Professional hockey was in its infancy in the autumn of 1909 when the promoters behind the National Hockey Association, forerunner of the National Hockey League, created the Montreal Canadiens team to attract French-Canadian spectators. Belleville-born Jean-Baptiste “Jack” Laviolette was hired as the playing-manager and captain. Laviolette signed Cornwall’s Édouard “Newsy” Lalonde to play forward and recruited his friend Didier “Cannonball” Pitre from the Renfrew Creamery Kings (Renfrew Millionaires) as a defenceman. This trio of francophone players formed the nucleus of the roster for several seasons and led the Canadiens to their first Stanley Cup championship in 1916. They played with such speed and finesse that sportswriters began calling them “The Flying Frenchmen”, establishing the Canadians’ trademark playing style for generations. Laviolette retired in 1918, the Canadians traded Lalonde to the Saskatoon Crescents in 1922 and Pitre retired in 1923. All three were later inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame for their part in establishing a legendary hockey franchise.
– Ontario Heritage Trust
GPS Co-ordinates: 44° 11’ 15.13” N 77° 23’ 01.53” W (44.18750000, -77.38277778)
Street Address: 265 Cannifton Road
Located outside the west door of the Quinte Sports & Wellness Centre, also known as the CAA Arena. The arena is the home of the Belleville Senators of the professional American Hockey League (AHL). Right: Jack Laviolette.
Similar plaques are also located in Cornwall and Renfrew.