Fans share memories as Habs celebrate 20th anniversary of last game at Montreal Forum
MONTREAL- It’s a night etched in the memories of Montreal Canadiens fans: March 11, 1996: the final game the Habs played at the iconic Forum.
The legends lined the ice, known better by their nicknames: the Roadrunner, Gump and of course, the Rocket.
Twenty years later, Habs fan Michel Crelinsten still remembers the way he felt watching the seven and half minute ovation for Maurice Richard.
“We had chills for the whole evening. The ovation just washed through all of us,” he told Global News.
“We were 20,000 fans and we were all connected, one to the other and with the team. It was special.”
The Forum opened in 1924.
It was home to the Montreal Maroons hockey team before the Canadiens moved in two years later.
An arena so old had it’s quirks, little details that fans still hold close to their hearts.
“The gates would open and we would all run in to grab a spot,” said Crelinsten.
“We’d put our coats over the standing room railing so we could go get hot dogs and beers and not lose our spot and people were very respectful of territory.”
WATCH: Remembering the last Habs game at the Forum
Filmmaker and photographer Ezra Soiferman documented that historic night in photos.
The images were forgotten, lying in his garage for nearly two decades.
Now, he’s put together a book to commemorate the night.
“I didn’t want to focus on the game at all,” he said.
“I knew everyone else who came to the game that night would have their cameras and focus on the game. It was more important to capture the people who worked here and made this place happen.”
For Montreal Canadiens fans, the iconic seats, the bleu-blanc-et-rouge, and in fact the entire building, is about more than just hockey.
“Some of my formative memories were walking down the hallways and seeing the glow from the ice,” said Soiferman.
He can still remember the cigarette smoke billowing down the hallways and the price of beer: $4.10.
After 24 Stanley Cups, over 10,000 goals and 1,500 wins, the Canadiens moved to their new home.
“The biggest difference between this place and the Bell Centre is that we won here,” said Crelinsten.
© 2016 Shaw Media