A Winter’s Day At The Great Old Barn

I found these while going through some boxes today. They’re photos of the Montreal Forum, taken in 1996 by my old friends Mike and Diana Williamson, who were kind enough to send copies to me after they’d had their film developed.

It was a trek to the Forum, to see a game and enjoy the city for a brief moment in time. When you didn’t get to do it often, as was the case with the Williamson’s and myself, a trip to Montreal was always a dandy time, with some of the world’s most excellent girl-watching involved. (For me, Diana. Mike would never think of doing this). Then the big game, that I couldn’t wait for, topping it off, seeing the sweater live and in colour, eating a hot dog, hearing the siren and announcer, following the Zamboni as I sipped my beer and gazed at the booth where Danny Gallivan sat.

Watching those familiar faces skating to and fro, sometimes scoring, and we’d join in with the mighty roar of the Forum faithful and shake the rafters.

The sounds, smells, and sights to behold in the Forum and in the unique and beautiful cosmopolitan city it sits in. All to remember and cherish from those who don’t get to go often. You Montrealer’s are used to it. You go about your business and don’t stare wide-eyed when you walk where the Richard Riot took place, where scalpers called out, where game night was the big night. It’s all old hat to you.

And anyway, it’s just a big amusement centre now, and whoever decided to do that should be hung from the rafters where the great sweaters once hung.

If I can ever get back, I’m going to go to the corner of Atwater and St. Catherines and close my eyes and dream about big nights of so long ago, that happened just inside the walls of where I stand. I’m confident I won’t get mugged while my eyes are closed.

The Forum on a snowy, wintry day. I’ll bet Mike and Diana had a great time.

12 thoughts on “A Winter’s Day At The Great Old Barn”

  1. I’ve been by the Forum countless times. Seeing it now does seem really wrong. I only saw two games there – one in the 70s when I was a little kid and one in the 90s that was a Hamilton Bulldogs game (we won 4-2).

    That first game was unusual for me. I was young and I remember being quite high up. I felt I was almost in the sky.

    I saw a few concerts there but I really wish I could have seen a hockey game there when I was older and could appreciate it more. The Bell Centre is nice but nothing beats history. It’s heartbreaking to see the Forum like that.

    Best time for girl-watching in Montreal is summer Dennis. Of course that’s what I’ve heard. ;)

  2. Hey Dennis, I like Darth’s comments,I too would have liked to see more games in the Forum,sadly I only was there for one game as well,back in 95 when the Habs got punished by the Flyers 7-0.The atmosphere there was very exciting and I was quite impressed by the old “barn” as you refer to it.The Bell Centre is beautiful,but has no real history to go along with it.I hope one day to view another game there.

  3. Its always girl watching season in Montreal. If only they still played at the forum. I live just a very short bus ride away and pass by it everyday on my way to school

  4. Darth, I was lucky enough to see a couple of games in the Forum before it was renovated, in the early sixties. They had posts around the rink that blocked fans’ views. When they renovated it in 1968, they made it much brighter with better sight lines.

  5. Derry, I beliece there will be no true history at the Bell until Montreal wins it all. So they have to hurry up.

  6. remember the time we took the train from toronto and got there nice and early to get a head start on our drinking activities? we didn’t realize it was an afternoon game and almost missed it. i think it was against the kings …. it was a good thing it was an afternoon game, we probably would have been too pissed to make an evening game………… we played a lot in the bar across the road from the forum on attwater i think, “the fathers mustache’. we would get all done up in our stage gear, go to the game and then run across the street right on to the stage to begin work. sometimes we were a bit late. there was no overtime in those days so we had it down to a science.

  7. Hobo, I’ve thought about that trip many times over the years. We were about halfway there before we realized it was an afternoon game. But we made it, had excellent seats, and probably had a great time afterward but I don’t remember.

  8. 17-18 thousand cheering fans weren’t enough for the Molsons. They needed several thousand more, most of them in luxury boxes. Hockey isn’t about about the adoring fans any longer. We’re just there to build demand so corporations can justify spending thousands of $$$ on their disinterested executives and their friends every few days.

  9. I remember going to the Forum to Bruins vs Habs, back then you were able to buy tickets for standing room only.
    Even though we were standing, it was magical!
    Sure miss the Forum, I never cared much for the Bell Center.

  10. Thanks, Juce. The Forum was magical, and those standing room tickets, especially the ones just above the reds, had sensational views. I sure miss it too, and all that it represented. The Bell needs more time, more winners, more stars. And it’s too big.

  11. DK, glad you found those old photos & yes it was a great time. Did’nt see any girls though, Diana had a bag over my head till we were inside the holy Shrine!
    Cheers from the East!!!!

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