The Verdun Auditorium recently welcomed a number of television productions that required an enormous amount of work and ingenuity. Beyond a doubt, one of the biggest productions in its history was La Série Montréal-Québec, a true technical challenge. Between 2010 and 2012, the arena lived only for this television production, which revived the rivalry between the cities of Montréal and Québec in the hockey world. The Auditorium had to be transformed to meet the needs of the series.
Listen to what the Verdun Auditorium’s Events Coordinator, Daniel Belliveau, has to say about the huge amount of work involved in bringing about this transformation:
In addition to this work, the Auditorium’s locker rooms were set up to accommodate the players of both teams in the series, former players from the Québec City Nordiques and the Montréal Canadiens, as well as the production crew. Its rink, locker rooms, penalty bench, box seats and spectators’ stands were invaded with cameras to film not only the games, but also the team preparation sessions, the coaches’ pep talks, the players’ relaxation times, and more. The employees worked relentlessly for months for the Auditorium to be perfect. Never had the arena been so dressed to the nines than on that occasion. No choice! As soon as the puck was dropped on the ice, there was no turning back!
In addition to the hockey games, the Auditorium also had to welcome the opening shows of the series, and ensure the safety of the political and public personalities present. The arena faced certain problems, because the employees of the Journal de Montréal newspaper, belonging to Québecor Media, the same company behind this production, were in a lock-out at the time. The fear of a possible demonstration during the opening ceremony by the unionized workers involved in this dispute forced the arena to double its security staff.
The scope of the production and the challenges that La Série Montréal-Québec imposed were a turning point in the Verdun Auditorium’s television career. Ever since that production, the arena has the feeling that it can do anything!