posted on Oct, 19 2005 @ 05:46 PM
Say what you want about the Expos franchise, it is undeniable that this was a classy move by the Montreal Canadiens to ensure the Expos will not be
forgotten in the great city of Montreal.
Canadiens pay tribute to Expos
10/18/2005 10:53:27 PM
MONTREAL (CP) - Youppi!, the furry orange mascot, was an instant hit with the fans as his new team, the Canadiens, paid tribute to the departed
Montreal Expos on Tuesday night.
His first task was to help former Expos stars Gary Carter and Andre Dawson raise an Expos banner to the Bell Centre rafters.
The Canadiens announced last month they acquired the rights to Youppi!, but at the time, internet polls ran two-to-one against the storied team taking
on the long-time Expos mascot.
Thus far, his role was restricted to greeting fans at the entrance, but he made his first on-ice appearance before the Canadiens-Boston Bruins game on
The scoreboard showed Youppi! in full hockey gear and a red Canadiens jersey walking from the dressing room to the ice carrying a plastic stick and
oversized puck. A huge cheer arose when he stepped onto the ice and skated around the rink.
''It's nice that he's going from one sport to the next,'' Carter said of the mascot. ''We knew he would skate so we think he'll be a great
''The young fans will enjoy Youppi! And as Andre said, it's just a class act by the Canadiens to recognize the 36 years of the Expos' existence. It's
a sad time for us that they're no longer with us.''
The Expos banner in the team's original powder blue read: Montreal Expos 1969-2004 and carried the numbers of the team's four retired jerseys - No. 10
for both Dawson and Rusty Staub, No. 8 for Carter and No. 30 for Tim Raines.
The Expos, done in by a weak Canadian dollar, steep major league player salaries and low attendance, were moved to Washington, D.C., this year.
''The last few years, you could see it was inevitable, but as an ex-player here, you hated to see it happen,'' said Dawson, wearing a Canadiens
''Baseball is a business and they make moves in what they see is the best interests of the game, but for me, Montreal was my first stop. Montreal was
always special to me and it hurt me to see the team leave.''