In the fall of 1946, after over five years of absence, the Verdun Auditorium reclaimed, at last, its main purpose in life and its pleasure of former days: hockey. This emblematic sport of Canada is part of its DNA. It’s what it lives for!
Over the 70 years that follow, the arena opened its doors to a number of local and provincial teams, including some in the Québec Major Junior Hockey League: Les Éperviers de Verdun, Le Junior de Verdun and Le Canadien Junior de Verdun. Many teams in the National Hockey League skated on its rink on their visits to Montréal: the Pittsburgh Penguins in 2006, the Edmonton Oilers in 2015 and, of course, the Montreal Canadiens!
Hosting local hockey games was not enough for the arena. It had to think bigger! Other major games were in store. After all, its facilities were worthy of the greatest championships! Time proved it right: the Auditorium welcomed a number of large-scale hockey tournaments, including The Wrigley Tournament in 1978 and the Memorial Cup in 1979. Hosting the best junior hockey players in Canada was quite an honour. And for the savvy, it was also an opportunity to make sure its facilities were updated! For a while, the Verdun arena had been having problems with its sound system and these worsened during The Wrigley Tournament. Showing weaknesses to the whole country was unacceptable! That’s all it took for the City Council to hasten to remedy the situation.
The Verdun Auditorium may have become indispensable in the hockey world, but that didn’t prevent it from remaining humble and generous. At times, between two games, the arena offered its rink, free of charge, to organizations to set up fundraisers to support various causes. It was also an opportunity for the Auditorium to welcome former hockey stars or performers who had never set foot on its rink in the past.