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Identity and sport: young French Canadians and the Montreal Canadiens hockey club

André Richelieu (Marketing Department, Laval University, Quebec, Canada)
Bernard Korai (Marketing Department, Laval University, Quebec, Canada)

Sport, Business and Management

ISSN: 2042-678X

Article publication date: 13 July 2012



The purpose of this paper is to analyse the cultural impact and the importance of the Montreal Canadiens hockey club for its francophone fans, as well as to define to which extent young French Canadians (“Quebecers”) associate themselves with the team as a part of their identity building process.


The authors have chosen an exploratory qualitative research. The paper first proceeded with four semi‐directed group discussions (120 people). Then the authors conducted individual interviews from a distinct sample group of 35 students. All respondents were between 18‐25 years old.


The associations of the identity form indelible memories that remain present in the heart of young French Canadians. The Montreal Canadiens appear to be an entity strongly tied to Francophone Quebec that both feeds and is fed by the team.

Research limitations/implications

Admittedly, looking at the underlying motivations of the adolescents, it comes back to exploring the very subjective domains of the respondents’ personalities.

Practical implications

Innovative marketing strategies in an experiential framework should be a priority to favour the appropriation of a sports team and its brand by young fans.


This paper underlines the importance of culture, identity and symbolism while building a sports team brand.



Richelieu, A. and Korai, B. (2012), "Identity and sport: young French Canadians and the Montreal Canadiens hockey club", Sport, Business and Management, Vol. 2 No. 2, pp. 127-136.



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