Major


St. Michael's Majors

Arena Name: St. Michael's College Arena
Capacity: 1617
Built: 1956
Last Game: 2007
Address: 1515 Bathurst Street, Toronto, Ontario, M5P 3H4
Telephone No: (416) 651-8228
Ice Surface Size: 180' X 80'
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OHL
St. Michael's College Arena
St Michael's College Arena
What Was the Arena Like?
St. Michael's College Arena was a Junior "B"-sized arena forced to host the OHL for nearly a decade while team ownership tried in vain to build the team a new arena somewhere in Toronto. The Majors finally moved on to Mississauga over the summer of 2007, which ended the speculation and finally solved the problem of having the GTA overcrowded with franchises. And while the College Arena was a great, fun and intimate place to watch hockey, the league is better off now that it's finally and for good been moved into the "former arena" category.

The St. Michael's College Arena was built in 1956 on the campus of St. Michael's College (a private Catholic school) in northwestern Toronto, and originally was an outdoor rink! Eventually a roof was put on and today it has a half-cylinder shape and is tiny from the outside and smaller from within. The facade is brick and very 1950's. There is also a lovely mural at the front of the building showing several Majors playing various sports including hockey, and a large sign saying "Home of the Majors".

Once inside you almost immediately are in the main portion of the rink, as there is no concourse to speak of. There are a mere six rows of bleachers on either side of the rink and almost no seats at all in the ends. Above the ends is what looked like private boxes or a private lounge, glassed in. Above the bleachers on the sides is standing room. The Majors' tiny team store and box office were the only parts of the rink near the front door before entering the ice area. The team store, the "M-Porium", was great - it acts as a school outfitter in addition to its hockey focus, and as such it was probably the only team store in the CHL that sold ties and blazers. There is also a wood-panelled lounge and bar at one end of the rink which is even equipped with a fireplace! It's a nice touch and is an old-time hockey arena bar, not one of those new theme grills filled with overpriced disappointment. The lounge also includes some framed photos and such, one of which is a Majors advertisement which reads "These players don't fight because of the cameras. They fight because the other guy's an ass." Hilarious. There is a giant sign above one of the nets reading "St. Michael's College Arena" which is a very nice touch. The roof hovers high above the ice and an old, functional scoreboard keeps time. Washrooms are small, but they're adequate to the arena's needs. The arena has the smallest ice in the OHL, measuring at 180 X 80, or 20' shorter and 5' narrower than regulation.

Watching a game at the St. Mike's arena was an interesting experience and it was easy to forget you're watching the OHL, especially if you're used to Ottawa or London's rinks. Not only are you extremely close to the ice but you're at an angle that feels like you're hovering over it. Every heckle and shout is heard by everyone in the building. It would be very easy to lean over the glass and talk to the coaches if you were so inclined. You also have to watch for flying pucks in every location in the arena because you're so close to the ice. The view is incredible from every seat at the St. Mike's Arena.

The new incarnation of the St. Michael's Majors hasn't made a huge amount of history in their years, but the school is justifiably proud of the hockey players that have put on the blue "M" over the years. In the past the Toronto Maple Leafs owned both the original Majors and the Toronto Marlboros (now the Guelph Storm) as junior development teams. The Marlies were the home of the Leafs' Protestant prospects while the Catholic prospects played for the Majors, and as a result a friendly religious rivalry developed. Having the association with St. Michael's College was a bonus for a lot of Catholic parents because each Major got a quality private Catholic education with tuition paid by the Leafs, so if the player didn't make the NHL then he would have a quality education to fall back upon. Photographs of every St. Michael's graduate to play in the NHL are on the walls, covering an entire end of the building. Banners hang from the ceiling honouring the greatest of former Majors, including Frank Mahovlich, Tim Horton, Gerry Cheevers and Ted Lindsay. You can't ever forget the pedigree of St. Michael's history as a factory for top-quality hockey players.

St. Michael's College will always be remembered as a hockey factory that produced some of the greatest players who ever laced up the skates, but today, the league is better off for having consigned the tiny little bandbox to the history books. An unfortunate situation was allowed to blight the league for nearly a decade while a bunch of rich men fought over power, real estate, and slices of the pie. Now that the Majors have moved on to Mississauga, it will be interesting to see if any history (or fans) follow. Meanwhile, with the IceDogs in St. Catharines, the GTA is finally no longer overrepresented. The league is better off for it. But still, if you want a great, old-school hockey experience, the St. Mike's Buzzers still play home games at the lyric little bandbox on Bathurst Street.
Inside St. Michael's College Arena
St Michael's Arena

How To Get There

St. Michael's College Arena is located in downtown Toronto at the NE corner of Bathurst St. and St. Clair Avenue.

From The 401: Exit at the Allen Expressway South (just past Yorkdale Shopping Centre) and take it to the end. Turn left from the end of the Allen on to Eglinton. Turn right onto Bathurst. The entrance to the parking lot is on the left, just before the Petro Canada and St. Clair West.

From the Gardiner Exwpy: Take the Spadina exit from the Gardiner Expressway. Take Spadina north to Dundas St and turn left. Take Dundas St to Bathurst St and turn right. St. Michael's College Arena is located at 1515 Bathurst Street at St. Clair Avenue, directly behind St Michael's College School.

TTC: Take the subway to St. Clair West Station. Walk west on St. Clair Avenue to Bathurst St. St. Michael's College Arena is located at 1515 Bathurst Street, directly behind Loblaws.

Parking? Good luck! The arena itself has a tiny free lot in front of the building, and if you're early enough to the game and snag one of those spots, consider yourself lucky. Otherwise you're pretty much on your own. There are a few small lots in the area, and the one saving grace of those is that the team doesn't draw well enough to result in a major price hike every time the Majors are at home.
Another Look Inside St. Michael's College Arena
St Mike's Arena
What's It Used For Today?
St. Michael's College Arena is used today for minor hockey and is also home to the Junior A St. Michael's Buzzers.

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: July 2, 2007