comes to hockey, both groups share a deep passion. English-Canadians proudly cheer for their Toronto Maple Leafs, while the French-French and English Canadians don t have much in common, but when it Canadians are devoted to their Montreal Canadiens. Indeed hockey can be considered Canada s national sport, but to the French, hockey was more then just a sport. When the Montreal Canadiens step onto the ice, the whole French community is right there behind them. The game of hockey is what help put Quebec on the map, and no one had a greater role in this, then Maurice The Rocket Richard.
Indeed he says he is just a hockey player, but in the eyes and hearts of French Canadians he is a cultural icon. The game of hockey and his great importance is magnified by the effect he has on the two boys in the stories: I m Dreaming of Rocket Richard and The Hockey Sweater and on French Canadians as a community. The boy in Clark Blaise s I m dreaming of Rocket Richard grows up in a poor family, which affects his thinking. He is somewhat ashamed of his situation, to him poverty was a blight you talked about only in secret (Blaise).
He needs someone to look up to, and Maurice Richard is perfect role model. He loves the Rocket, and the Montreal Canadiens because they are the best at what they do, and through them he can taste victory and a feel proud. When it comes to hockey the boy feels at home, a good example of this is when his cousins are riding their bikes, he feels embarrassed because he doesn t own one and thinks to himself, Give me ice, I thought, my stick and a puck and an open net (Blaise). To this character, Maurice Richard and hockey is used to escape reality. For the boy in Roch Carrier s The hockey sweater, hockey is the most important thing in his life. When he is at school h would prepare for the next hockey game (Carrier), and at church he asks God to help him play as well as Maurice Richard (Carrier).
The boy believes real battles were won on the skating rink (Carrier), and that the real leaders showed themselves on the skating rink (Carrier), and no one wins more battles or is a greater leader then Maurice The Rocket Richard. The Rocket is an idol, a hero, and a role model to the boy. He wants to be just like him, he proudly wears the Montreal Canadien sweater, ties his skates like him, and he even styles his hair like the Rocket. This boy belongs to a very close knit family of boys, who all share the same beliefs, and when he is forced to wear the Maple Leaf sweater, he is considered the enemy, in essence an English Canadian. For the French any victory against the English would be worth celebrating. In hockey they could feel victory in the grand sense.
The reason why hockey is so important to the French is because the rink is the stage where Maurice Richard wins many battles for them. At a time where hockey was controlled by the wealthy English, Maurice was the savior to the French. His rebellious attitude and the way he charges over his opponents made him a hero. French-Canadians see him as a cultural icon, his tenacity, willingness to stand up for himself give his people a sense of hope, his skills and leadership give them something to be proud of.
The two boys and French Canadians have a great leader in Maurice The Rocket Richard. He gives them hope, pride and someone to look up to. He will forever be remembered for his achievements on the ice and the way he proudly represents and stands up for his people. He made hockey a distinct part of the French-Canadian culture.