Major revelation regarding Bob Hartley and the Canadiens' head coaching position

Published February 16, 2023 at 1:04 PM

For some time now, Bob Hartley has been doing daily columns on BPM Sports. If his analysis and observations are always very interesting to listen to, his anecdotes are even more interesting.

This Thursday morning, the former head coach told us one of the most incredible ones. It was in 1997 when Bob was in the playoffs with the Hershey Bears in the AHL.

After eliminating the Philadelphia Phantoms, not without difficulty, Hartley's boss and Colorado Avalanche GM Pierre Lacroix comes down to see him to tell him some news.

He tells his employee that Rejean Houle wants to see him in Montreal. He even gives him two tickets, for Bob and his wife, to go back to the city. The reason: the CH head coach position is his! Wow!

While analyzing the tickets, Bob realizes that there is no return date. He understands that if he accepts the CH's offer, he will not be able to finish what he started with the Hershey Bears. That's all it took for him, who is not a quitter, to refuse the offer and stay with his team.

A week later, while in his hotel room and losing his second series 3-1, Bob saw on television that Alain Vigneault had been named head of the CH. In his mind, there was only one thing left to do: win the next game and get back in the series. His team did just that and won the last two games and the series. Bob would even win the Calder Cup, awarded to the AHL champions, a few weeks later...

His entry into the NHL was only delayed by one season when he was named head coach of the Colorado Avalanche for the 1998-99 season. We also all know what happened two years later, in the summer of 2001, when he won the Stanley Cup! One wonders if he would have won one with the CH if he had accepted their offer?

You can listen to this incredible story here. In this same clip, a little earlier, he even explains how and why he turned down the CH head coaching job that Marc Bergevin offered him years later, in 2012.

So he could have become head coach of the Montreal Canadiens twice!
February 16   |   112 answers
Major revelation regarding Bob Hartley and the Canadiens' head coaching position

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