A coworker of mine - who's not a Canadiens fan - once told me that while he watched the closing ceremonies of the Forum. He felt it was conducted as a religious service. I replied by stating "hey, it's the ultimate shrine of hockey."
He vehemently disagreed. I respected that. The debate was identifying what makes a building a shrine. While I certainly have no objection in considering Maple Leaf Gardens, Chicago Stadium, Boston Garden, MSG or the old Olympia as shrines.
In my humble opinion, you have can have many shrines. But, only one facility can sit atop the list. As in the case with baseball. Yes, Dodger Stadium, Wrigley Field, Fenway Park, Comiskey Park and Tiger Stadium were all very special venues. However, Yankee Stadium is the ultimate building with its tradition and aura. I don't cheer for the Yankees.
Getting back to hockey. I would ask, how anyone could justify classiying one of the other five (aforementioned) rinks as the ultimate shrine of hockey - rather than the Forum? Which, opened its doors in November of 1924 and closed in March of 1996.
When I think of classic/historical moments at the Forum from 1970-1986. I don't have to mention a game from the Stanley Cup Finals. That, in itself, would add to this lengthy list. Let alone the great games from the Original Six era.
(1) Stars/Canadiens (Beliveau becomes fourth NHLer to score 500 goals) - Feb. 1971
(2) Inaugural game of the Summit Series - Sept. 1972
(3) Scouts/Canadiens (Lafleur becomes third Hab to score 50 goals) - March 1975
(4) Red Army/Canadiens (New Year's Eve) - Dec. 1975
(5) Czechoslovakia/Canada (deciding Canada Cup Final went into OT) - Sept. 1976
(6) Bruins/Canadiens (too many men incident) - May 1979
(7) First arena to host the Entry Draft - June 1980
(8) Nordiques/Canadiens (two bench clearing brawls) - April 1984
(9) Red Wings/Canadiens (Roy tells Corey he wants out) - Dec. 1995