Niagara Falls lit for the Canadiens.

There’s been a fair bit of controversy around lighting up things in Ontario in Montreal Canadiens colo(u)rs; the Canadiens are the last remaining based-in-Canada team in the NHL playoffs, but they’re also a longstanding rival of the Toronto Maple Leafs (and just beat them in the first round). So that led to pushback when the federally owned-and-operated CN Tower was lit in Canadiens colors, including from Toronto mayor John Tory, who declared that the Toronto city sign would remain in white and blue (Leafs colors). The new and fun version of this controversy comes from Niagara Falls being lit in Canadiens colors Saturday and Sunday, which hasn’t seen as much Leafs’ pushback, but did see a surprising claim from the Russian consulate in Toronto that it was really about them (Saturday was also Russia Day):

That’s the official Russian consulate account, and it was retweeted by the official Russian embassy in Canada account, so this isn’t just a low-level thing. However, Russia Day was not the reason at all, with the Niagara Falls Tourism account confirming Sunday they did this for the Canadiens (their online schedule also had that listed):

And Janice Dickson of The Globe and Mail got some comment on this:

When asked about Russia’s tweet, Irene Knight, the public relations manager for Niagara Falls Tourism, said in an e-mail that the Falls were illuminated in support of the Montreal Canadiens, pointing to the message shared across social channels and also listed on the Falls’ illumination calendar.

So, either the Russian consulate didn’t know this wasn’t supposed to be about them, or they didn’t care and just claimed it anyway. In either case, it’s pretty funny that Canadiens’ lighting controversies are now creating international incidents.

[The Globe and Mail]; photo from Niagara Falls Tourism on Twitter]

About Andrew Bucholtz

Andrew Bucholtz has been covering sports media for Awful Announcing since 2012. He is also a staff writer for The Comeback. His previous work includes time at Yahoo! Sports Canada and Black Press.