Tim Raines dropped the puck and was honored at a Montreal Canadiens game
A big baseball weekend is ahead in Montreal as the Toronto Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates prepare for a two-day exhibition series at Olympic Stadium. However, 2017 Hall of Fame inductee and Montreal Expos legend Tim Raines decided to start the party a little early.
Raines spent 13 of his 23 seasons stealing bases left and right at Olympic Stadium, earning himself a permanent place in the hearts of Expos fans. So he was invited to drop the puck before the Thursday night hockey game at the Bell Centre between the Montreal Canadiens and the Florida Panthers.
Based on the ovation he received from the Montreal fans, it's clear that their love for "Rock" has never abated. The crowd even got a "Let's go Expos" chant going for old times' sake. Raines certainly appreciated the love.
I told the audience at the gala tonight that #Montreal fans gave me that extra turbo to do the things I did on a baseball field.— Tim Raines (@TimRaines30) March 31, 2017
Raines also had the opportunity to meet with Canadiens assistant coach Dan Lacroix (who happened to be born in Montreal on March 8, 1969, almost exactly one month before the Expos' first game), and the president and CEO of the Canadiens, co-owner Geoff Molson.
This was not the first time that Raines was honored at a Canadiens game, as he attended a ceremony in 2005 where a banner was hung from the Bell Center rafters commemorating the Expos and the retired numbers of their best players, including Raines' number 30. Raines will receive a further honor this weekend at Olympic Stadium with another ceremony, at which time Mayor Denis Coderre will give him a key to the city. This is all a prelude to the longest-awaited festivities of all for Raines: July 30th in Cooperstown, just about 260 miles away (or more fittingly, 420 kilometers away). It took him the maximum 10 years on the BBWAA ballot, but Raines will finally enter the Hall of Fame this summer.