Thursday, 12 July 2012

HABS-TOWN: "The Habs are in my blood...for real."

I had the pleasure of meetin Mike Obrand at the "Evening for Gary Carter" held at Hurley's in May. He's a funny dude, which I guess is how he earned his Twitter monicker "Habs Laughs"

Mike's been a  man about town in recent days. He appears frequently on Matthew Ross' TSN 990 program Game Points to share his David Letterman-styled "Tweet 10 List" about all things Habs. He's a frequent contributor to many Hab's related discussions on Twitter, and he maintains his "Habs Laughs" Blog pretty regularly. "Habs Laughs" is a comedic take on the Habs. Seriously.

So who is Mike Obrand? Why this obsession with all things Habs? We find out in the latest edition of HABS-TOWN.

What got you into hockey, more specifically the Habs?
The typical answer would be something along the lines of "being a Canadian means you're automatically a Hockey fan". That's probably true, but Hockey and the Habs are in my blood...for real. My Great Uncle is Irving Grundman, who was the GM of the Habs in the late 70s, and his brother, my late Grandfather Gerry was the VP of events at the forum. My family was always at the Forum for games, concerts, mame it. By the time I was born the connections to the team were severed but my parents were both huge Habs fans, my Dad has season tickets and I was at the forum all the time during my early years.

Irving Grundman was the GM of record for the Canadiens' 22nd Stanley Cup victory in 1979 - Where does he keep his ring? On display? On his hand? Hidden away? What would you give to have it for your very own?
He wears his ring on his hand. I'm not sure I would want it...I didn't win it.

Do you ever talk Hockey with your great Uncle? did he share any interesting stories with you?
Honestly I don't know him very well, we've only started talking recently actually. He's told me some stories about how things were back in the day, some tidbits about players but nothing crazy. I have yet to ask him about Wickenheiser. 

Do you remember your first Habs game? when was it? who took you?
I'm not sure if it was my first game, and I'm not sure if this is a memory or just a story my Dad told me but it was against the Blackhawks at the Forum, probably in 90-91. My Dad swears this is true: The Habs were down 2-1 going onto the 3rd and at the start of the period I stood up on my seat and started a Go Habs Go chant. It caught on and the Habd rallied to win 3-2. I can't find that game in the records so maybe he's lying to make me feel special...I don't know.

Do you have a favorite Habs player ever? if so, whom, and why?
My favorite all time Hab is Jean Beliveau. Without a doubt the epitome of class and playing ability. We need more Beliveaus. The perfect NHLer, the perfect Canadien.

You're not old enough to have seen Jean Beliveau play, so how can he be your favourite player? You must be talking more about the Man.
My favorite player growing up as a kid was Russ Courtnall. Loved his speed and energy.
A good story to go with that: I was really young and I went to get a name put on the back of a Habs jersey. I asked for Courtnall and they said that they couldn't do it because they didn't have any Rs. Disappointed, I asked for Shane Corson, my second favorite player. Amused, the clerk said that he couldn't do it because he didn't have any Rs. Annoyed, I threw my hands up in the air and said "Fine! Just give me Obrand!"

In that case who is your favourite player that you've been able to see play?
Today, my favorite player is Josh Gorges. I love his "team above all else" attitude. He's willing to do anything for the team and I'm a huge fan of that.

Where do you like to watch games?
I try to get the Bell Centre as often as I can but when I can't get there I'm perfectly happy wacthing on my couch. I'm not a fan of watching games at bars, too hard to catch the whole thing, to catch all the details.

Do you prefer to watch with guys? with girls? why?
I have no real preference...doesn't matter to me.

Do you have any pre-game rituals or in game superstitions?
I sacrifice a goat to the Hockey Gods before every game. My backyard is a mess but it's tradition....other than that I try to wear a Habs logo whenever I'm watching a game.

What's the best game you ever went to? what do you remember about it?
I used to work at the Bell Centre hawking credit cards for free gifts for MBNA. I was there for about 2 seasons...without a doubt the best game I've ever attended was the comeback against the Rangers. After that game they tightened up security and wouldn't let us, the employees, watch the games from the entrance tunnels. I quit.

Do you have any funny or interesting stories that are somehow related to the Habs?
I did a tour of the Bell Centre for a birthday party when I was really young. We saw Shane Corson in the parking lot and he came over to sign a few autographs and take some pictures. I gave him my pen to sign somethings and when he was done he walked away with the pen. Shane Corson stole my damn pen!

My favourite one is this one:
Remember a few years ago there were rumours that a Ryder for Jarrett Stoll deal was done? I started that.
When I was working at the Bell Centre two guys from Newfoundland came up to my booth and signed up for a card. They told me they were related to Ryder, that one of them was Ryder's older brother. His ID said Ryder so I believed him. He told me his brother texted him that he had been traded for Stoll. After the game I saw Ron McLean from CBC standing outside with a few other guys. I went up to him with a friend to say hi and we told him about what happened. Within seconds his buddies pull out their Blackberries and start typing away.

On the way home in the car we heard all the sports stations talking about it. Obviously the guy was full of shit. Oops.

What do you think of the hiring of Marc Bergevin and his moves so far?
I'm a fan. I'm not going to go on and on about all of his moves and hirings but I will say that his philosphy of "together" and his whole team aspect is very good thing for the Canadiens. Success starts from the top and trickles down to the ice. They're in good hands. Plus, he's got style.

With Free agency still going on, what do you think are the Habs biggest needs? Anyone specific you'd target to fill those needs?
I'm available...but have yet to receive a phone call.

For More from Mike Obrand, check him out @HabsLaughs on twitter


  1. HabsLaughs/ Mikey Obrand is the man!!! Congrats Bud!

  2. Way ta be brother!