NDG Hockey began in the 1930’s as a loose association of park leagues run by the city. Each local park made up teams, some of which were in house leagues and others that played against each other. In those days, all you needed to play hockey was a stick, some skates and old newspapers wrapped around your legs for padding. There were no indoor arenas in the area, so the hockey season pretty much ended when the snow melted. The city scheduled the inter-park games and the individual parks scheduled house-league games. This system was in place until the construction of Confederation arena (now the Doug Harvey arena) in 1966. For the next six to seven years, hockey was played both indoors and outdoors. In 1973, the local park associations got together and formed the NDG Sports Association, which later became NDG Minor Hockey. However, each individual park still continued to run its own teams. These park leagues were surprisingly large, and some of the individual parks had as many as 400 participants playing hockey. Competition between the parks was fierce.
It was not until 1985 that the parks began to merge their teams in order to insure balance among the teams and to be more competitive with teams from other parts of the city. The first teams to merge were the Novices, which was mainly an instructional division. The Atoms then followed them and by 1990, all the park teams were finally merged into the NDG Minor Hockey Association. Paul Carrier was its first president, and then, as now, a dedicated group of volunteers served to promote the local hockey scene. Prominent among these individuals were Bill Hurst, Ernie Lidbetter, Norman Trudeau, Jim Slater, Franck Mack and Jack Wallace.
The Maroons and Double Letter Hockey
In the early 1970s, it was felt that there was enough hockey talent in NDG to form AA teams and a group within the NDG organization began to work towards that goal. The dream became a reality in 1974 with the formation of the legendary Maroons. Dick Brady was the first president of the Maroons and both Pierre Robin and Bill Hurst served later as presidents and both were actively involved in double letter hockey. The Maroons were successful both on a competitive level and in developing players. Some such as Sergio Momesso, Brian Johnson, Bill Campbell, Gordon Donnelly and Steven Fletcher went on to play in the NHL, and many others played in the QMJHL and other leagues. The Maroons were “special” and there was a great deal of pride and spirit in those early teams. But, in 1981, the provincial government decreed, in a general reorganization, that the Maroons would have to merge with the Ville-Emard Hurricanes to form a new team, the Hurons, a compromise name from the “Hur” of the Hurricanes and the “ons” of the Maroons. A new organization was formed to administer the teams and NDG participation in double letter hockey went into a slow decline. Fewer and fewer NDG players went into double letter hockey. In the early 1990s, under President Larry Galletti, members of the NDG Minor Hockey Association, many of them ex-Maroons, decided to revitalize double letter hockey in NDG. More players were now being sent to the double letter tryout camps and volunteers from our area began to participate in the Zone 1-hockey committees. The Hurons organization was re-organized in 1996 with the full participation of NDG Hockey. NDG is proud and happy to be a strong and equal partner in the Hurricanes organization.