Gatineau Olympiques

Arena Name: Arena Baribeau
Capacity: Unknown
Built: 1970
Last Game: 2021
Closed: 2022
Address: 231, rue Magnus est, Gatineau, QC, J8P 5B1
Ice Surface Size: Regulation


 Arena Baribeau

Baribeau Arena

 What's the Arena Like?

The widespread shutdown of sports across the country and around the world as a result of the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic was not something one would have predicted. Of the three leagues that make up the CHL, only one resumed play in a bubble as of the start of the 2020-21 season, and the biggest news development from that time is that the Gatineau Olympiques were rendered homeless. Robert Guertin Arena was commandeered by the province to use as an emergency homeless shelter, with the Olympiques' resumption of play being understandably far down any list of priorities. With few other options and their new arena not finished, the Olympiques moved into the Baribeau Arena for 2020-21.

I went to Baribeau Arena in January of 2023 and was mildly surprised to discover it was permanently closed - with the city's opening of the nearby Complexe Branchaud-Brière and the Slush Puppie Centre, both of which have multiple pads of ice, Baribeau and a few other arenas in town were rendered redundant. What I found there (in a driving snowstorm that made photography challenging) was a white-walled community rink in a residential neighbourhood. The old rink was locked tight, and in fact there were multiple graffiti tags on the exterior surface, making it clear that this was a disused old barn. While it was still standing as of January 2023, I am told the city is planning to demolish it for housing once the weather warms up.

Even later, I learned that the pandemic use of Baribeau Arena wasn't the first that the Olympiques played there. The team played six regular season games there in the 1977-78 season as the result of a municipal strike. While I never got inside, from photos, there was an L-shaped bank of seating on the north and west sides of the ice. No fans ever saw the team play there, and when the 2022-23 season resumed, it was at the Centre Slush Puppie. And if there had to be a global pandemic, at least we got a couple more wacky new buildings out of the loss of junior hockey for a season in 2020-21.

 Inside Arena Baribeau

Arena Baribeau

 What's the Arena Used for Today?
Baribeau Arena closed in 2022 and demolition is apparently imminent. The site will be redeveloped as housing.

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Last Revised: January 29, 2023