Montreal Canadiens Habs Michael Pezzetta interview

An interview with Habs beast and hockey hair hero Michael Pezzetta

We spoke to the Canadiens rookie for the Best of MTL issue about his personal Montreal faves.

If we’re going to interview any newly minted local legend for this year’s Best of MTL issue, who better than Michael Pezzetta?

The gloriously curly-haired, moustachioed Toronto native has broken through as a consistent figure on this year’s Montreal Canadiens team, and his feisty, energetic playing style has quickly made the 24-year-old a fan favourite in his rookie season as a Hab. So what’s going on in his head, behind that luscious mane? And which parts of the city he plays in define Montreal for him?

I caught up with Pezzetta via Zoom while he’d been serving a two-game suspension, asking him which parts of Montreal life are among his favourites (with a little help from his girlfriend, Mireille Boutin). Here’s what he had to tell us about his favourite local people, places and things.

Favourite Montreal restaurants: “I do eat a lot of Italian food, because I like eating Italian before game days. I like la Medusa and Moretti. When I was in Laval [playing for the AHL’s Rocket], there’s a place called Kitchen 73. I’d go there a lot for some Italian food, and especially for breakfast… I love Souvlaki Bar — for the price, you get so much food. It’s so good. For all-you-can-eat sushi, there’s a place called Taiyo Sushi. It’s lights out, by far the best all-you-can-eat sushi that I’ve had in Montreal, or maybe even in Toronto.”

Favourite Montreal resto for takeout: “I love Mandy’s. I get the vegan protein power bowl. (asks girlfriend Mireille) Is it vegan, or is it vegetarian? (she responds with “veggie protein power bowl”) The veggie protein power bowl! I get that all the time. Once I find something I like, I kind of just eat the same thing. I will happily order the same thing from Mandy’s every time. I definitely order from there a lot. I like to switch it up and try different things, but Mandy’s is definitely a staple.

Favourite Montreal poutine resto: “I do like poutine. I don’t eat it very often. For Poutine Week, me and my girlfriend went to la Banquise, and it was awesome. Then there’s a place in Laval called Cali, a fried chicken restaurant. They have a really good poutine, too.”

Favourite music genres, and if he’s a fan of any Montreal artists: “I listen to a hodgepodge of everything, like whatever’s on the radio, or whatever shows up on my phone. For games, I mostly like listening to mashups and stuff like that — a bunch of songs all mixed together. I like country, rap, pretty much everything. As for Montreal artists, there was this one song that kept coming on the radio, and I kind of love it. “Ctrl + Alt + Del” by Rêve. I’m pretty sure she’s from Montreal. It’s kind of a banger.”

Michael Pezzetta Montreal Canadiens Habs NHL
Michael Pezzetta, Nov. 2021

Favourite Montreal clothing store: “Probably (the French sporting goods franchise) Decathlon. I know that’s probably a weird one, it’s not some boutique clothing store. But me and my girlfriend do a lot of hiking. They have some solid things, and they’re not crazy expensive. It’s good for outdoor activities. They’re not from Montreal, but they opened up here first in Canada.”

Favourite Montreal neighbourhood: “Mile End. It’s kind of out of the way, so I’m not sure I would live there — it’d be a pain to have an extra 20 minutes to drive over to Brossard (for practice) every day. But I really like it there. Griffintown’s super cool, too, and I like going to the Old Port and walking around. If I was looking for a place next year, Griffintown is where I’d probably look. But if I lived here and didn’t have to travel to the South Shore, I’d live in Mile End.”

Favourite Montreal street: “I like walking around in the Old Port, the main street there. I’m terrible with street names — you give me a landmark, I know how to get there. Obviously Ste-Catherine is nice, though it’s busy. But I like walking around the Old Port by the water, though I guess that’d be Griffintown. We actually just came back from a walk there, so we walk there quite a bit. Parc Avenue, I guess — that’s where we lived last year, and we’d be on there a lot.”

Best part of Montreal for Instagram: “It’s got to be the Old Port. It looks like Europe — a lot of good spots there… We’ve definitely been taking some cool photos in the Old Port. Mont-Royal Park is super, super nice. You can get some good photos there. It’s nice when you go up top and look over the city.”

Favourite Montreal business: “It’s a restaurant, but I’ve got to shout out Kitchen 73. When I was in Laval, I’d always go there every off day we had. I’d go there for brunch with some of the guys. Rob (Mancini), the owner there, he’s become like family. I talk to him all the time, I go to see him whenever I can, because I’m living in Montreal now, but I love their breakfast. When all my friends come here, we always go there.”

Favourite Montreal bar: “Pub Saint Pierre, in the Old Port. It’s a chill, cool spot. I’d never had beef tartare before, it’s something that seemed like, ‘Why would anyone eat raw beef like this?.’ Two years ago, I had it, because someone I was eating there with ordered it. I was like, ‘Wow, this is actually amazing.’ I couldn’t remember the place or the name for the last two years. Obviously, last year with COVID, we couldn’t go anywhere. But this year, I was like, ‘I know there’s this place in the Old Port, and I know it’s awesome.’ Then, finally, we found it again. That’s probably my go-to spot. All the guys on the team like it, too.”

Favourite Montreal celeb: “I met GSP (Georges St-Pierre) at Medusa. I thought that was the coolest thing, so I’ll say him. I think he’s super cool. I follow him on Instagram. I love his message, and I was obviously a big fan of his when he was fighting in the UFC. He’s a legend.”

Favourite Montreal sports personality (including one of his teammates, if he wants): “I’ll go with Gally (Brendan Gallagher). He’s a legend here. I love that he’s super vocal, and he’ll say what he’s thinking. His tweets always give me a good laugh. He’s a legend, and it’s cool to play with him every day.” ■

This article was originally published in the May 2022 issue of Cult MTL.

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