Vegas Golden Knights forward Max Pacioretty was given a hero’s welcome Saturday in his first game back at Bell Centre after 10 seasons with the Montreal Canadiens.
“I obviously always really appreciate the support that I get from the fans here and I’ll remember that for a while,” Pacioretty said. “I really appreciate the support that I got. I’ve always had a great relationship with the fans and the city in general, so it really meant a lot to me.”
Pacioretty was selected by the Canadiens with the 22nd pick of the 2007 NHL Draft. He had five 30-goal seasons in Montreal. He was traded to the Golden Knights on Sept. 9.
“It’s emotional for him, obviously. Being drafted here, playing so many years, having a lot of success here, as well,” Canadiens forward Andrew Shaw said. “It’s always different coming back playing your former team but I think he enjoyed it. He was working hard and competing so hats off to him.”
Montreal coach Claude Julien only had Pacioretty for 1 1/2 seasons, but the veteran was captain during that time.
“You know, I was a year and a half with Max, but he was our captain here and I had lots of conversations with him. And I also realize what he’s done for this organization in the 10 years he’s been here. And there’s a time where you have to appreciate what a player has done,” Julien said. “I appreciated our players standing up afterwards and banging their sticks on the boards. They showed a lot of respect for Max and for us I think there’s no reason not to clap and appreciate the video for what he’s done here for this organization.”
NHL.com correspondent Sean Farrell contributed to this report.