Tag Archives: Bell Centre

The Dream Is Dead

About this year’s Montreal Canadiens?

I don’t wanna be stick boy anymore.

My idea of doing just that for one game only, thought up when I was a kid and kept alive all these years because I’m an idiot, is now dead. This team doesn’t deserve my stick boy skills.

I don’t want to ride around as a passenger on the Zamboni or be a flag boy anymore either, regardless of the fact that these things seem to be reserved for kids.  I always thought the kid thing was unfair and a slap in the face to old bastards like me.

Molson beer sucks, although it’s neither here nor there because I’ve given up drinking. But if I still drank, it wouldn’t be Molson. If I walked in to a bar and they only served Molson, I say gimme some prune juice, it’ll do the same job.

The Bell Centre sucks too, and I wouldn’t care if it sank into one of Montreal’s medium size sinkholes. There’s no memories there, maybe just the 2010 postseason, and it happened mainly because of a Slovak goaltender named Jaroslav Halak.

The Bell rocked that spring. But so would’ve the parking lot of Mundell’s Funeral Home in Orillia if the games were played there.

I’d like to say I wouldn’t care if it burned to the ground but concrete doesn’t burn well. And I’d hate to see Jean Beliveau’s old seat get torched.

And people say, oh, the wonderful Bell Centre, soaked in atmosphere! We’re looking at an ordinary rink like all the other ordinary rinks in the league, where fans for the most part sit on their hands, empty their wallets, and put up with music so loud that people in Europe shut their windows.

Have you been to the Bell Centre? If you have, you’ve probably noticed all the old photographs lining the walls in the corridors.

Guess what, kids. Those pictures are cheap photocopies. The originals, hung with pride at the mighty Forum, were auctioned off to collectors with deep pockets. There’s even some originals left if you’re interested. Big beauties sold by Classic Auctions, ready to be hung in man caves instead of the Bell Centre where they belong.

Ownership was too freaking cheap to use the originals from the Forum. Another kick in the groin to passionate fans.

Management of course sucks. Coach Michel Therrien needs to steal a propaganda poster from a North Korean hotel, and the only thing I can think of that Marc Bergevin has done well was buy out Scott Gomez.

I was proud of Bergevin that day. But you or I could’ve bought out Scott Gomez with Molson money too, so it’s not that big a deal I guess.

And I know I’ve shown the letter below a half dozen times or so, but it’s sort of related to the story and maybe some of you haven’t seen it. So I’m just going ahead and posting it because I don’t care.

And this was centre ice at the Forum, before the league mandated that all centre ice circles have the rink name wrapped around the circle to remind us where we are in case we forget.

Forum above

Below, a smaller Montreal sinkhole.




The Montreal Barns

In 2013, while you were at the beach getting high and ogling the opposite sex in their skimpy bathing suits, I was getting stuck in Montreal traffic, working my way around an inner city marathon involving thousands of runners, all of whom seemed in slightly better shape than me.

I did this because I wanted to see where the old Habs barns once stood or still stand. And I’m almost sure that not one runner got squished by my tires.

First, the 3,200-seat Jubilee Arena in east-end Montreal, at the corner of St. Catherine and Malborough (now Rue Alphonse – D. Roy.)

The Canadiens played there during their first ever season, 1909-10, and again from 1917 until it burned down in 1919.

What the Jubilee looked like, inside and out –

Jubilee Arena


And what it looks like now. Nice, if you like warehouses.

Jubilee 1

Jubilee 2

From 1910 to 1918, the Canadiens played at the Montreal Arena (or Westmount Arena as it was also called), at the corner of St. Catherine and Wood, one block west of what would become the Forum.

The place held 4,000 people seated and another 6,000 standees, and burned down in 1918, forcing the Canadiens to move back to the Jubilee for a very short period.

The Montreal Wanderers played there also, and I kind of feel for this long-gone team. After being a powerhouse in the old ECAHA and NHA, they joined the NHL in 1918 and played just four games before their barn burned down. So they called it quits permanently.

What the Montreal Arena looked like then –

Westmount Arena

And what it looks like now –

Westmount 1

Westmount 2

Next, the 6,000-seat Mount Royal Arena near the corner of Mount Royal and St. Urbain, where the Canadiens, after the Jubilee burned down, played from 1920 to 1926 . After that they would take residence (with the Maroons) in the Forum, which was built two years prior in 1924.

The Mount Royal Arena burned down in 2000.

What it looked like then –

Mount Royal Arena

And what it looks like now. A Provigo supermarket –

Mount Royal 1

The classic Montreal Forum, built and opened in 1924 –


Forum 1

Renovations in 1968 made it look like this –

New Forum

Forum inside

And then, after the team had moved to the Molson (Bell) Centre, the beautiful Forum became this –

Forum 8

Forum 1

Forum 2

Forum corridor

Forum hall

Forum 4




And finally, the Bell Centre, originally named the Molson Centre, which opened in 1996.




The Canadiens’ dressing room, which the tour guy said is the smallest dressing room in the league, partly because they wanted to keep it as similar as possible to the Forum dressing room. and something about moving from the Forum after the season had already started.

dressing room

Hey Ghosts, Break’s Over

Sent over by Mike McKim, this article in Grantland.com – Battling the Ghosts by Sean McIndoe, talks about the Habs/ Lightning series, the old Forum and it’s replacement the Bell Centre, along with the distance between the two barns in different ways.

McIndoe also notes the apparent absence of Forum ghosts who were suppose to pack up and move over when the old cathedral closed its doors, but seem to be taking their time. If they came at all.

Contrary to what many think, I believe the Forum ghosts did make their way over to the Bell Centre in 1996, but they’ve had so much fun reminiscing, with the hangovers never ending and good times just rolling along, and they simply haven’t gotten around to modern day Habs teams yet, except for some fine times against Boston.

And they were on the job in the 2010 playoffs, at least for a few magical rounds. But all in all, they’ve really slacked off.

I can’t blame the ghosts. They welcome old buddies almost non-stop, so they party hard and tell tall tales, and lately, with Jean and Gilles and Elmer and Dollard and coach Ruel moving upstairs, there’s way too much to do in just a short amount of time.

Guys have to come from all corners of heaven to meet at the rebuilt Toe Blake’s Tavern. Fedora’s have to be dusted off. Someone has to be in charge of cigars at the corner tobacco store. It’s been tradition to have music greet the new guys, so Benny Goodman or Sinatra or Elvis have to be rounded up and sent to Toe’s.

So much to do, and we expect them to do more? Yes we do, because we believe in a serious work ethic from our ghosts,

It’s time to get off your behinds, ghosts. The boys down below need some guidance. Morenz only took 7 years after passing before lending a helping hand. What’s going on, Rocket? What’s the holdup?

And surely Toe and Dick Sr. can get the power play in sync, although it appears they might already be working on it.

All of you. Coffee break’s over. Up and at ’em.





A Goodbye at the Bell

JeanThe Bell Centre was softly lit as we made our way down a red carpet toward the casket where our beloved Jean Beliveau rested.

Throughout the upper levels, Jean’s familiar signature in lights was placed in every section, and ahead of us, behind the casket, hung long banners, one showing Jean with the torch in later years, and another of a much younger man raising the Stanley Cup as he had done so many times.

We moved slowly, and as each of us reached the casket, we then turned to our right where Jean’s beautiful wife Elise, their daughter Helene, and Helene’s two grown daughters received us and shook our hands and said merci to us.

The four ladies looked wonderful, and like Jean himself had always been, were an inspiration as they met so many strangers in an endless line.

I myself was a mess. Try as I may, I’m just not able to get through heart wrenching times without it showing in the most obvious fashion. I noticed others in the line seemed composed. Everyone except me, and when Elise looked at me, she looked square into my moist eyes and at my reddened face, and I knew she understood.

Bell Number Eight?

Hard to believe that seeing a game at the Bell Centre only ranks number 8 behind Minnesota, Washington, Winnipeg, Tampa Bay, Philadelphia, St. Louis, and New York, but that’s what the Stadium Journey people have decided in their new 2014 rankings.

I was sure there was no better experience than being at the Bell. In fact I’m still sure, regardless of what they say. Number 8 definitely beats Ottawa though, which comes in at a dismal 29th.

Here’s the link with new ratings for all the barns – Stadium Journey Arena Rankings.

Danno Van Gogh

Danno’s beginning to come into his own as an online technical thingamabobby creator, something I know nothing about but wish I did.

He sent this after game one. The $21,273 represents a dollar from every person at the Bell Centre, so on Tuesday when the series shifts to Montreal, bring your buck.

Coincidently, $21,273 is almost to the penny what it costs a group of six to park near the Bell and buy several beer at the game.

Wanted Poster Carey Price

Habs Continue To Roll


Left to right – Danno’s brother Bob, Danno’s dad Frank, me in the black vest, and Danno.

The Canadiens jumped into a 3-0 lead but only seconds after I let the “shutout” word slip out of my mouth because I was feeling confident and slightly tipsy, the Red Wings scored twice in 36 seconds, added another five minutes later, and the game was suddenly tied.

Only because I said the “s’ word.

But the Canadiens would score two more, win the game before a loud and enthusiastic crowd at the Bell Centre, and with that and the chance to spend some quality time with Danno and his dad and brother, the evening was just fantastic.

Now though, I need my bed. I’ll continue this later.

A Gift From Danno

About six months ago Danno emailed me and said he and his dad and brother were coming to Montreal from Ottawa by train to see the Detroit-Montreal game on April 5th.


I’ll be at the game with Danno and his family!

I really only know Danno from this blog, although I met him and his wife in an Ottawa pub a few years ago. He’s come to this site for years, he encourages me, we’ve spoken by phone several times, and he’s been a great friend.

Now this. A ticket to the game, an Original Six matchup, and an important game for both teams.

Just a kind and  awesome gesture by Danno to do this. I can’t properly describe what it means to me.

Looking for a big win tonight to make Danno, his dad, and me very happy. (His brother’s a Red Wings fan so I’m hoping for a great game and a loss for him).

Go Habs. Play hard, don’t get hurt, and if Habs equipment manager Pierre Gervais needs help with the sticks, I’ll be in the building to lend a helping hand.




Thump, Thump, Thump

The Bell Centre is certainly a fine place to see a hockey game. Lively and knowlegeable fans, lots of banners in the rafters, the big CHs at centre ice, Habs jerseys everywhere.

Joie de vivre all around. Go Habs go!

Great to be at. Sensational when the team wins. The best rink on the planet to see a game.

But is the techno music ever freaking loud in there. Maybe it’s why aging ex-Habs aren’t always seen now. They’re probably either at home or in the alumni room, where they can hear themselves think.

Thump, thump, thump, assaulting the eardrums, blasting away. Parents put ear protection on their kids. Adults should wear them too.  The Bell should hand out ear plugs to fans coming in.

I wouldn’t be surprised if those scanned Forum pictures on the walls start falling down.

How come there’s no Stompin’ Tom anymore? How come it has to be this nightclub techno stuff? Stuff that doesn’t stir the soul. Or my soul at least.

I’m sure I’m completely unhip about this. But I’ve done my share of cranking up the tunes, sometimes maybe even causing slight tidal waves on Lake Couchiching. But that was in rooms with not a hockey game within miles.

Am I just too uncool for words?

And while I’m at it – how come I don’t see any programs now?

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to loosen my suspenders, crank up my Al Jolson’s Greatest Hits album on the fancy phonograph, and groove in the rocking chair until it’s time for my nap.