The Montreal Forum
Painting - Oil On Canvas
The Montreal Forum circa 1960 was the place to watch the Montreal Canadians play hockey against the other great teams of the NHL.
The Montreal Forum (French: Le Forum de Montreal) was an indoor arena located in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Called "the most storied building in hockey history" by Sporting News, it was home of the National Hockey League's Montreal Maroons from 1924 to 1938 and the Montreal Canadiens from 1926 to 1996. The Forum was built by the Canadian Arena Company in 159 days.
Located at the northeast corner of Atwater and Ste-Catherine West (Metro Atwater), the building was historically significant as it was home to 24 Stanley Cup championships (22 of the Canadiens and two of the Montreal Maroons, for whom the arena was originally built). It was also home to the Montreal Roadrunners and Montreal Junior Canadiens.
The Forum opened on November 29, 1924 at a total cost of $1,500,000 ($20 million in 2012 dollars) with an original seating capacity of 9,300. It underwent two renovations, in 1949 and 1968. When the Forum closed in 1996 it had a capacity of 17,959, which included approximately 1,600 in standing room.
By the time of the 1968 renovations, a centre-hung digital scoreclock, designed by the Day Sign Company of Toronto and similar to those that would be installed in the 1970s at Boston Garden and Chicago Stadium, had been installed. A new centre-hung scoreclock, designed by Daktronics, was installed in the mid-1980s and contained on each side a color matrix board.
The idea to build the Forum in 1923 is credited to Sir Edward Beattie, president of the Canadian Pacific railway. At the suggestion of Senator Donat Raymond, William Northey developed a plan for a 12,500 seat capacity rink. Plans were scaled back for financial reasons to a rink of 9,300 seats. Even at the reduced size, the rink could not immediately find financing. The Forum would eventually be financed by H. L. Timmins. The site selected was the site of a roller skating rink named the Forum, and the name was kept. The site had previously been the site of an outdoor ice hockey rink, used by Frank and Lester Patrick, Art Ross and Russell Bowie as youths.
While hosting the Canadiens and Maroons on Thursdays and Saturdays, the Forum also hosted the Quebec Senior Hockey League, featuring the Montreal Victorias, Montreal Royals and the Montreal Canadiens amateur team on Wednesdays and Sundays. The Quebec Junior Hockey League played on Monday nights, the Bank League on Tuesdays and the Railways and Telephone League played on Friday nights
The Montreal Forum hosted Memorial Cup games in 1950, 1968, 1969, 1970, 1973 & 1976, with the Junior Canadiens winning on home ice in 1970. In 1972 The Montreal Forum hosted game 1 of the famous "Summit Series" between Team Canada and the USSR, the USSR won the game 7-3. The 1980 NHL Entry Draft was hosted at the Forum. It would mark the first time that an NHL Arena hosted the event.
Only two visiting teams ever won the Stanley Cup on Forum ice: the New York Rangers did so in 1928, defeating the Maroons, while the Calgary Flames defeated the Canadiens in 1989.
On March 11, 1996, the Montreal Canadiens played their last game at the Montreal Forum, beating the Dallas Stars 4-1 on a Monday night. The game was televised on TSN and TQS in Canada, and on ESPN2 in the United States. The Stars' Guy Carbonneau, who had captained the Canadiens from 1989 to 1994 (including their 1993 Cup win), took the ceremonial opening faceoff. After the game, many previous hockey greats were presented to the crowd, most notably Maurice Richard (said to be the Canadiens' most beloved player of all time) who received a sixteen minute standing ovation from the crowd as he broke down in tears. A symbolic torch was carried by Emile Bouchard out of the Canadiens dressing room to the playing surface. The flaming torch was passed on to each of the former Canadiens captains (Jean Beliveau, Yvan Cournoyer, Henri Richard, Serge Savard, Bob Gainey, and Carbonneau), and finally to the then-current captain Pierre Turgeon.The next day, a parade was organized in which the torch was carried down the route to the Molson Centre (which has since been renamed the Bell Centre). Their first game at the new venue was against the New York Rangers, a game which the Canadiens won.
February 20th, 2009
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