Stanley Cup champion Raymond Bourque reopens Montreal – Montreal arena of the same name
The moment when the inhabitants of Saint-Laurent were two years in the making, finally arrived on Saturday. The recently renovated Raymond Bourque arena has officially reopened to the public, with a VIP on hand for the inauguration.
It’s a day nine-year-old Costa Dracopulos will never forget.
“This is definitely going to go into the wall,” said Costa Dracopulos, holding up his autographed hockey shirt.
The young hockey player was one of dozens of fans clamoring for an autograph from famer Raymond Bourque’s hockey hall.
“I actually made my number from him, number 77, so I asked him to sign my number,” Dracopulos told Global News.
The local legend visits his birthplace Saint-Laurent to reopen his arena of the same name. When Bourque saw the tribute to him at the entrance, he was overcome with emotion.
“My wife and I looked at each other and we had teary eyes and that said it all. So I was really taken back. It’s an incredible honor and privilege,” Bourque said.
Built in 1968, the arena was originally called the Saint-Laurent Arena. It was later renamed the former Boston Bruins captain in 1990. The Stanley Cup champion grew up playing in the original arena.
“I know I’ve used it a lot and it was a key for me to get where I came from and to live the dream I wanted,” Bourque said.
The $28.8 million dollar renovation includes multiple improvements, such as updating the two major ice rinks and locker rooms.
“We wanted to build it for the next 50 years. We have been able to reduce energy consumption by 40%. It’s done to Leed Silver’s standard,” said Alan DeSousa, mayor of Saint-Laurent.
Olympic hockey champion Kim St-Pierre took part in the grand reopening party. The native of Saint-Laurent was appointed ambassador to promote exercise and sports for children and their families.
“I grew up in the sport and it has brought me so much. Yes, I have to go to the Olympics, but for me it’s more than going to the Olympics. So I really want to give the kids the opportunity to be active,” says St-Pierre.
Bourque hopes the new facility will inspire the next generation to perhaps lift a Stanley Cup of their own.
“Who knows what will come out of this or this rink in the future, and that’s what it’s all about,” Bourque added.