Richard Sevney is one of the seven goalie players made by Montreal Canadens in the 1977 Amateur Project, but the only one to finish full-time in the National Hockey League.
He dressed for a NHL match for the first time during the playoffs in 1979, like Ken Dryden's back when Michel Larocco was injured. Although he has not played a single game, he has received his name engraved on the Stanley Cup.
The next year, Dryden's retirement triggered an open race to work with top scorers as Laroche and Dennis Herron split the positions, but Sevini made his debut in NHL later in the season when he was pulled by AHL Nova Scotia Voyagerus to replace Earl Lark .
On November 13, 1979, in a match against St. Louis Blues, Herron broke his clavicle for only eight minutes in the match and Seviny stepped on the ice for the first time. He immediately needed, often leaving his fold to play the puck behind his net to go to a defender; style of play unheard of at that time for Montreal. He stopped 25 shots, allowing only one goal in the 5-2 win for the Canadians.
Almost 40 years later, Sévigny still bears the T-shirt of Montreal Canadiens as a proud representative of the Canadiens Alumni Association, sharing the ice with some familiar faces from his early days, including Chris Nilan and Keith Acton.
Have you ever thought you would share the ice with these players 40 years later?
"In any case," Sevini said in an exclusive interview with Eyes of the reward, "When I was with Voyagerists, my only goal in Juniors was to play a half-professional year, I did not think I was talented enough for NHL. When you looked at the games on TV, it looked like a completely different world.
"I think I'm very happy to be able to play NHL in the 80s. Still being part of the hockey team that is the Canadians, and when I still see Chris and Keith, it's really special.
But in addition to playing with some of his teammates in the 1980s, Sevney plays with other generations of players who once wore the Canadiens T-shirt.
"For fans, [a Canadiens Alumni game] is a unique opportunity to see players of different ages, but for the players themselves it is also incredibly unique. For decades, the individual players in the team. I played in the early 1980s and found myself in the same team as players such as Patrice Bridzoua, Mark André Bergeron, Guillaume Lantendres. Time does not really exist in our team when we put a T-shirt on Canadiens. As if we had played with them last season.
"I have been a member of the Alumni team for 25 years and have seen many players go by. This is interesting for generations of fans. The younger fans will recognize players like Brisebois, [Mathieu] Dandenault, Latendresse and others, while for [my generation] Practically grandmothers and grandparents come to see us, 50-plus.
"This is a great privilege we have. It is an honor for us to wear a T-shirt to Montreal Canadians, but also to play in front of a crowd that has traveled to come and see us. He brings us back and makes us feel younger. My pleasure.
How do the alumni teams form?
"We usually play with about 10 players. If the boys register, that's because they want to play. For the last four years we played an average of about 45 games a year. Players actually like this because you can keep rhythm and it keeps players interesting. If we played one or two games per year, I think it would be much harder to get players to make trips and play games.
"I think we are the only NHL team that plays so many Alumni games. I think in Boston Bruins there are two alumni teams who play 20 matches each, but Canadians remain very popular throughout Canada.
"We have a group of about 30 players from which the office can choose. First they try to find young blood just to change the look of the team. We do not want to be the same team we used to be 10 years ago. And then we'll fill in with other players who can make the trip. Especially in Montreal there are many players working in the media, especially television. That's why it's harder for these players to make the trip west because they have contracts in Montreal.
– Boys like Bergeron, Latendresse and Brisebois may be the first to be asked. Nylan is an older player, his identity as a fighter comes to the fore and people can see it again. He is a good ambassador of the team.
"There will be more Francophone players in Quebec, and there will be more English-speaking players in Ontario. Canadians are a snapshot of Canada and people appreciate that there is a mix of both as part of the team. "
Canadians Alumni vs Maple leaves Graduates
The vast majority of Alumni games are usually fundraising for some local hockey organizations or charities. The next major event will be February 2, Montreal Canadians Alumni play against the Toronto Maple Leafs alumni at Belleville at the CAA Arena to raise funds for the Red Cross.
"I think all former Canadians and former Maple Leafs are huge ambassadors of current teams. People who are close to their teams do not always have the opportunity to personally meet their favorite players for security reasons or time constraints. Graduates are much more accessible when we go on tour, which is greatly appreciated by the fans who come to our games.
"We are very pleased to welcome John LeClair to the squad. I will meet him for the first time; I've never met him. He will make his debut with us in the game, and then make a trip to West Canada with us. Guy Lafler will be back behind the bench. He has not been able to join us during the last three seasons. Guy Carbono is also traveling despite all his television deals. Mike Weaver is one of the newer players joining Alumni. He played a weekend for us and was really happy with the experience.
"The important thing is to get new players to come and play with the team once to see how much fun we have to play together, and then we can call them again, and they get a little more accessible."
Difficulty joining new players
"Many of their alumni, when retiring from hockey, have retreated from hockey for a year or two. Others become businessmen or find media or hockey. They also have young families, so they will spend more time on them. At one point Karl Dickhuis was playing with us for two or three years, but then he had a new baby and his wife asked him to stay home. Unfortunately, he had to leave the team.
"Other players are simply not interested. They met the pro-hoke challenge and made their careers, and now they are not interested in departing for a weekend and 2,000 kilometers on a bus.
"So when new players join the team, we are very happy because there is a sequence that begins to form. Because if there are no new players in the year to join the team, it will no longer be viable. So far we have a good band that has been added over the past three years by former Canadians. "
However, there is a challenge on the horizon as there will be no purpose to help alumni, and disappointment is little heard by Sevini.
"Why do you think I'm still playing at age 61?" No one else wants to play. I played over 1000 games with the Canadiens Alumni team, and I missed just four games on the road. Eric Fisho has played several games. Jocelyn Tibou played another. But these boys are not regularly available. Frankly, on the day I decide to leave, I'm not sure the team will be able to continue, and I'm very serious when I say it. I had to play through injuries and illnesses because there are no other people willing to play.
But age does not seem to delay Seviny. He continues to show the style of play he has learned to play in his day by performing classic double-stacked stacks and expertly-tested matches almost reminded of how much a goal has changed over the years. – I play the style I know. I do not want to learn a butterfly style. "
One thing that Sévigny has adapted over time is better sealing and a more modern helmet. Its original helmet offered little in terms of practicality and safety.
– The old helmet was limited in any way. First in terms of visibility. Take two fingers and make a small circle of this width, you will see that there is a real limit to seeing the puck, especially when it was nearby. All gatekeepers have experienced this. And then there was a question of protection, and there was only a little padding on the forehead so if the punch hit us it was like striking the face. We were lucky that there were not many goalkeepers who had been hit by the 80s.
The game has really changed since then, whether it's better and lighter, but goalkeepers are huge athletes who get much better. In my days, we would just do the training because we did not have the coach the goalkeeper, so we did not learn much. We had to do with what we knew.
– That's why, when you look at the game today, this is the biggest change to the goal. This was a revolution in hockey in the 2000s. "
Alumni's games remain competitive
– That's always in our DNA. We will adjust to the level of our opponents when playing local teams, so the game against the Maple Leafs will be something special because both teams will want to win. No matter the age of the player, there is always a question of honor and rivalry. Pure, strong rivalry, yet rivalry. This is something special. All the games we played against NHL go back to our career. We still want to prove.
"This is a matter of respect. If people come out to see us, we owe them to do the best. If we started to catch the ice and did not work, the reputation of the team would have plunged. We want to give them a good show. "
As part of the Super Bowl Weekend celebration of the story between the Habs and the Leafs, we give out a jersey signed by the alumni.
(Note that the shirt has been signed in a previous game and can not be signed by all players of the upcoming game. Similarly, some players who are not listed can be on the shirt)
To enter the competition, leave a comment below, describing your favorite Canadens netminder scorer. The T-shirt winner will be randomly selected from all qualified comments in this publication as well as in the previous history of John LeClair and will be revealed in our Habs Headlines on Monday, January 28th.