The fires, the fans and the unfazed coach when the Canadiens won their 23rd Cup

Montreal Canadiens’ captain Bob Gainey carries the Stanley Cup around the ice after the team’s win over the Calgary Flames in Calgary on May 24, 1986. (Dave Buston/Canadian Press)

It would have been hard to escape the news that the Montreal Canadiens had won yet another Stanley Cup.

Back in 1986, the storied hockey club won its 23rd Stanley Cup during a Saturday night game in Calgary and some of its fans back home went wild in the streets of Montreal.

The Montreal police were busier than they expected to be after the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 1986. (The National/CBC Archives)

They looted stores and lit a huge bonfire — and that was before the victory parade on the Monday, which was similarly rowdy.

The police were on hand as Montreal’s Stanley Cup parade took place in 1986. 2:11

“The police tried, but they just couldn’t control the mob,” the CBC’s Wendy Mesley reported, as video of drunken fans and a sweaty, shirtless Patrick Roy high-fiving those fans at the victory parade was played on The National

“The most frightening moments came at the end of the parade, in front of the Forum,” Mesley added. “The barricades were thrown down. Police had to fight to keep control.”

Patrick Roy is seen high-fiving fans during the victory parade in Montreal after the Canadiens won the Stanley Cup in 1986. (The National/CBC Archives)

Room for improvement?

Earlier in the day, Jean Perron, the team’s rookie coach, seemed unfazed by the fanfare and the ruckus, just two days after the Canadiens took hockey’s top trophy.

Jean Perron talks about the expectations he had for the Canadiens ahead of their Stanley Cup-winning season. 1:34

“Next year, we’ll be looking forward to having a better season overall,” said Perron, seemingly all business when speaking to CBC’s Midday.

“The regular season is … where you show to the people that you have a good hockey club. If you go in the playoffs and you play as well as you did in the regular season, you should go a long way.”

Perron noted his Stanley Cup-winning squad had not won its division title — something he hoped to change in the year to come.

‘I won’t do that’

Jean Perron is jokingly asked if he should retire after winning the Stanley Cup in his rookie season as a coach. 1:15

Midday co-host Peter Downie jokingly asked Perron if he should consider retirement, so that he could go out on top.

“I should retire right now and be the most successful coach in playoffs history,” Perron said with a smirk, before turning serious again.

“But I won’t do that,” he added. “I like challenge and we’ll have a great one next year.”

Challenge, he’d get, but not the same accompanying success. The team made the playoffs in each of the next two years, but didn’t win another cup under Perron, who resigned from the job after the 1987-88 season.

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