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Amateurs de hockey VM105-y-3_066-06

Hockey and Montréal: A longstanding love affair

We won the first Stanley Cup
Published on
January 22, 2018
We don’t know the exact origin of hockey. In Ancient Greece, people were already playing with a curved stick and ball. During the time of Julius Caesar, the Gauls played the game of “gouret.” In the 16th century, Belgian painter Bruegel the Elder painted people playing with sticks on the ice. Well before the Europeans arrived in the Americas, Indigenous peoples played lacrosse, but not as a sport – it was like a religious ceremony.

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

Club de hockey, Les Canadiens en 1912-13, VM94-Z2227

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.

Forum rue Ste-Catherine VM94_a412_1

Hockey everywhere

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.

To learn more (in French) :

L’histoire du hockey

https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/memoiresdesmontrealais/le-tour-du-chapeau https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/memoiresdesmontrealais/la-famille-di-lallo-...  

https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/memoiresdesmontrealais/maurice-richard 

Le Forum de Montréal

https://ville.montreal.qc.ca/memoiresdesmontrealais/le-forum-de-montreal