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Where are they now ? Ralph Backstrom
MONTREAL | June 14th, 2013
Where are they now ? Ralph Backstrom
The Canadiens didn’t pile up 100 years of history without the blood,sweat and tears of the over 750 players to have ever worn the uniform. From the likes of Donald Audette to Zarley Zalapski, there are former Habs scattered all over the world. Although many hardcore Canadiens fans can rattle off the career accomplishments of hundreds of their old heroes, the question remains: what are these guys up to today? On the hot seat today: Ralph Backstrom.

Where do you live now?
I’ve been living in Windsor, CO, which is about an hour north of Denver for about 10 years now. I’m from Ontario but I moved to Colorado in the 70’s to take a coaching job at the University of Denver. My family and I decided to stay here since two of our kids are at UD.

What are you doing now?
I’m currently on the board of directors as an advisor for the Colorado Eagles of the East Coast Hockey League. We have an affiliation with the Winnipeg Jets. Up until 2007, I was the president and general manager of the team. I’ve always had a strong desire to stay involved in the game after my playing days and I’ve stayed involved for a little bit more than 50 years. I always told people that I never worked a day in my life because I loved being involved in hockey.

Are you still in touch with any former teammates?
Yeah I bump into them every once in a while. I saw Phil Goyette, Jean-Guy Talbot and Albert Langlois recently. It’s always nice to see the guys.

How many Canadiens games do you watch per year?
When I get a chance to watch them on TV, I take the time. We’re seeing more and more NHL games here in the United States. Every time I get a chance to catch a game and Montreal is playing, I certainly make sure to watch.

When was the last time you were in Montreal to watch a game?
It was in 2009 for the Centennial game. We had a beautiful weekend in Montreal. The game on the Friday night against the Bruins was great and we had a black tie affair the next day on the Bell Centre’s floor. It was first-class as everything is in Montreal. It was nice to see the old-timers I played with through the years.

Who is your favorite player on the current roster?
I like Carey Price. He’s a big time talent. Montreal has always had great goaltenders over the years. I think he’s going to become a real star.

Is there a game in particular from your career with the Canadiens that stands out the most?
I’ll always remember when we faced Boston in the semifinals of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in 1969. I scored the winning goal in overtime in the second game of the series at the Forum. My job that night was to check Phil Esposito and our coach Claude Ruel told me that it didn’t matter if I didn’t get a shot on goal, as long as Esposito was off the score sheet. That’s exactly what happened and as a bonus, I scored in overtime. That was a night I’ll always remember.

What is your favorite piece of Canadiens memorabilia that you own?
I was fortunate enough to be part of six Stanly Cup winning teams, and if I’m not mistaken, there are only nine other players in history who won
more than that. Just being part of that group is a big honor for me.

Where do you keep your Stanley Cup rings?
I keep all of them in my rec room at my place. Every once in a while I like going in there to reminisce.