Ill will now in past for Roy, Canadiens

MONTREAL --- Patrick Roy heard cheers again in Montreal, more than a decade after his bitter divorce from the Canadiens.


All the hard feelings were gone Saturday night, when the storied franchise retired the Hall of Fame goalie's famous No. 33.

"Tonight, I am coming home," Roy said to the raucous, sold-out crowd at the Bell Centre, when his number was raised to the rafters before Montreal played Boston.

Roy won the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP twice with the Canadiens, both in years that Montreal captured the Stanley Cup. The first came when Roy was a 20-year-old rookie in 1986 and the other seven years later when he won a record 10 games in overtime.

He retired from the NHL after the 2002-03 season, after a stint with the Colorado Avalanche that produced two more Stanley Cup titles. Roy still holds the career NHL marks for regular-season wins (551) and postseason victories (151).

In Montreal, he is as much remembered for his triumphs as he is for his ugly departure from the Canadiens. On Dec. 2, 1995, Roy was finally pulled from the net by coach Mario Tremblay in the second period after allowing nine goals in an 11-1 home loss to Detroit.

Seething as he stepped past Tremblay -- his former roommate -- on the bench, Roy turned around and strode over to team president Ronald Corey, who was seated in the front row. He told Corey that he had played his last game for the team.

He was traded to Colorado three days later.

That bitterness was in the past on Saturday night when Roy entered the arena through the front door and was followed through the hallways by a TV crew, that chronicled his arrival on the massive video scoreboard above the ice.

Stunned fans congratulated him as Roy walked past concession stands in the hallway before he was greeted by a standing ovation as he entered the arena.

Roy made it clear that he had turned the page on the events that led to his departure, "without saying goodbye the way I would have wished."

"Thank you especially to you, the fans, for being demanding, for expecting me to play every game like it was my last," Roy said.

Roy, inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2006, previously had his No. 33 retired by Colorado.

He is the sixth NHL player to receive such an honor from two teams.


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