Hockey history made in Quebec City at Centre Vidéotron

Hockey history made in Quebec City at Centre Vidéotron

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Québec City – After a long, long wait, and hundreds of millions of dollars spent on the project, we could finally say the moment had arrived.

Saturday 12 September 2015 will always be a date remembered by many as the Centre Vidéotron played host to its first ever hockey game. Over 3 years after construction began in earnest this historic evening saw the Quebec Remparts face off against Rimouski Oceanic in this Quebec Major Junior Hockey League fixture.

The magnificent building, bathed in early evening late-summer sunlight, was the talk of the many thousands of fans making their way to the venue. There was a palpable air of excitement, anticipation, and good humour around the beer stalls doing a brisk trade outside on the concourse.

Before the game, which eventually started later than scheduled at around 8.30pm, there were celebrations, speeches, and a whole St-Lawrence-sized river of emotion.

If this were a movie script then it would contain a bit of music, a smattering of stars of days gone by and the obligatory win for the home team.

The first and second parts went according to plan – Quebec rapppers Loco Locass whipping up the crowd and then came the stars of days gone by.

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They were out in force namely former Québec Nordiques players Marc Tardif and Michel Goulet, who together with former Remparts players Simon Gagné, Marc-Édouard Vlasic, and the legendary Guy Lafleur, saw their banners hoisted to the ceiling in ceremonial fashion.

After the players on the home team roster were introduced to the partisan, sold-out crowd, Quebec City mayor Régis Labeaume took to the microphone. In a voice close to cracking (and with very good reason) he stated ‘We’ve realised our dream. The day has arrived. We’ve done it.’

Michel Bergeron (former Nordiques head coach and now media personality) was with Labeaume on the ice to receive a gift. He was joined by his wife Michelle and together they were presented with a pair of seats from the Colisée Pepsi, an arena that means so much to him which will soon be razed to the ground. Bergeron’s wife used one of those seats on the occasions that she went to the Colisée to see her husband’s team. When asked what he’d like from the old arena as a souvenir, this is exactly what he wanted to keep.

The old barn may be going, but for those fortunate enough to have played, coached, or witnessed games there, the memories will remain.

Many of the 18,259-strong crowd were there for the occasion itself as well as the home opener between the Quebec Remparts and Rimouski Oceanic, and once the festivities were over the game could finally get underway.

The ceremonial puck drop, featuring Mario Bédard, Maurice Tanguay, Sam Hamad, Pierre Dion, Régis Labeaume, Benoît Robert, Pierre Karl Péladeau (with his son), Gilles Courteau and Agnès Maltais was followed by the national anthem. Lévis’ Marie-Josée Lord did a great job and it was well-respected by all.

As for the game itself, a largely tame 1st period did explode into life after 21 seconds – Quebec’s Yanick Turcotte and Rimouski’s Evan Scott going toe to toe and earning a 5 minute rest in the sin bin for their endeavours.

With around 12 minutes gone the first goal ever scored in the Centre Vidéotron was registered, Quebec Remparts’ Ross MacDougall netting from near the blue line.
The defenseman’s name will forever be cemented in history.

The rest of the match up did not go according to plan for the home team and fans though, Rimouski Oceanic going home happy with a 4-2 victory in the bag.

Although the fixture was important – a chance to lay down early markers and get points on the board, this was overshadowed by the enormity of the occasion itself.

What a building. What an arena!

In terms of somewhere to go to watch sport, Quebec City has hit the big time. It’s impressive, really impressive, and if you suffer from vertigo it would probably be best to avoid the seats at the top in the nosebleed section.
In terms of comfort, view, and fan experience, there’s not a bad seat in the house. This place has to be seen to be believed.

It’s a seriously good venue and certainly worthy of it being graced by a team from the National Hockey League.

Return of the Nordiques – is that likely?

Will a franchise move to Quebec City or will an expansion team play here? Who knows.
Has a deal been done behind the scenes to bring a team here? Who knows.

We’ll have to wait and see, but one thing’s for sure – this city is ready and waiting for that day to come.

If there is more history to be made with the return of the Nordiques then maybe these guys will come back for the occasion too…

Categories: News, Opinion, Sports

About Author

Andrew Greenfield

Andrew Greenfield moved to Quebec in 2009. He is part of the team responsible for the publishing company behind LifeinQuebec.com and Life in Québec Magazine. He has been involved with online and print media since 2001. He is passionate about cricket, is a qualified coach, and his real ambition is to start a cricket team in Quebec City – something he freely admits is probably beyond him. Follow him on Twitter @GreenfieldAndy

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