Opening of the Forum
November 29, 1924
They may not have been the official tenants of the building at the time, but that didn’t stop the Canadiens from being invited to christen the Montreal Forum at its opening on November 29, 1924. They took on the Toronto St. Pats for the occasion as the natural ice surface at the Mount Royal arena still wasn’t ready for use at the time of the game. The Habs kicked things off in style, dominating the game and going on to down the St. Pats 7-1. The Canadiens wouldn’t officially call the Forum home until the 1926-27 campaign and even then, they still had to share the arena with the Montreal Maroons until the team eventually went under in 1938.
The Howie Morenz Memorial All-Star Game
November 3, 1937
A few months after the team lost Howie Morenz to tragic circumstances, the Montreal Canadiens organization decided to honor his memory with a jersey retirement ceremony. Morenz’s No. 7 was raised to the rafters on Nov. 2, 1937. The next day, an All-Star Game was held at the Forum to raise funds in support of the legendary player’s family. Montreal’s elite – made up of players from both the Maroons and Canadiens – took on the rest of the league’s best in a game they would ultimately lose 6-5 in front of 8,683 fans.
Maurice Richard’s eight-point night
December 28, 1944
There must have been a little Christmas magic still floating around Montreal in 1944, when on December 28, Maurice Richard completed a feat that left the hockey world with their collective jaws on the floor and has since gone down in history as one of the greatest exploits to ever have been accomplished in the history of the game. After spending the day helping his entire family move, an understandably exhausted Richard made his way to the Forum to take on the Red Wings. Three periods later, he skated off the ice having set a team record with five goals and three assists in front of a positively delighted crowd of 13,000 Montrealers.
Riot at the Forum
March 17, 1955
While the Forum can count an incredible wealth of wonderful moments in its history, it has also experienced it’s share of darker moments too. The riot that took place on Mar. 17, 1955 sadly falls into the latter of those categories. A few days earlier, on Mar. 13, Maurice Richard was suspended for accidentally hitting a linesman during a fight with Bruins blue-liner Hal Laycoe. Richard was suspended for the remainder of the season, including the playoffs. NHL president, Clarence Campbell, was in attendance at the Forum for the team’s next game where he was booed mercilessly by the outraged Habs fans. The Canadiens were actually forced to forfeit the game as thousands of angry fans began a riot outside the Forum that lasted well into the night. Things only calmed down when Richard himself took to the radio the following day, addressing fans and persuading them to bring the riot to an end.
Jean Beliveau jersey retirement
October 9, 1971
One of the best players and people to ever don a Canadiens jersey, Jean Beliveau announced his retirement from hockey on Jun. 9, 1971, after a career that saw him rack up 1,219 points in 1,125 games. In 20 seasons with the Habs, Beliveau hoisted the cup an astonishing 10 times. Five months later on Oct. 9, 1971, his No. 4 was raised to the rafters of the Forum and retired forever alongside Howie Morenz and Maurice Richard.
Facing the Red Army
December 31, 1975
At the height of the Cold War and only three years after the famous Summit Series, the world’s top hockey superpowers clashed again to close out the 1975 calendar year. Differences between East and West were put aside for the duration of a single game as the Red Army came to Canada to take on the Montreal Canadiens at the Forum. The game would go down in history as one of the most exciting to ever have been played in the history of the sport, and ended deadlocked 3-3. No word if both sides celebrated together with a glass of champagne at midnight in the dressing rooms of the Forum…
Too Many Men Game
May 10, 1979
The Canadiens were on the brink of elimination in Game 7 of their semifinal series with the rival Boston Bruins. With a little less than four minutes remaining in the game, Rick Middleton slipped a puck past Ken Dryden to give the Bruins the lead late in the match. Then, with only two minutes and 34 seconds left on the clock, the Bruins got caught with too many men on the ice. The Habs took advantage of the opportunity and never looked back. Guy Lafleur blasted a slap shot past Gilles Gilbert on the power play to force overtime, where Yvon Lambert would put the game on ice for the Habs. The Canadiens carried that momentum into the Stanley Cup Finals where they won their fourth consecutive championship.
Good Friday Massacre
April 20, 1984
Recognized as the peak of the Canadiens-Nordiques rivalry, the game that took place between the two teams on Apr. 20, 1984, was one that neither clubs’ fans is likely to ever forget. With the Nordiques facing elimination and the Canadiens pushing for the win, the tension in the building was palpable and things quickly became heated on the ice. Dale Hunter coming into contact with Canadiens goalie, Steve Penny, was all that was needed to send things over the edge. What followed was a bench-clearing brawl that saw 198 minutes of penalties handed out between both teams and 10 players ejected from the game. Using the emotion to fire themselves up, the Canadiens stormed back from a 2-0 deficit to take the game 5-3, eliminating their provincial rivals from the postseason.
A 24th Stanley Cup
Jun. 9, 1993
With a sizable 3-1 lead in their Stanley Cup Final series against the Los Angeles Kings, the Canadiens headed back to Montreal hoping to make the next game their last of the year. With an eye on winning their first championship at home since 1979, Jacques Demers’ troops took to the ice determined to emerge as the victors, backstopped by a young miracle-worker between the pipes by the name of Patrick Roy. Paul DiPietro (2), Kirk Muller and Stephan Lebeau all found the back of the net, while Roy kicked aside 18 of the 19 shots sent his way. The Canadiens netminder not only got his name etched on the Stanley Cup, but also won the Conn Smythe Trophy for the second time in his career.
Closing of the Forum
March 11, 1996
After 74 years, the Montreal Forum finally closed its doors and the Canadiens turned another page on their history, making the move to their new home, the Molson Centre. The storied arena, however, was treated to one last moment of glory thanks to a heartfelt ceremony to mark the occasion that took place after the final game at the rink. Andrei Kovalenko was the last Hab to light the lamp on Forum ice, scoring the final goal of the night in the Canadiens’ 4-1 rout of the Dallas Stars. The ensuing ceremony featured the team’s past captains relaying the torch, until it reached the Habs’ current leader, Pierre Turgeon. Five days later, the Canadiens made the move to the Molson Centre.
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