The picture above is a classic above us view of centre ice, circa 1960’s, at the Montreal Forum.
The iconic logos on either side of the centre ice stripe were props in what was described as “The Cathedral of Hockey”.
There was an awe to the place. It may have been because of the reverence, respect and passion of the fans, the city, the province and the nation. Some believed it was the church like organ. Still others speak to the simplicity and understatement of it all. And, not to be forgotten is the dignity, class and intelligence of their media voices Rene Lecavalier and Danny Gallivan. Of course, it did not hurt that the team was consistently a winner. Still, though the Forum was unique in hockey similar feelings could be experienced at places such as Yankee Stadium, Lambeau Field and the Pawley Pavillion.
Things inevitably started to change over the years. But after 1996 when the Canadiens moved out of the Forum, it was really different. Among the changes were a castrated siren and newer supersized logos at centre ice. (About the siren some other time). The increase in size of logos was probaly intened to aid those watching on screens away from the rink. To many it was part of a trend turning more to the entertainment and hype-producing aspects of the game. Understated it would be no more. Its partners were video boards, one ice displays, loud sound systems (no organist) and omni-present ads and promotions.
In the over 20 years since the team left the Forum, if anything this trend has only accelerated. One needs to look no further than Las Vegas. Whether one approves of it does not matter. It is a fact. That train left the station a long time ago.
This year the change in Montreal continues – a radical change if one looks to tradition. The centre ice will look different. The two logos have been replaced by one BIG logo. It is part of a trend that started years ago. Montreal now joins the crowd.
It will undoubtedly help the NHL’s marketing partners people such as Sportsnet, NBC and NHL’19, but Montreal fans frustrated about the front office and its shortcomings in addressing players on the ice quip that the team is finally addressing center ice issues. Indeed, it is quite a change from the days the Rocket, Beliveau and Lafleur.