Skip to main content

Fans Samuel Forget, left, and Marc Lebangie cheer before the season opening NHL hockey game of the Montreal Canadiens against the Toronto Maple Leafs in Montreal, January 19, 2013.CHRISTINNE MUSCHI/Reuters

By now you know that the NHL's opening night made for boffo viewership numbers for CBC.

And if you don't, read about it here.

What you might not know is that the numbers in Quebec for RDS were even more impressive According to Francois Gagnon of La Presse (who is also an RDS contributor), the cable network drew a peak of 1.44 million eyeballs for Saturday's tilt between the Montreal Canadiens and Toronto Maple Leafs (by way of comparison the CBC broadcast, beamed into way more homes, drew 3.3 million).

That, gang, is a record for a regular-season game.

Fully 33 per cent of TV viewers in the province tuned in to watch a team that finished last in their conference last season, it was nearly triple the audience that watched the first game of the 2005-06 post-lockout season.

And lest anyone think Habs chauvinism is at play, the afternoon programming - Senators vs. Jets, plus set-piece shows Hockey 360 and l'Antichambre - made RDS the runaway ratings leader for the day and into the evening.

There's talk the network took a financial bath last season because of the woeful edition of the Habs, presumably some of the pent-up hockey demand will wipe away those losses.

Unless the Habs go into the tank again, of course.