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Les Canadiennes announce agreement to move into Verdun Auditorium

The team and city reach an agreement in principle to move in after renovations

Shanna Martin / Eyes on the Prize

After a lot of searching, Les Canadiennes have officially found their new long-term home.

The team, the city of Montreal and borough of Verdun have reached an agreement in principle that will see the team move their base to the Verdun Auditorium after the upcoming renovations which is expected be completed in 2019.

The Auditorium will also be the team’s official training centre.

“It is a great day for women’s elite sports in Montreal,” said Les Canadiennes general manager Meg Hewings. “It’s hard to find yourself a home in life let alone with 25 women. What is really fun is to have a home base and a concrete infrastructure that we can call our own and start to develop and build on.”

With the news, the team will be heavily involved in the community of Verdun. The Montreal Canadiens already have a Bleu Blanc Bouge community rink in Verdun which also adds to the ultimate goal of making the sport more accessible.

“There is also room for encouraging the Verdun youth to get active, to be involved in sport and we really hope that our players will have an impact on that,” said Hewings.

The agreement highlights the maintaining of ice time reserved for Verdun’s sports associations as well as to offer tickets at affordable prices so that families can attend the games.

The 3,000 seat arena will undergo major renovations. The arena was built in 1939 and has not been used for a major sport since the QMJHL’s Montreal Junior moved to Boisbriand after the 2010-2011 season. It has been home to wide ranging events from Nirvana concerts to wrestling events. It also used to be the Montreal Canadiens practice facility when they played at the Forum.

The Denis-Savard arena, a smaller minor hockey rink that is in the same building, has already been undergoing renovations that were expected to be completed in 2018. The original renovations were to cost $26 million. There is no word on what that number will increase to.

“Montreal is a big sports and hockey city and this agreement proves it once again,” said the Mayor of Montreal Denis Coderre who was also on hand at the announcement, in a statement. “Les Canadiennes is a model sports organization [...] By consolidating this champion team’s place in Greater Montreal, at the iconic Verdun Auditorium, we are ensuring that young female hockey players in minor hockey programs in Montreal will be able to hope that they will one day wear Les Canadiennes’ sweater and proudly represent their city.”

Hewings said a few weeks ago that the team looked at various aspects when choosing their long-term home. They wanted a capacity of 1,500 to 4,000 seats and they also paid attention to how fans were coming to their games and where they were coming from. The Verdun Auditorium is a short walk from a Metro station, and is much closer to downtown Montreal and bridges to the south shore than their previous home.

Les Canadiennes season will begin October 14 at their new temporary home, the Normandin Arena at the Claude Robillard Sports Complex against the Boston Blades.