25 years after its opening | What is the average life expectancy of a Peel Center?

On November 2, 2019, Richard Legendre was in Rome. Like any good sports fan, he couldn’t resist the allure of visiting one of the great football stadiums in Europe. It was fine, as Roma was playing in the Olympic Stadium that day.


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“It was built in 1953, and I still find it very interesting!” Ex-Vice President Impact and Future CF Montreal calls.

The Bell Center will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Tuesday, a fact that makes you jump when you compare CH’s home with its contemporaries. Anyone who has visited Al-Kindy Photo Center, with its Community Hall-like entrances, will know what we’re talking about. The Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, which also opened in 1996, is not a huge achievement either. The cheapest seats in Prudential Center (2007) are said to be near Manhattan than in Newark.

Legendre is now Associate Director of the Sports Department at HEC Montreal. He worked at Impact while building the Saputo Stadium, and was the director of Omnium Du Maurier when the tennis court was refurbished in the mid-1990s, and he knows it with great sports equipment.

Visit the Bell Center

  • The Bell Center will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Tuesday.

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    The Bell Center will celebrate its 25th anniversary on Tuesday.

  • Dining areas have been added at level M2.

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    Dining areas have been added at level M2.

  • The courtyard is adjacent to the Bell Center

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    The courtyard is adjacent to the Bell Center

  • Giant screen at Bell Center

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    Giant screen at Bell Center

  • Mythology Wall

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    Mythology Wall

  • Continuation of work within the Bell Center ...

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    Continuation of work within the Bell Center …

  • ... and outside the Bell Center.

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    … and outside the Bell Center.

  • The exterior of the Bell Center

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    The exterior of the Bell Center

  • Morris Richard statue near the entrance to the Bell Center

    Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

    Morris Richard statue near the entrance to the Bell Center

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It also made the leap when we talk about a quarter of a century from the Bell Center.

When we have to remember that it’s been 25 years old, it’s a sign that aging is good!

Richard Legendre

Incidentally, there are only 10 runways older than the NHL Bell Center. The oldest of them, Madison Square Garden, underwent an estimated billion-dollar facelift (!) In 2013, so its year of construction (1968) is anecdotal. New Yorkers are back at the Nassau Amphitheater, which was built around the same time as Billy Joel The Piano ManBut it will move to a brand new building next fall.

Additionally, the generation of terraces that preceded the Bell Center, those built in the 1970s and 1980s, had a limited lifespan. The Continental Airlines Arena, located in New Jersey, has hosted Demons for only 26 years. The Northlands Amphitheater in Edmonton was in use from 1974 to 2016.

Under these circumstances, it is important to ask: What is the life expectancy of a Bell Center?

Guided visit

The corridors of the Bell Center are empty on March 10, the day Daniel Trotier welcomes us on a guided tour. A strange coincidence: They’ve been empty for exactly 365 days, since the duel of Canadian predators we would easily forget if it weren’t the end of an era.

“In recent years, all of our walkways have been expanded by 20%. We’ve brought in the counters,” explains Troutier, Executive Vice President, Customer Service and Operations, Groupe CH.

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

Daniel Trotier, Groupe CH Executive Vice President, Construction Operations

Space management has always been a problem at the Bell Center, hence the innovations of recent years. They range from simple solutions, like screw-down wall litter boxes, to major renovations, such as adding restaurants on level M2, and flooring under level 100 aisles.

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

Dining areas have been added at level M2.

“We wanted to direct more people there to save space on the top floor. There was nothing in the M2, and a lot of the square footage was not used well,” Troutier says.

Entrances are another place we stepped on our toes. The idea now is to bring as many spectators as possible onto the side of the patio, through a more spacious entrance. But we look at the entrance on rue de Canadian de Montreal, and imagine the space gained when we demolished this anachronism and that is the ticket office. A space that “calls for change,” as Trotier humbly says.

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

The inner courtyard is adjacent to the center of the bell

We rush into the vomit to think of the “vessel” that Trotier is partly proud of. “In Detroit, they almost copied what we have,” he says. How about the giant screen? It dates back to 2008 and when we talk about customer experience, that’s the kind of improvement we’re noticing.

Trotier warns that “we could have a bigger rink, but people are sitting very close to the rink, so you have to be careful with the view.” However, he realizes that the CH group will have to invest “about ten million” to replace it “in the coming years”.

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

The giant screen of the Bell Center

“It goes towards 4K, 8K, 16K, and 360 degree covers. It goes fast! But our devices aren’t ready for that. This is still the logical continuity after replacing the audio systems that were original.” In Display mode, people are now fed level 300 by the speakers from the top, and no speakers on stage. It was a big investment, but we put on a bid, too. ”

Finally, an exclamation point to visit: the popular VIP district, a novelty the public has yet to see. In 5H Upstairs, several boxes were dismantled to create a lounge area, with restaurant tables and chairs spaced wider.

Old Capacity: 21302

New Capacity: 21105

“Before,” Trotier recalls, “we only had two types of tickets: chests and regular tickets.” We didn’t have that, places where people could socialize and communicate. The trend everywhere is to offer different products. ”

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

Mythology Wall

Expert opinion

Leanings. ”This is where it can get stuck. Let’s give the floor to Richard Legendre. The former Minister in Landry’s government said,“ Your neglect comes from competition. ”

“When we decided to renovate the tennis court, it wasn’t collapsing! Mission accomplished. But we knew we would lose our place if we kept the old court, because Cincinnati, Miami and New Haven had new stands.”

As we have seen, the Bell Center is not collapsing. But what about the trends?

The future is mixed uses. You combine business, residential and leisure.

Bruno Delorme is Professor of Management at McGill and Concordia Universities

The observation of management professor Bruno Delorme leads us to look outside – not the strength of the Bell Center. The neighborhood became unknown 10 years ago. The lousy car park north of the runway has ended. Dilapidated buildings on the south side have become Tour des Canadiens 2, but the popularity of short-term rentals hasn’t made it a flamboyant neighborhood, let’s face it.

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

The exterior of the Bell Center

“At that time, there were six teams. Your chances of winning the cup were good. With 32 teams, athletes, you might see a trophy in your life! Professor Delorme recalls. You have to take the match results away from the experience and create an environment that people want to go in. They try to.” Doing it with flats, but that doesn’t lift much. ”

However, we will have to see the impact of the end of the epidemic and the action – there are still many orange signs as we passed – on the neighborhood.

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

Work is also continuing outside the Bell Center

In the arena, too, there are certain trends that Canadians are difficult to follow. Even Daniel Trotier admits that he envies the new arenas in Edmonton and Detroit, in particular, which have created areas where viewers can see the tunnel that connects the locker room to the rink. “We have space to do that. The problem is that we will have to sacrifice seats,” he explains.

For Richard Legendre, longevity is primarily due to two criteria: location and capacity. “When these are basically good things, and you don’t have to adjust them, then you are fine.”

The location, right in the city center, is hard to beat, with highways, train station, two metro stations, and the future Metropolitan Express Network station nearby. As for capacity, many crammed rooms solve the question.

“Look at the Percival-Molson stadium, the Aloys were sold year after year, at 20 thousand, rose to 25 thousand, and the march was high, as Richard Legendre recalls. At the start of the bell center, we did not fill 21,000 [sièges]We asked ourselves, “Codonk, have we increased too much?” Ultimately, the ability is relevant. ”

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

Work continues within the Bell Center.

So, life expectancy? With an investment of more than $ 100 million over the past five years, Jeff Molson is not ready to make a move. Daniel Trotier thinks Canadians have at least another 20 years to go. “The Bell Center has been design great from the start. It’s in good condition, of good quality and we can make it grow.”

Richard Legendre: “Before, we’d say stadiums lasted 40 years, so the Peel Center would be 60% of its life span. I don’t have that feeling.”

Photo by Bernard Brawlt, press

Morris Richard statue is located near the entrance to the Bell Center.

Bruno DeLorm also understands that the Bell Center is aging well. But what is missing is a spirit. What are the important events that we remember? Pull out the previous stars’ sweater? Back against the Rangers? Some playoffs? There is nothing as eye catching as the forum. ”

Perhaps a newer Stanley Cup banner from 1993 helps in this direction.

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