Habs Fan TV Montreal Canadiens

Habs Fan TV shows candid Montreal Canadiens fan perspectives across social media

With over 5 million views on YouTube and a social media following of over 100K, Alexander Rougas and Cédrik Séguin are getting some serious recognition with their interviews and hot takes on all things Habs.

Montreal Canadiens fans know all too well how clichéd and rehearsed post-game interviews from players and coaches can be sometimes. So why not watch unfiltered on-camera takes from their fellow Habs fans, instead? Habs Fan TV films streeters with fans (and sometimes haters and opposing teams’ fans) leaving the Bell Centre immediately after games have finished, to get their unfiltered opinions on the team and their performance that night. Some are relatively modest with their post-game thoughts while others are much louder — in other words, it’s a perfect snapshot of the Canadiens’ fanbase in general.

The channel currently has more than 7,000 YouTube subscribers, and their videos have been viewed more than five million times on the platform as of this writing. Habs Fan TV also boasts nearly 25,000 Instagram followers and almost 83,000 followers on TikTok (where they also have upwards of 5.3 million likes).

“The growth has been pretty crazy,” says Alexander Rougas, Habs Fan TV’s founder and co-host. “This year, it went to another level, because the players started watching. They started talking to us. It’s gotten to a point now where I think I feel pretty okay in saying that we’ve become a Habs fan reference for a lot of people.”

Rougas, 23, is a Laval native and former law student at Université de Montréal currently doing his bar exams. A lifelong Habs fan (he happened to be sitting next to Henri Richard during his first game attended as a child), Rougas saw fans cheering and celebrating outside during the Canadiens’ magical run to the Stanley Cup Final during the summer of 2021. The inspiration to start Habs Fan TV came to him soon thereafter.

“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very, very long time,” he continues. “I’ve always felt like the connection between the fans and the organization had been kind of waning over the last few years. For me, it became important — the finals just happened, and there’s no one there to come and get the fan reaction. There’s no one there to come and really give the fans a voice and give them their say on how everything went, to let them scream and shout and be positive.”

Alexander Rougas of Habs Fan TV at the NHL Draft in Nashville, June 28

With this in mind, Habs Fan TV was born. At first glance, the channel feels similar to the successful AFTV (formerly ArsenalFanTV) channel for Arsenal football fans, known for colourful personalities like the brash, London street slang-loving Troopz. Though that channel was a favourite of Rougas — who’s actually a Manchester United fan — in Sec 5, he stresses there are “inherent differences” between that channel and Habs Fan TV.

“It’s less necessarily based purely on the game,” he says. “We’re going to talk about the game — there’s an element of that. But I think a bigger reference to us wouldn’t be AFTV, it would be Sidetalk NYC. They gather big crowds. They have some fun, they make some noise, they dance. That’s the kind of vibe we’re aiming for. We’re trying to have a bit of the best of both worlds.

“I think it doesn’t do anyone any good for us to go ahead and speak negatively about the players. I think there’s more than enough negativity to go around [regarding the players], especially in the Montreal media. We try our best to stay on the right side of that. Obviously, (if) someone has a bad game, he has a bad game. If someone says something funny about it, we’re going to post it. But otherwise, the important thing for us is just to stay positive.”

Alongside co-host Cédrik Séguin and/or other recurring on-camera hosts, Rougas uses a cellphone to film Habs fans’ reactions outside the Bell Centre immediately after a home game. Finding fans willing to talk to them was initially difficult, but their profile started rising with the help of platforms like Instagram and TikTok — the latter platform having especially played a role in that.

“It’s quick. We make it quite intuitive. We get straight to the point. I think TikTok is kind of made for that,” he adds. “It’s made for seeing things that you wouldn’t see in normal life. When you see someone getting on his knees for a player, or you see someone rolling into the Bell Centre on rollerblades, it’s stuff you wouldn’t see… That’s why I try to keep my videos as short as possible, to keep the eyeballs on the videos.”

Some colourful personalities have been born as a result of the channel, including a British fan from London, whose Habs fandom began only recently. Two other prominent examples are the “Anti-Habs fan,” a Montrealer whose dislike of the Canadiens stems from his bitterness over never being selected as one of the kids skating with the flag pre-game; and Danick, a Habs-themed gold chain-sporting fan who screams, dances and yells dramatically into the mic after games to get the people around him fired up.

“He really knows his hockey,” says Rougas about Danick. “He follows everything. He knows his stuff. The fact that he decides to do dances instead of talking, it’s what he wants to do. But I know that he can probably do anything. The guy can have his own podcast, if he wants.”

In late February, Rougas and Séguin travelled to California to interview Habs fans during the team’s road trip in the sunshine state, a trip where they were both recognized by fans of California-based teams and were asked to take pictures with them. The trip was also when Rougas realized Habs Fan TV wasn’t going to simply be a casual endeavour for him.

“I kind of accepted that this wasn’t just going to be a little thing that I was doing for a week or a year,” he adds. “I think my friends understood that, too. I decided I needed a bit of a break, so I decided to go to California. I brought Cédrik. His mom came, too. We went to San Jose, L.A. and Anaheim. It’s cool being in a different building. (There are) a lot of Habs fans (in California), so you get to meet some people who are also doing this trip.”

Not only have they built friendships with people down there (with Séguin even receiving a stick in San Jose from Montreal-bred Sharks player Marc-Édouard Vlasic), Rougas and Séguin found themselves in the background of an American TV broadcast during a game between the Los Angeles Kings and St. Louis Blues. 

“We were making tons of noise. We were there with our Habs jerseys — we had no business putting on our Habs jerseys that day,” he says. “(Former Canadian women’s team goalie) Manon Rhèaume, she works for the L.A. Kings now. She saw us in the back, and she’s like, ‘What are they doing here? They’re from my corner!’ We took a picture (with her). She was like, ‘I couldn’t stop laughing, hearing you guys chanting all kinds of stuff.’

“We kind of put ourselves on the map in the American market. A lot of people from the L.A. Kings organization got to talk to us. They were like, ‘What are you guys doing? If ever you guys want to come back, you’re very much welcome.’ It’s good. To see the hockey world just outside of the Canadian market.”

As mentioned earlier, some actual Montreal Canadiens players and management staff have been interviewed by the channel. These include GM Kent Hughes, director of hockey ops Jeff Gorton, Juraj Slafkovsky, Rem Pitlick, Rafael Harvey-Pinard, Jonathan Kovacevic, and ex-Habs Chris Nilan, Gilbert Delorme, Steve Bégin and Mathieu Dandenault. Rapper FouKi has also been interviewed for the channel, as have billionaires Mitch Garber and Michael Andlauer and Habs journalists Arpon Basu and Eric Engels

One particularly notable clip involves former Cult MTL interviewee Michael Pezzetta — the latter of whom playfully ribbed Séguin for jokingly wearing a Sharks jersey at the Habs’ road game in San Jose. The fan favourite with the epic hair and ‘stache has been featured on the channel on several other occasions, and the clip with him in San Jose has been viewed more than 370,000 times on TikTok.

“A lot of members of the media say that he’s very generous (with them) and everything. But with us, he really went to another level,” says Rougas, who later told us he thinks all Habs players know of the channel but just won’t admit it. “He clearly watches the page in some way, shape or form.

“I have an association with him because [after] his first game in Montreal, I was there with my phone, and I interviewed him for the first time. This was technically his first postgame interview. He was outside with his family, and I grabbed him for two minutes and asked him the dumbest questions of all time. Like, really stupid questions. I think ever since then, he’s been watching.”

Feedback in general toward Habs Fan TV has largely been positive, and their presence on TikTok has even got non-Habs around the NHL paying attention. Anaheim Ducks star Trevor Zegras — a friend and former teammate of Cole Caufield — recognized Rougas and Séguin from their TikTok account while driving outside the Honda Center in Anaheim after the Ducks’ game hosting the Habs.

“That was quite a crazy moment,” Rougas says. “We know that our reach has probably gone beyond just Montreal… Whether that came from Cole Caufield sending him a few videos, I think that’s my most likely prediction, but you never know.”

Another NHLer to have discovered Habs Fan TV is Los Angeles Kings defenseman Sean Durzi, a longtime friend (and former OHL teammate) of Nick Suzuki. According to Rougas, it was Durzi who first tipped Suzuki off about Habs Fan TV.

“He recognized us, too,” he says. “He stopped his car and talked to us for a bit. He tells us, ‘Actually, no, Nick Suzuki didn’t show me the Habs Fan TV page, I showed it to him.’ It goes to show you that this thing is probably taking on a proportion of something much bigger than we even think.”

While in Los Angeles, Rougas and Séguin met former longtime Habs GM Marc Bergevin, who would only take a picture with the duo if they took off their Habs jerseys. “For whatever reason, he’s still kind of bitter about how his time in Montreal ended,” says Rougas. “I don’t know why he would be like that. I might not have been his biggest fan. But if you look at it objectively, he can really tell me, ‘Well, go screw yourself, because I brought you to the Stanley Cup Finals.’ No matter what happened, no matter how he got fired, he can stand up and say, ‘You know what? I did a good thing here.’ 

“When we went to meet him, we wanted to take a picture, and we had our Habs jerseys on. He’s like, ‘Take them off.’ We’re like, ‘Marc, why take it off? This is a huge part of your story. This was your biggest achievement as a GM.’ He’s like, ‘No, the page has been turned. We’re onto new things.’ Clearly, things didn’t end well for him, and he made me take off my jersey. I figured, ‘You still have to take the picture — we can’t meet Marc Bergevin and not take a picture with him.’”

Habs Fan TV has also gone up to Place Bell in Laval to interview fans after AHL Rocket games; in fact, our chat with Rougas took place the day after he’d stayed up until 1 or 2 a.m. editing a video filmed after the Rocket won 4–0 against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.

Rougas’s work with Habs Fan TV has led to him being recognized on the street, though he admits he’d never aspired to become famous prior to the channel’s inception. “A year and a half ago, I had zero followers,” he says. “I’d walk around the street, no one would know me. I’d walk around the Bell Centre, nobody would know me.

“Now, I get asked to sign Habs jerseys. I have to carry a Sharpie around. I’m mind-blown. I’ll go out somewhere and people will come up to me and say, ‘Can I have a picture?’ It’s insane. With hard work and dedication, I think anyone can become famous. Anyone can bring value to this world, they just need to find what it is. For me, it was the Habs.” 

Alexander Rougas and Cédrik Séguin of Habs Fan TV with Vincent Lecavalier and Kent Hughes in Nashville

If running this channel has taught Rougas anything about the Habs’ fanbase he didn’t previously know, it’s that fans are far more patient with a rebuild than he’d expected. “A few years back, I feel like there would’ve been the biggest riots outside the Bell Centre if they’d had two seasons back to back like this,” he says. 

“People don’t give enough credit to how smart Canadiens fans are in terms of hockey. They’ve been waiting for this rebuild. Some of them don’t want to see a rebuild because they saw 10 Stanley Cups in their lifetime, so they just can’t understand why people are happy at this moment. But what they don’t understand is this is the moment where things are going to go up. It can’t get lower than this. It just can’t… I’m itching for the first playoff run that we’re going to have where we’re going to be outside with the fans.”

As far as where Habs Fan TV goes from here, Rougas says the intention will be to continue growing the channel and its content. This includes possible further interactions with players, pending the Canadiens organization’s approval, as well as hosting live streams and starting a podcast. But his long-term goals for the channel are even bigger.

“I want Habs Fan TV to become the reference for not just the Canadiens, but in hockey,” he says. “I want all the teams to be watching what we’re doing. I want all the other players to be like, ‘I saw Habs Fan TV talk about one of our players.’ The goal is for it to become a reference for everyone to look and say ‘What are the Habs doing?’” ■

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