Hockey and Montréal: A longstanding love affair
In any case, hockey is strongly rooted in Montréal. The first hockey match on ice in history took place on March 3, 1875 at Montréal’s Victoria Skating Rink between two teams from McGillUniversity.
The game quickly became popular, and more and more Montrealers began playing. In 1883, the first hockey tournament was presented at Montréal’s winter carnival. Ten years later at Canada’s amateur championship, Montréal’s AAA team won the very first Stanley Cup.
The first years of the famous tournament were dominated by Montréal teams like the AAA, but also the Victorias and the Shamrocks.
Tattooed onto the heart
At that time, Montréal had more than 100 teams. But it was only in 1909 that the first major hockey team was created. Of course, it was the Montréal Canadiens, still a hot topic of conversation today.
Contrary to what you might think, the H on the logo doesn’t stand for Habs – it stands for hockey! The team’s nickname comes from the fact that the team’s first fans were primarily French Canadians. “Hab” is short for “habitant” (inhabitant), and the term appeared in 1914, when some partisans attended hockey games wearing early Canadian garb: wool hats and arrowhead sashes.
The red, white and blue colours of the Montréal team originally represented France, but they are also the colours of the Union Jack. So both French and English speakers felt a personal connection to their team.
A team in the heart of the city
Between 1920 and 1926, Habs games took place at the Mount Royal Arena, on the corner of Rue Saint-Urbain and Avenue du Mont-Royal. Later, the building housed a grocery store. The team later moved to the Forum on Rue Sainte-Catherine, which opened on November 29, 1924. For more than 70 years, the legendary Forum and its ghosts hosted the Habs until the team moved to the Bell Centre.
Amateur hockey players and skaters couldn’t be in a better city for enjoying their sports! Montréal has more than 260 skating rinks and outdoor ice rounds, eight of which are refrigerated, and there are 34 municipal arenas.
But for real hockey fans, a back lane is the perfect place for a match with friends and neighbours.