The Border Cities Arena

  • 1924    The arena was first constructed in 1924 by the Canadian Bridge Corp, a local Windsor company, and named The Border Cities Arena. The building remains at the corner of Wyandotte street east and McDougall Avenue, in Windsor, Ontario, Canada.
  • 1925    Mandell-McGraw fight. On October 12, 1925 Sammy Mandell of Rockport, Illinois battled Phil McGraw of Detroit. The boxing match drew over 7,000 fans to the barn for its unofficial opening.
  • 1925    Farrelli-Mellow fight. Prior to the Mandell-McGraw fight, Willie Farrelli faced Johnny Mellow, also on October 12, 1925.
  • 1925    The Border Cities Arena officially opened for hockey November 26, 1925. Over 7,000 fans packed into the barn to watch the Victoria Cougars take on the New York Americans (NHL). The Victoria Cougars would go on to become the Detroit Cougars, and finally the Detroit Red Wings.
  • 1926    Detroit Cougars played their first season at Border Cities Arena. In 1926, the city of Detroit was granted an NHL franchise, however, the Olympia Stadium was only a blueprint, so the team played its first season at the Border Cities Arena. The Detroit Cougars were eventually renamed the Detroit Red Wings.
  • 1926    The Canadian Professional League was launched from the Border Cities Arena on November 15, 1926.
  • 1928    Windsor Bulldogs win their first professional title. Canadian Professional Hockey League Championship (1928-29 season).
  • 1929    Chicago Black Hawks vs. Montreal Maroons at the Border Cities Arena, after being evicted by owner of the Chicago Coliseum. On March 2, 1929 the Chicago Black Hawks used the barn as their home ice against the Montreal Maroons (1928-29 season).
  • 1930    Markham-Woods fight (boxing). Honey Boy Markham faced Chuck Woods July 2, 1930 at the Border Cities Arena. Chuck Woods debut fight.
  • 1933    Mandell-Rivers fight (boxing). Sammy Mandell faced Iowa Joe Rivers September 4, 1933 at the Border Cities Arena.
  • 1933    Woods-Rivers fight (boxing). Chuck Woods faced Iowa Joe Rivers, September 22, 1933 at the Border Cities Arena.
  • 1936    Joe Turner joins the Windsor Bulldogs as their goalie for the 1936-37 season, leading the Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) in goals-against average (1937-38 season).
  • 1939    Windsor Skate was founded in Windsor.
  • 1941    Joe Turner was drafted to the Detroit Red Wings, but only played one game before enrolling in the United States army, July 1st, 1942.
  • 1944    Sadly, Joe Turner was one of two NHL members who died in combat during World War Two.  
  • 1945    International Hockey League (IHL) is launched from the Border Cities Arena on December 5 1945. The league was founded in Windsor/Detroit consisting of four teams (Detroit Auto Club, Detroit Bright’s Boodyears, Windsor Gotfredsons, and Windsor Spitfires).
  • 1945    The Windsor Gotfredsons began skating at the Border Cities Arena as one of four members of the International Hockey League (IHL). After one season they became known as the Windsor Staffords, and two years later the Windsor Ryan Cretes. The team folded in 1950.
  • 1946    The Detroit Metal Mouldings join the IHL.

Windsor Arena Ltd.

  • 1946    The Butcher brothers, of Butcher Engineering Ltd took over the arena, renaming it the Windsor Arena Ltd.
  • 1946    Windsor Spitfires win IHL title in the Windsor Arena (1946-47 season).
  • 1947    Windsor Spitfires (OHA) began skating at the Windsor Arena, before relocating to Hamilton seven years later.
  • 1947    Marcel Pronovost joined the Windsor Spitfires (OHA), while also playing for the Detroit Auto Club team in the International Hockey League (IHL). He played 52 games in the 1947-48 season, and 51 games in 1948-49.
  • 1947 Marshall-Hodges fight. On June 11, 1947 Harry Marshall of Windsor, battled Chester Hodges of Detroit, at the Windsor Arena.
  • 1948    Hettche Spitfires win IHL tile in the Windsor Arena (1948-49 season).
  • 1948    Windsor Spitfire Earl (Dutch) Reibel beat the league record for points at the Windsor Arena in front of over 5,000 fans. Scoring 129 points (1948-49 season).
  • 1949    Detroit Red Wings vs. Windsor Spitfires. The Wings faced the Spits at the Windsor arena on February 19, 1949. Gordie Howe scored a hattrick at this exhibition game and workout that ended in a 6-5 final, win for the Wings.
  • 1951    Don Cherry joins the Windsor Spitfires, playing one season with the team (1951-52 season).
  • 1952    The Sheik takes on Bert Rudy at the Windsor Arena. Photo of the Sheik caught between the ropes appeared in Windsor Daily Star on July 11, 1953.
  • 1953    Windsor Bulldogs recreated. Coincided with the folding of the OHA’s junior A Windsor Spitfires.
  • 1954    The NHL’s Montreal Canadians faced the Windsor Bulldogs (Senior A) at the Windsor Arena on January 11, 1954, in front of over 5,000 fans.
  • 1955    Windsor Bulldogs made it to the OHA Senior leagues final.
  • 1958    Chuck Berry, The Crickets, The Diamonds, Billy Ford & the Thunderbirds, Frankie Lymon, and Danny & The Juniors performed at the Windsor Arena as part of the Alan Freed’s Big Beat Show, on April 9th, 1958.
  • 1958    First annual Ice Carnival hosted by Windsor Skate (founded 1939).
  • 1960    Windsor Bulldogs (OSHA) faced the Czechoslovakia Olympic team at the Windsor Arena in March of 1960.

The Windsor Arena

  • 1961    A group of seven businessmen purchased the arena. The group was headed by real estate agent Lou Bendo, captain of the Windsor Bulldogs hockey team.
  • 1961    Windsor Bulldogs win first league championship (1961-62 season).
  • 1962    Windsor Bulldogs win second league championship. The Bulldogs become National Champions that year when they won their first and only Allen Cup (1962-63 season).
  • 1963    Windsor Bulldogs win their first Allen Cup on April 26, 1963 in front of a crowd of over 5,000 fans at the Windsor Arena. After the game fans rushed the ice forcing Lou Bendo to climb on the Zamboni for a CKLW tv interview with Ted Lindsay.
  • 1966    Siro Martinello becomes president of Windsor Minor Hockey Association (WMHA). He held this position until his death in 1983. Siro was also the manager of the Windsor Arena.
  • 1968    Carl Perkins performs at the Windsor Arena in February of 1968.
  • 1970    Windsor Clippers win the President’s Cup Canadian Senior B lacrosse championship. The Clippers beat the New Westminster Blues at the Windsor Arena in September of 1970.
  • 1970    The Detroit-Windsor Pop Festival 1970, at the Windsor Arena featuring Frijid Pink, MC5, The Third Power, The Rationals, The Poison Oaks, and Sunday Funnies, on June 27th, 1970.
  • 1970    The Stooges, Brownsville Station, The Amboy Dukes, and SRC performed at the Windsor Arena on September 20th, 1970.
  • 1971    Windsor Warlocks lacrosse team wins the President’s Cup.
  • 1973    Windsor Warlocks lacrosse team wins the President’s Cup for the second time, moving to the Senior A level.
  • 1974    Windsor Warlocks lacrosse team won the league title but lost the Mann Cup final to the New Westminster Salmonbellies.
  • 1975    Windsor Spitfires were granted entrance into the Ontario Major Junior Hockey League (later OHL).
  • 1975    Joe Quenneville joins the Windsor Spitfires. Quenneville played with Windsor for three years, two of which he was team captain, and setting a record for a Spitfires defenceman with 27 goals and 76 assists in 66 games. His number “6” was dedicated as an “honoured number”, by the Spitfires.
  • 1978    Wayne Gretzky (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Joel Quenneville (Windsor Spitfires) played in the OHL all-star game at the Windsor Arena. On February 8, 1978, over 3,000 fans attended the game. Quenneville scored the game winning goal.
  • 1978    Joe Quenneville was selected in the first round of the 1978 NHL Amateur Draft 21st overall, beginning his NHL career with the Toronto Maple Leafs. In 1999-2000 Quenneville was named the NHL’s best coach, winning him the Jack Adams Award, and he went on to win three Stanley Cups as coach of the Chicago Blackhawks.
  • 1979    Renovations to the arena were completed. The group of owners known as the Bendo group expanded the ice surface, built concession stands, and installed plexiglass replacing the chain link fence.
  • 1979    After the Detroit Olympia Stadium closed the sound system, front doors, and over 1000 seats were added in the Windsor Arena. In 1987 the Olympia was demolished.
  • 1980    Windsor Spitfires win their Division and are the Emms Division Playoff champions.
  • 1980    Gordie Howe skates at the Windsor Arena. Gordie Howe joined Pat Boutette and Mark Renaud for a practice skate on January 11, 1980.
  • 1981    Ernie Godden set an OHL record by scoring 87 goals (1981-82 season).
  • 1981    Windsor Arena hosted the Memorial Cup Tournament in May of 1981. Cornwall Royals roster included future NHL Maple Leafs Doug Gilmore and Fred Boimistruck.
  • 1983    Windsor Arena was one of four privately owned arena’s in Canada. (Windsor Arena, Maple Leaf Gardens, London Gardens, and Montreal Form).
  • 1985    The Shrine Circus comes to the Windsor Arena (1985-2008). The Shrine Circus visited the arena twenty-three years in a row and continued to hold shows at the WFCU Centre.
  • 1985    Adam Graves joins the Windsor Spitfires (1985-86 season).
  • 1986    Adam Graves scored 45 goals for the Spitfires, leading the team to the Memorial Cup tournament. Graves was drafted to the Detroit Red Wings 22nd overall.
  • 1986    Kiev Ice Revu performed at the Windsor Arena in October of 1986. A Soviet Union skating show modeling the North American ice capades, featuring 70 of the Soviet Unions best skaters.
  • 1986    The Big Time Wrestling Show comes to Windsor Arena in December of 1986.
  • 1986    First Dinosaurs Holiday Classic Hockey Tournament (Old-timers tourney) in December of 1986.
  • 1987    Denise Benning and Lyndon Johnston perform at the 29th annual ice carnival as part of the South Windsor Figure Skating Club.
  • 1987    The World’s Biggest Shoe Sale. Over 140,000 pairs of shoes were shipped from the Maher Shoe Store in Toronto to the Windsor Arena in September of 1987.
  • 1987    Canada’s Olympic team vs. Soviet Union Selects at the Windsor Arena in December of 1987.
  • 1988    Adam Graves first season as an NHL regular, playing 56 games.
  • 1988    Windsor Spitfires are the Emms Division Playoff champions, and finalists for the Memorial Cup (1988-89 season).
  • 1989    Kenny Rogers performed at Windsor Arena in June of 1989.

The Barn

  • 1990    Arena was sold to the Corporation of the City of Windsor. The municipality upgraded the building, adding stucco to the exterior walls.
  • 1992    The first annual Dreams on Ice benefit to support the Children’s Make a Wish Foundation (Dreams on Ice 1992-2003).
  • 1993    Ed Jovanovski, born and raised in Windsor, joined the Windsor Spitfires and led all team defencemen scoring with 50 points in 62 games. He was named to the OHL’s All-Rookie and Second All-Star Teams.
  • 1994    Ed Jovanovski was selected first overall by the Florida Panthers in the 1994 NHL Entry Draft.
  • 1994    D.J. Smith joins the Windsor Spitfires (1994-95 season). In 1996 Smith was drafted to the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs, and is currently the head coach of the Ottawa Senators.
  • 1997    Fan suffers injury. On March 20, 1997, ten-year-old Chad Faulkner of Batesville Indiana, was injured when he was struck in the head by the puck at a Windsor Spitfires game. After this incident netting was installed and the glass around the ice was raised.
  • 1998    Our Lady Peace performed at the Windsor Arena in February of 1998. Over 5,000 teenagers, parents, and guardians attended the show.
  • 1998    Jennifer Robinson skated at Windsor Arena as part of the Dreams on Ice annual benefit for the Children’s Make a Wish Foundation.
  • 2000    Our Lady Peace returned to the Windsor Arena in February of 2000.
  • 2000    The Tea Party performed at the Windsor Arena in May of 2000.
  • 2002    Jennifer Robins returns to Windsor Arena for the Skate the Nation ice show (2001-2002).
  • 2002    Seats from the defunct London Gardens were added to the Windsor Arena.
  • 2005    Don Cherry & Ron MacLean joined the Windsor Wildcats girl’s team in a charity game against NHL alumni on February 20, 2005, after the girls tragic bus crash in January of the same year.
  • 2008    The Windsor Spitfires played their last game at the Windsor Arena December 4, 2008.
  • 2009    The University of Windsor Lancer’s men’s and women’s teams took over the rink.
  • 2012    The Lancer’s played their last hockey game in the Windsor Arena in March.
  • Will the story continue?

Hockey League Summary:

Ontario Hockey Association (OHA) Founded in 1890, by Arthur Stanley. OHA is the governing body for the majority of junior and senior level ice hockey teams in the Province of Ontario.

Ontario Senior Hockey Association (OSHA) amateur or semi-professional ice hockey competition. No age restrictions for Senior player (1900-1990s)

National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America. Founded in 1917, after the suspension of operations of its predecessor, the national Hockey Association (NHA).

Ontario Major Junior Hockey League (OMJHL) founded in 1933 with the partition of junior A and B.  In the 1970’s the OMJHL split away from the OHA joining the Canadian Junior Hockey League.

International Hockey League (IHL) was a minor professional ice hockey league in the United States and Canada that operated from 1945-2001, serving as the National Hockey League’s alternate farm system to the American Hockey League (AHL).

Ontario Hockey League (OHL) Founded in 1980, the OHL is one of three major junior ice hockey leagues which constitute the Canadian Hockey League. (players aged 16-21).