The Ford Edge and the history of hockey in Montreal
Although Canada as a whole is caught in the frenzy of the NBA finals between the Toronto Raptors and the Golden State Warriors, the Stanley Cup final is also taking place at the same time. And what better way to remember the highlights of hockey history in Montreal with the Ford Edge Titanium? I visited some, but other places have disappeared. I start the vehicle thanks to the mobile app from Ford, having visited earlier this spring, the weather was a bit cooler than now and I liked the heated seats for that reason.
Victoria Square Rink, where Montreal’s hockey history begins
The Victoria Skating Rink opened in 1862 on Drummond Street near Dorchester (now called René-Lévesque). A walk for 2,000 people standing surrounded the rink. First lit by gas, the site then benefits from electricity because it is the first electrified building in Canada. The latter is used for figure skating and speed competitions, but it is hockey that makes it famous. March 3, 1875 is the first official (codified) match in hockey history. It is also where the first Stanley Cup final is held in 1893.
McGill University and the Foundations of the history of hockey in Montreal
The first place I come across is my Alma Mater where the first hockey rules were created by three McGill University graduates in 1877, 100 years before I was born. The seven articles they include have been grouped under the McGill ‘Rules’ designation. They determine the size of the playing area, the length of play, the number of players, specify the position and task of each player, set the duties and responsibilities of officials and make it mandatory to wear a uniform.
The First Canadiens
It was December 4, 1909 (we all remember the centennial year in 2009) that the Montreal Canadiens team was founded. Surprisingly, it is the son of a wealthy Ontario industrialist, John Ambrose O’Brien, who has the idea, with one of the directors of the Wanderers, to found a French-speaking club to commercially exploit the rivalry between Francophones and English speakers in Montreal. He asks a known player, Jean-Baptiste Laviolette (fJack Laviolette), former National and Shamrocks player (who also played in the United States), to recruit players to set up a team that will oppose the Wanderers. from Montreal. Laviolette has only one month to recruit the fifteen players who will form the first edition of the Montreal Canadiens. He will become general manager, captain, coach and team player!
The Jubilee Arena
Located between Malborough and Seaver Streets (today respectively Alphonse-D.-Roy and Omer-Ravary), in the Hochelaga district, the Jubilee Arena is the scene of the Canadiens’ first season, in 1909, before welcome back the Montreal organization between 1917-1919. The Jubilee Arena can seat 3,000 people. The Canadiens played their first home game on January 26, 1909. In front of a packed house, the Canadiens lost 8-4 to the Ottawa Senators. A fire of electrical origin destroys the building on April 23, 1919.
1910-1918: The Westmount Arena
The Westmount Arena was located at the corner of St. Catherine West and Wood Streets. The building was inaugurated on December 31, 1898 and belongs to a union known as the Montreal Arena Company. There are two elements that become permanent in all NHL venues: a fence, four feet high, and a fanfare. The Montreal squad won the Stanley Cup in March 1916 against the Portland Rosebuds. On January 2, 1918, a fire ravaged the building.
1917: Birth of the NHL (National Hockey League)
Down south of St. Catherine, right next to the Bell Center to see where the NHL was founded, I liked the fact that I could charge my phone while I was driving with the wireless charger. This is handy, but remember that you must have your sons to listen to your music because it is a must with the Bang & Olufsen sound system.
Few people know, but the Windsor Hotel, a hotel opened from 1878 to 1981 and located in Montreal, was often considered one of the first major hotels built in Canada. At that time, the owners of the National Hockey Association’s professional ice hockey franchises used to hold their meetings in the hotel lounges.
On November 26, 1917, the Presidents of the Montreal Canadiens, Montreal Wanderers, Ottawa Senators and Quebec Bulldogs met and decided to create a new league, the National Hockey League (NHL), to Exclude Toronto Blueshirts President Eddie Livingstone.
Today, the building still exists, but is dedicated to the organization of balls, business meetings and prestigious events of all kinds.
1920 – 1926: Mount Royal Arena
Starting in 1919-1920, Mount Royal Arena, located between St. Urbain and Clark Streets, presents local Canadiens games for at least five years, under an agreement between the Montreal organization and the Mount Royal Arena Co. On January 10, 1920, Newsy Lalonde scored six goals, and the Canadiens beat the St. Patricks of Toronto 14 to 7. Owners Tom Duggan, Hector Racine and Louis Gosselin decided to invest $ 40,000 to equip the arena with an artificial ice surface, but legal problems will encourage Canadiens to move to the Forum permanently. The building was destroyed on February 29, 2000 by a fire.
1924-1996: The Montreal Forum
Legendary temple in the history of hockey in Montreal where Maurice Richard, Jean Béliveau, Doug Harvey, Jacques Plante, Larry Robinson, Guy Lafleur and Patrick Roy of this world have won 22 of their 24 Stanley Cups (note: the other two have were won at the Westmount Arena in 1916 and the Mount Royal Arena in 1924).
Initially, the Forum was the home of the Montreal team, the Maroons. It was not until 1926 that Canadiens left the Mount Royal arena and made the Forum their permanent home. They share the building with the Maroons until the end of the 1938 season, the last in the history of this team.
The Forum has been the site of many renovations and improvements over time. But the most important works take place before the 1968-1969 season and allow to increase the number of seats to 18,200.
Today, the essence of the building remains in the leisures, but is devoted to the outings cinema (Cineplex), a center of games or the holding of diversified events. Interestingly, the focal point of the building is exactly where the center of the rink was at the time of the Stanley Cup conquests. The Forum remains a prime location to commemorate the history of the Montreal Canadiens. This is the last place Canadiens won a Stanley Cup, in 1993.
The Bell Centre, where the history of hockey in Montreal continues
It was imperative to make a stop at the Bell Centre for our tour on the history of hockey in Montreal. With the GPS offered in the Ford SYNC 3, it was easy to see which streets were blocked and the others open around this hockey temple. I am used to traveling by subway, this function was really useful to me. I was also lucky to see the game between the Canadiens and the Panthers. Thanks to Ford Canada.
The Bell Center is considered one of the most prestigious sports and entertainment venues in North America, and one of the busiest on the North American continent. The building bears this name since September 1, 2002, following a transaction between Molson and Bell Canada in February 2002.
The Molson Centre is officially inaugurated on March 16, 1996, as the Canadiens play their first game, winning by a score of 4 to 2 against the New York Rangers. On April 21, 1996, the Canadiens’ first playoff game was held at the Molson Center, again against the New York side.
The Bell Center site is full of history. You only have to visit Centennial Place, next to the Deloitte Tower, to admire the statues of the great players of the Montreal Canadiens, as well as the bricks of all those who have the CH tattooed on the heart.
1960 … The Ménick Barbershop is a landmark in the history of hockey in Montreal
Finally, the last place. With the reversing camera, it was easy for us to park in the small streets of Rosemont to take some pictures of the show, which was closed the day of our visit. The latter is a must for any player of the Montreal Canadiens or any hockey personality. For nearly 60 years now, this barber, a shopkeeper on Rue Masson, has seen the biggest legends of professional sports.
To enter Menick is to enter a unique world of its kind. A real museum: walls furnished with photos of Canadiens players, former Expos players, Quebec movie stars, and sports journalists, not to mention the artifacts of the former Forum.
And so ends our trip around the history of hockey in Montreal. Read our full test of the Ford Edge Titanium in RDPMAG Magazine Summer 2019 coming June 18! You can read our essay of the Ford tricks to be more Zen!