By 1898, the sport of ice hockey had become popular as both a participation sport and spectator sport in Winnipeg. Until this time, most ice hockey had been played on the rinks of curling clubs in Winnipeg. The Auditorium was built at a cost of about $20,000. Construction was financed by a group of very prominent businessmen, among them E. L. Drewry, proprietor of the Redwood and Empire Brewery, F. W. Stobart of Stobart and Sons (dry goods), J. H. Ashdown of Ashdown’s Hardware, and A. M. Nanton, partner in the financial firm of Osler, Hammond, and Nanton.
The wood structure held an ice surface measuring 200 feet (61 m) by 80 feet (24 m), following the regulation size of the Victoria Rink in Montreal. The Auditorium could seat about 2000 spectators for hockey, plus standing room. Over the years it was renovated and expanded to hold over 3500. The facility also contained a coat check room, a ladies’ room and four or five dressing rooms. In the basement, under the ice, were four bowling alleys.
The arena was used primarily for ice hockey until it was destroyed by fire in 1926. In 1931, a new "Winnipeg Civic Auditorium" was constructed. This was not a sports venue, but a music and theatre space. The Shea's Amphitheatre, constructed in 1909, seating 5000, served Winnipeg until the construction of the Winnipeg Arena in the 1950s.
The arena was used by the Manitoba Hockey Association, as the home rink of the Winnipeg Victorias, Winnipeg Hockey Club and Winnipeg Rowing Club. The rink was used in 1902 for a Stanley Cup challenge series between the Victorias and the Toronto Wellingtons. In 1907, it was used for the Stanley Cup challenge series between the Kenora Thistles and the Montreal Wanderers.
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