After losing the Victoria Arena in the Great Fire of 1933, Cornwall asked for the publics opinion: Could enough money be raised to build a new arena? Given the amount of support the poll garnered, a citizen’s committee was formed in 1936 by Aaron Horovitz, Gertie Myron, Lyon Miller, and Clarence Markell. Stocks were sold at $10 a share, with a total of 2300 shareholders. The $60,000 needed to build a new arena was raised within months.
The Cornwall Community Arena officially opened on November 16, 1936. A crowd of 2,000 people attended the first game at the arena, and watched the Cornwall Flyers beat the Cornwall Canadiens 3 to 1.
In the 1940s, the Boston Bruins used Montreal as a training camp base, but in 1942, they were forced to find a new location because Montreal’s arenas were being used for military training purposes. This forced the Bruins to train in Cornwall.
On October 22, 1942, the Montreal Canadiens traveled to Cornwall to play against the Boston Bruins in an exhibition match. During his first game as a Montreal Canadian that evening, 21-year-old Maurice “the Rocket” Richard would score his first goal as a Canadien in the third period. The Canadiens won that game, 6 to 2. The following season, Richard came back to Cornwall for another match in the arena. While he was getting ready in the visitors dressing room, coach Dick Irving went to see him with some fantastic news. Maurice Richard’s wife had just given birth to a nine pound baby girl. After being congratulated by his fellow team mates, the coach handed him a jersey with the number “9” on the back. Number nine, for his nine pound baby girl. This would remain his number for his entire hockey career.
Although the Si Miller was predominantly used for hockey, it was also a “playground” for many bands in the 50s and 60s, circus shows, and Maple Leaf wrestling events (I bet many of you remember Andre the Giant!).
In February 2012, many hearts were broken. The historic Si Miller Arena was brought to the ground.
I want to dedicate this article to my Dad, who spent EVERY Thursday, some Saturdays and the odd Sunday with at the Si Miller Arena back in 2002 and 2003. His back would be sore from the wooden seats, we would get drenched because of the roof leaking in our favourite section, and I know dozens of dollars were spent on those addictive hot dogs! This ones for you, Dad!