horrendous" experience spring training camp in Florida, Jackie and his family were warmly welcomed by neighbours and baseball fans alike. “The atmosphere in Montréal was so positive, we felt it was a good omen for Jack to play well,” said Jackie’s wife, Rachel Robinson.

The Montreal Expos first home game in 1969

The Montreal Expos, the first Canadian major league baseball team, played their first home game at the Jarry Park Stadium on April 14, 1969. It was the first MLB game played outside of the U.S. and the Expos enjoyed a surprise win against the St. Louis Cardinals.

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Montréal bids adieu to the Expos

After almost 3,000 games and a 36-year history in Montréal, the Expos played their final game at the Olympic Stadium. A sad day for sports lovers, but in jerseys, caps and other memorabilia, the team lives on in the city’s hearts.

Montréal wins the Stanley Cup in 1993

The year the Montréal Canadiens won their 24th Stanley Cup, they were a team that seemed driven by destiny. The arrival of head coach Jacques Demers and the unstoppable goaltender Patrick Roy paved the way to the glorious victory against the Los Angeles Kings on June 9, 1993. The match was the last Stanley Cup Final series played in the Montréal Forum, and the last time Wayne Gretzky – “the Great One” – would compete in finals.

Maurice Richard says goodbye to the Montréal Forum in 1996

The true definition of a local legend, the Montréal Canadiens’ Maurice “Rocket” Richard received a moving seven-minute standing ovation on March 11, 1996, marking the last game at the Montréal Forum – itself home to 24 Stanley Cup championships. You might want to have a tissue close at hand for this one.

The return of Saku Koivu in 2002

In one of the most moving sports moments in the history of Montréal, the city rose to its feet in a nine-minute standing ovation for the return of the Montréal Canadiens team captain Saku Koivu on April 9, 2002, after missing 79 games during treatment for non-Hodgkins lymphoma. That night grew sweeter as Koivu led the Canadiens to victory – grabbing their first spot in the playoffs in four years.

Woody gets wet

At the 2007 Presidents Cup at the Royal Montréal Golf Club, golfer Woody “Aquaman” Austin proved the adage that winners never quit – even when they fall face-first into the water.

Charles Hamelin’s crowning achievement

In 2015, after postponing retirement for one more year, Montréaler Charles Hamelin sped to victory as the overall world champion in short track speed skating at the Maurice Richard Arena in front of an ecstatic hometown crowd. If that’s not going out on a high note, we don’t know what is.

Denis Shapovalov’s surprise win at the Rogers Cup

In 2017, 18-year-old Canadian Denis Shapovalov beat world no. 1 Rafael Nadal at the Rogers Cup, stunning tennis fans the world over. It’s safe to say Nadal was stunned too.

Nathan Zsombor-Murray’s golden birthday

Taking home the gold in synchronized diving at the 2018 FINA Diving World Series alongside his partner Meaghan Benfeito, Nathan Zsombor-Murray not only marked his 15th birthday in home waters, but staked a claim on 2020 Olympic gold in Tokyo. Now that’s a lot to celebrate.

Yoland Cabot’s one heck of a catch!

Setting the crowd wild, Yoland Cabot of the AUDL’s Montréal Royal ultimate Frisbee team, pulled off a killer catch with style, at a home opener no less.

The Outgames come out in Montréal

In front of thousands of LGBTQ+ athletes and 40,000 spectators at the Olympic Stadium, the first World Outgames opening ceremonies kicked off with performances from k.d. lang, Cirque du Soleil and the legendary Martha Wash on July 26, 2006. Equal sports and party, it was a night to remember!

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