‘I’m a true fan now’: how newcomers found community through the Montreal Canadiens

Guy Lafleur is being remembered as a star player on a team that made many feel proud to call Montreal home — including those born elsewhere.

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

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

“I was like, ‘Wow.’ I felt it to my daughter de ella — she had n’t seen it yet — and I said, ‘Sad news, our hero has passed.’ ”

Her daughter, Natalya Scott-Sandy, was also taken back by the announcement.

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

Scott-Sandy has played hockey since she was a teen, becoming an avid Habs fan in the process. It’s a family tradition started by her mother de ella, who came to Canada from Jamaica in the 1980s.

Ivylin Scott says the Montreal Canadiens brought 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 true fan now.”

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

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

“You could not help but to fall in love with that team. And the superstar of that team, the best player of that team, but also the best player of the league, was Guy Lafleur.”

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

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

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