For several decades, the Auditorium ran happy days welcoming thousands of hockey players from all over the country. Outstanding players set foot on its rink and made the walls of the building tremble a number of times in its existence. Names like Maurice Richard, Émile Bouchard, Raymond Bourque and Pat Lafontaine were chanted in its stands during hockey games. But who were those players? Most certainly stars! The arena realized that something was happening between its walls. Some players who skated on its rink later became hockey legends. Did it play a role in these careers? The Auditorium would like to think so…
One thing is for sure: the arena was very often the first skating rink used by many professional hockey players. For some, the building was even considered to be their second home. What a chance for the Auditorium to be in a city where hockey is a religion! It must be mentioned that Verdun, in the 1940s and 1950s, was a real breeding ground for hockey players.
A number of Verdunites made their career in the National Hockey League after their days at the Auditorium, including Ron Harris, Jimmy Bartlett, Dollard Saint-Laurent and Archie Wilcox. A few years later, Archie Wilcox became a city councillor in Verdun.
In the Verdun hockey world, it wasn’t only players who became stars. There were sometimes coaches and hockey fans, too. Former head coach Scotty Bowman was probably the biggest sports star in the entire history of the Auditorium and the Verdun community. This winner of the most Stanley Cups rarely skated at the Auditorium, but his contribution to the Verdun hockey world left a lasting impression on people’s minds.
As for hockey fans, few people distinguished themselves, other than a man who, through his boldness or madness, made it possible for the Auditorium to be spotlighted in the Journal de Montréal daily newspaper. Oh yes, a few seconds was all it took for some people to leave their mark on the history of the Verdun arena!