“The three Denis!”
Almost every day, the Verdun Auditorium heard this expression in its stands. Verdun athletes and spectators walking into the arena seemed to know them or, at the very least, know their story. Its building next door was named Aréna Denis-Savard; was there some connection with one of these “Denis”? But who are those men who seem to have left a lasting mark on a generation of Verdunites and the history of the Auditorium?
During the 1970s, the Auditorium welcomed a number of local hockey teams, mostly made up of neighbourhood youngsters. Among these, the Verdun Leafs Pee-Wee team stood out for an unusual reason: in that team were three boys with the same name, Denis. Strangely enough, these youngsters were born on the same day of the same year and spent part of their childhood in the same Verdun neighbourhood. What a coincidence!
For a few years, the Auditorium was the second home for Denis Cyr, Denis Savard and Denis Tremblay. The arena was a privileged witness of the progress made by these three boys, on hand for their victories and their defeats as well. At times, during a practice session, the Auditorium saw them get injured. On one training day, the arena noticed something strange on its rink: teeth! A quick look at Denis Tremblay’s mouth explained what had happened…
In 1977, the three young Verdun hockey players were drafted by the Junior de Montréal team, who played at the Auditorium. What a chance! The arena could therefore continue to watch them play. On that team, these three youngsters played on the same line for two-and-a-half years. The “three Denis” line then took on all its meaning. Together, they enjoyed moments of glory, scoring a total of 299 points in 1977-1978 and 366 the following year.
The story of the three Denis on the Auditorium’s ice rink is one of its highlights. Together, they called the shots in the neighbourhood arena of their youth.
Listen to borough mayor Jean-François Parenteau tell us about his memories of the “three Denis”: