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The Building Of The Canadiens
By Peter Puck
Feb 9, 2004, 02:26

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December 4, 1909

During a meeting of the National Hockey Association (NHA), held in Room 129 of the Windsor Hotel, the Canadiens are founded by J. Ambrose O'Brien, a sportsman from Ottawa, with financial support from another magnate of the time, T.C. Hare. The latter providing the $1,000 required for the formation of a team as well as the $5,000 to guarantee the players' salaries. Mr. O'Brien delegates the task of forming and managing this new, largely francophone team, to Jack Laviolette.

January 5, 1910

The Canadiens play the first game in their history on the neutral ice of the Jubilee rink, located on Sainte-Catherine Street East, before a crowd of 3,000 spectators. They win 7-6, in overtime against the Cobalt Silver Kings.

January 15, 1910

Judging the survival of two professional leagues impossible, the managers of the NHA persuade the Ottawa team and the Shamrocks to leave the Canadian Hockey Association (CHA) and join them. The CHA, left with only three members, is dissolved. A revised schedule is prepared and only those games played starting on January 15th are counted.

January 19, 1910

The Canadiens play their first game of the revised schedule; a 9-4 loss to Renfrew.

November 12, 1910

The NHA grants the Canadiens franchise to George Kendall-Kenndy and the club officially becomes Club Athlétique Canadien, a name it retains until 1917.

November 26, 1917

Founding of the National Hockey League (NHL) at the Windsor Hotel in Montreal. Ottawa, Canadiens, Wanderers and Toronto receive a franchise in the new league, succeeding the NHA. At this time, the Club Athlétique Canadien changes its name to officially become Club de Hockey Canadien and begins displaying the celebrated CH logo.

January 2, 1918

Westmount Arena, home of the Canadiens since the 1909-1910 season, is totally destroyed by a fire. Built in 1898 at a cost of $32,000, it was located on the west side of Atwater Avenue, at the corner of Sainte-Catherine Street. It had a seating capacity of 6,500 and holding up to 8,500 spectators for hockey games. The Canadiens are forced to move to the Jubilee Arena constructed in 1908, a building with over 3,000 seats.

January 10, 1920

The Canadiens inaugurate the Mont-Royal Arena, their new home. During the summer of 1919 the Jubilee rink was also the victim of a fire and, to accommodate the Canadiens, a new arena with 10,000 seats was contructed south of Mont-Royal Street, between Clarke and Saint-Urbain Streets, on the same site as the All-Montreal Rink. Built in less than six months, it was erected at a cost of $300,000.

November 3, 1921

Upon the death of her husband, Mrs. Kennedy sells Club de Hockey Canadien to Léo Dandurand, Jos. Cattarinich and Louis A. Létourneau for the sum of $11,500.

Summer 1924

Construction of the Forum; Senator Donat Raymond and Sir Edward Beatty, president of Canadian Pacific, assemble a group of Montreal businessmen who are ready to invest in the construction of a new arena to be located in the west-end of the city. The new indoor rink with 9,300 seats will have artificial ice and a capacity of 10,000 spectators for hockey games. With the cooperation of the suppliers and the sub-contractors, architect John S. Archibald and the Atlas Construction Company, mandated by the Canadian Arena Company Limited, completed the new building in the record time of 159 days. Estimated cost of the work is close to $1.2 million.

November 29, 1924

Opening game at the Forum : it is not the Montreal Maroons who open their new home, but the Canadiens. Due to a problem with the ice at the Mont-Royal Arena, it is the Canadiens who inaugurate the building on Sainte-Catherine, which will become their official home in two years. This historic game between the Toronto St. Pats ends in a 7-1 victory for the Canadiens.

November 18, 1926

The Canadiens are permanently installed in the Forum. They suffer a 2-1 loss against Ottawa in their first game played in their new official home.

September 17, 1935

Jos. Cattarinich and Léo Dandurand, sole owners of the Canadiens since the departure of Louis A. Létourneau in 1931, sell the club to the Canadian Arena Company for $165,000. The latter, property of Senator Donat Raymond, already owns the Montreal Maroons. A syndicate is appointed composed of Ernest Savard, president, as well as Maurice Forget and Louis Gélinas as principle directors to manage the Canadiens.

May 1940

The Canadian Arena Company and its president, Senator Donat Raymond, as well as its vice-president, William Northey, take over the management of the Montreal Canadiens. Two years earlier, the Maroons had ceased operations.

Summer 1949

The 25 year-old Forum is renovated at a cost of $600,000. A floor is added, increasing the capacity to 13,551 seats.

September 24, 1957

Senator Hartland de M. Molson and his brother, Thomas H.P. Molson, purchase Club de Hockey Canadien and the Canadian Arena Company.

May 15, 1964

Senator Hartland de M. Molson and his brother Thomas H.P. Molson sell Club de Hockey Canadien and the Canadian Arena Company to their cousins, J. David, William A. and Peter B. Molson for approximately $5 million.

May 13, 1968

Start of Forum renovations, taking 118 days; 2,452 seats added, sight-line of 6,000 others improved by removal of structural columns and 10 corporate suites are added to the south end of the building. This work, valued at $9.5 million, is so extensive that only the furnace and the ice refrigeration system remain from the original building constructed in 1924.

November 2, 1968

Gala Evening inaugurates New Forum. Canadiens defeat Detroit 2-1.

December 30, 1971

Brothers J. David, William A. and Peter B. Molson sell the Canadian Arena Company and Club de Hockey Canadien to Placements Rondelle Ltée for approximately $15million. The consortium, whose main shareholders are brothers Peter and Edward Bronfman, will later become Carena Bancorp.

August 4, 1978

Molson Breweries of Canada Ltd., under the terms of an agreement with Carena Bancorp, acquire Club de Hockey Canadien and sign a long-term lease on the Forum covering the operation of the team as well as the entertainment division.

August 24, 1989

The President of Club de Hockey Canadien, Ronald Corey, reveals the results of a study commissioned with Lavalin for the renovation and enlargement of the Forum. It is decided that the Forum will not be enlarged and a new study is ordered to examine the feasibility of constructing a new building.

April 3, 1991

Announcement of the site selected for the new arena. To be financed entirely with private investment, the $250 million building will be erected in the heart of down-town Montreal, on a site located just west of Windsor Station.

October 8, 1992

Club de Hockey Canadien and CP Rail jointly annouce plans for the New Forum/ Windsor Station project, prepared by a team of experts from different fields.

June 22, 1993

Ground breaking ceremonies with the participation of MM. Eric Molson, The Honourable Hartland de M. Molson, Stephen Molson and Ronald Corey. Construction begins, following plans prepared by two architectual firms: Lemay & Associates and Lemoyne, Lapointe, Magne.

March 11-16 1996

Week of activities marking the move of the Canadiens to the Molson Centre. On March 10th, before more than 15,000 spectators at the Forum, a game between Canadiens Alumni and NHL Alumni ends in a 6-6 tie. The final game at the Forum is held on March 11th. On this night filled with nostalgia, the Canadiens defeat the Dallas Stars 4-1. On March 12th, more than 140 items from the Forum are auctioned. The proceeds, amounting to more than $400,000, are donated to Centraide of Greater Montreal and the Canadiens Alumni Association. March 15th is marked by a grand « moving day » parade with a crowd of more than 50,000 onlookers followed by a pre-opening evening at the Molson Centre. March 16th, the official inauguration of the Molson Centre, the Canadiens win 4-2 against the New York Rangers. On March 17th, an open house allows 151,000 fans to visit the new home of the Canadiens.

© Copyright 2003 by MontrealCanadiens.ca

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