Carabins: New Champions of Montreal

Montreal – The Montreal Carabins dramatic victory last Saturday in the Vanier Cup final had a domino effect not just at the campus, which celebrated the first football championship in its history, but also in the entire city.

Montrealers had not had the opportunity to celebrate a championship team since the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League (CFL) won the Grey Cup in 2010.  Supporters were quick to congratulate them on their achievement.

“We felt we were representing more than three University of Montreal establishments,” said Carabins Head Coach Danny Maciocia.  “I would even add that Quebec was behind us.”

“On the street, people stopped us and told us how much fun they had during the final. It was really intense and they were stressed. They lived this experience with us. This is a moment we will remember for the rest of our lives.”

A total of 22,649 people witnessed the Vanier Cup in the stands at Percival Molson Memorial Stadium, the home of the Alouettes. This season, the Alouettes had received more viewers on one occasion –  on October 13, when retiring Anthony Calvillo’s number 13 This unquestionably has been the most popular university sports event in Montreal’s history.

In addition, 688,000 fans were glued to their TV sets right up to the end of the game on ICI Radio-Canada Tele, good for 33% of market share.

Congratulations across campus

Since they raised the Dunsmore Cup in Quebec after their victory over the Laval Rouge et Or, the Carabins have been in the news and have aroused strong reactions. In particular, a few days before the Vanier Cup final, the University of Montreal rector, Guy Breton, sent an email to all in support of the Carabins and encouraging everyone on campus to go to the stadium to provide encouragement to the team. Last Friday, the entire campus wore Blue to support their team.

“The Carabins Vanier Cup victory has given a huge boost of pride to our community, but also to Montrealers who watched this game live,” said Breton. “In addition, throughout Canada, the University of Montreal is now associated with a success story.”

“I thank the entire team, including the coaching staff, for making us live these strong emotions and to brighten our community. The entire Polytechnique community is proud of the Carabins historic feat.  I am thinking of Mr. Robert Panet-Raymond, one of our distinguished alumni, former Carabins football player, a great admirer and philanthropist who was always ready to encourage the team and gave them the means to excel. Many of our students represent the sports scene and we support them by providing an academic framework suitable for their activities.”

Echoing the sentiments was HEC Montreal Director Michel Patry.

“HEC Montreal congratulates the Carabins and the coaches for the victory and their ability to inspire excellence,” said Patry. “Beyond the victory, the excitement generated by the Carabins journey reminds us of the importance of teamwork, tenacity and strong ties that bind our three institutions.”

Montreal Carabins 2014 Vanier Cup Champions Group Photo 1

A historic route 

With the staging of the 50 th Vanier Cup final, held in Montreal, the stars seemed to align for the Carabins to win their first ever Championship. This year also marks the 20th anniversary of the Carabins resurrection (1995).  However, it has always been a difficult path.

“It’s a magical moment,” said Manon SImard, the director of the Carabins Program of Sports Excellence since its inception. “This is a unique opportunity to celebrate the work of many people from across our campus, plus all partners also contribute to our success.”

“It is not easy for university sports take place in a large metropolis and counting on several professional sports teams. We felt that the community rallied behind us.”

After a crushing 40-13 defeat suffered at the hands of the Rouge et Or, the Carabins won seven consecutive games, including a 13-9 win over the Rouge et Or at CEPSUM at the conclusion of the regular season. After a convincing 40-13 victory over the Sherbrooke Vert & Or in the RSEQ semi-final, the Carabins had a date with history in Telus Laval University Stadium.

On a late dramatic drive, the Carabins handed the Rouge et Or their first loss in 10 yards on their own turf – 12-9 in overtime. The Carabins hosted the Uteck Bowl, against the Manitoba Bisons, Canada West Champions. The prevailed 29-26 with a key defensive play in the final minute of play.

The rest is history. Continuing, the longest streak of wins in their history, the Carabins earned a 20-19 victory over the McMaster Marauders, who were in their third national final in four seasons. A field goal blocked by Mathieu Girard in the final minute gave the entire Carabins community and Montrealers an opporunity to savor this triumph.

The previous Montreal team before last Saturday to hoist the Vanier Cup trophy was the McGill Redmen in 1987.

Photo credits: James Hajjar

With files from Mathieu Dauphinais


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