Voltigeurs


Drummondville Voltigeurs

Arena Name: Centre Marcel-Dionne
Capacity: 4000
Built: 1963
Address: 300 rue Cockburn, Drummondville, Québec, J2C 4L6
Telephone No: (819) 478-6565
Ice Surface Size: 190' X 85'
Franchise Date: 1982-83
QMJHL Championships: 1, in 2008-09
Memorial Cup Championships: None
Colours: Black, Red, Silver & White
Official Web Site: http://www.voltigeurs.ca/
Tourist Information: Tourisme Drummond
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QMJHL
Centre Marcel-Dionne
Centre Marcel-Dionne
What's the Arena Like?
Pour la version français, cliquez-ici.

My introduction to the QMJHL came in Drummondville, Quebec on January 22, 2005. My companion and I were in Eastern Ontario to take in the Knights' swing through Belleville, Peterborough, Kingston and Ottawa, playing four games in five nights. We had a free Saturday with no Knights game, and although our original plan was for a Senators game at the Corel Centre, the NHL lockout prevented that from happening. So, with a Saturday night to kill and no other bright ideas, we pointed the car at Drummondville to take in one of the QMJHL's fiercest rivalries - Drummondville vs. Victoriaville. And so it happened; as the game started, the crowd roared, and the fights broke out. Five separate fights in the first eleven seconds of the game - you could look it up. The game passed with fights, cheap shots, constant running of the goalies, taunting back and forth from the players, and a line brawl near the end of the game, and that doesn't include the fighting in the stands between the two sets of partisans that required a visit from the Sûreté du Québec to break up. Thus was my welcome to QMJHL hockey. I decided I was rather going to like it.

Once the Centre Civique, Drummondville's Centre Marcel-Dionne was later renamed for the eponymous hometown hero. Like Marcel himself, the arena is a small and colourful building. It is located in the heart of Drummondville, and its design is extremely 1960's. From the outside it is a brown brick building with a swept roof, and looks a little like Le Corbusier's famous Notre Dame du Haut cathedral at Ronchamp. The arena has a small sign and tiny parking lot and is located on the fringe between downtown and a residential area. The arena has a small front ticket office that opens into the main part of the arena.

The main arena is intimate and colourful. There are four rows of blue seats that stretch in a continous pattern completely around the ice surface, then the main concourse which is located directly in the seats. In the ends, the four rows of seating is all there are, but on the sides there are another eight rows that stretch up to the rafters at a steep angle. Those seats are yellow and red, which gives the building a vibrant colour rarely seen in modern arena design. There is also a large press box and and "suite" level above the seating gallery on one side. In one end of the rink there is the only concession in the building, which is a large cafeteria with a strange selection. The place sells enough candy to be a dentist's nightmare, as well as hard liquor and cigarettes (yes, cigarettes). However, they don't have any "real" food - don't make the same mistake that I did and think you'll eat at the game! This may have changed, though - Jean Langlois reports that in her recent visit, they had poutine, burgers, hot dogs, grilled cheese, and hot chicken for around $6. In the fourth end of the building there is one private box area that appears to be stuck Lego-style on the wall, as well as an ad that looks like a truck. It lights up and everything. Very cool.

Drummondville's peripherals are decent for an older building. The scoreclock works fine. Washrooms aren't exactly plentiful but do a good enough job with the amount of service they face. There is a small souvenir kiosk under the stands on one side. The sound system is perfectly loud enough without being annoying. There is a projection video board in one end, but it's so inadequate as to be nearly invisible. Seats are ok, they have a terrific view but are old and hard, and not particularly comfortable. The facilities for players don't quite seem to measure up though - the dressing rooms are located directly down a straight hall from the benches, which means that if you happen to be sitting across the way from the benches, you can see right into the dressing rooms when the door is open.

Fans at the Centre are loud and attending a game at Drummondville is a fun experience. Whenever the Volts score a goal, a gigantic sail is lowered from the rafters behind the opponents' goal (see photo below). It's a weird tradition, but it's neat as well. The atmosphere in the building is excellent; loud and raucous. There are little things make the building good too; the piping on the boards around the rink is done in traditional red, white and blue instead of the usual yellow. Unfortunately the staff don't quite meet up in some areas, one concessionaire tried to shortchange me on a Pepsi. I may be a dumb Anglo but I'm also cheap, and no one was screwing me out of $5! Fortunately, my imperfect command of French saved the day.

The Centre Marcel-Dionne is a building that harkens back to the old days of the QMJHL, where teams were 30 minutes from each other, played each other all the time, and hated each other. The Centre is a rowdy old barn with great atmosphere and colour, and its extremely French nature and raucous fans reminds you of the days before the Maritimes got in on the game. It's an insane building, it feels older than its 40 years, and it is well worth a visit for a glimpse of old-time junior hockey.

For those curious, the "Voltigeurs" were a Quebec regiment in the War of 1812. The name loosely translates as "Infantrymen" or "Riflemen".
Inside Centre Marcel-Dionne
Centre Marcel-Dionne
Future Developments
I know of no plans to renovate or replace Centre Marcel-Dionne.

How To Get There

From the Trans-Canada Highway (Autoroute 20):
Exit at Boulevard St-Joseph and proceed east into town. Make a left on rue Cockburn. The arena will be on your right. The route there from the highway is reasonably well-signed.

Parking is on-site.
The Sail at Centre Marcel-Dionne
Drummondville Civic Centre
Franchise History
The Voltigeurs began as an expansion team in 1982-83.
Retired Numbers
12 Steve Chartrand
14 Daniel Briere
14 Ian Laperriere
18 Steve Duchesne
21 Denis Gauthier
22 Guillaume Latendresse
61 Derick Brassard
Local Rivals
In the last throwback to the old QMJHL of short bus rides and gritty rivalries, the Victoriaville Tigres are only about twenty minutes away. The two teams hate each other. Other rivals include nearby teams like Shawinigan.

Feedback

If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at email and I'll update the guide.






Copyright © Kevin Jordan 2002-07.
All rights reserved.
Last Revised: September 14, 2007