What id the Maroons had stayed, and the Canadiens folded
How would the Quebec sports landscape have changed? How would the NHL have changed? Would the only difference be that the Maroons would be the most storied franchise in the NHL, would francophones have flocked to see them? Would young french hockey players have been just as eager to play for the Maroons as they were the Habs, and would they have stayed as long?
Its hard to hypothesize as to what would've happened if it had been the Habs folding in 1936 instead of the Maroons, it was a dark time for the team, with a very weak team. Toe Blake was starting his rookie year with the Maroons and if he hadn't been sold to the Habs for cash to keep the team afloat, could've formed a line with Hooley Smith and Babe Siebert. Later one perhaps Elmer Lach would've joined the Maroons just as he would the Canadiens. The real question is whether Maurice Richard would have contemplated joining an 'english' team, or just forgotten about hockey and gotten a factory job. If he joined the Maroons, perhaps other french players would have been encouraged to join the team as well and thus establish a balance that allowed english speaking players like Lach, Moore and Harvey to join Les Canadiens.
The French fact in hockey and in Montreal was well-established by the time the Maroons folded. If the Maroons had been left standing, I figure the only big difference would be that they'd be selling merchandise at the Bell Centre with a maroon M on it rather than the bleu, blanc, rouge and the CH.
Then, as now, the operation of a sports franchise was a business first and foremost. It would be very ill-advised to ignore local talent simply because they didn't speak the same language as management, particularly when that language i the one spoken by the vat majority of the folks the team would hope would sign on as fans, putting their bums in seats.
If both teams had tried to make a go of it? Interesting to speculate, especially since the NHL as a whole was on very shakey financial ground in those days. More than one franchise folded, some after relocating in the years leading up to what Baby Boomers insist on referring to as the "Original Six", a vanity that seems to indicate that everything began with the onset of their generation. Sorry, I digress.
A little off topic, but it would be interesting to see a list of all the HOFers from Quebec who DIDN'T sign with the Canadiens out of junior between the time that the Maroons folded in 1938, and the draft was instituted (1960-something i think).