For many years, Richard Allard, had spoken to me about his hometown of Chapeau and Fred’s Hotel (which you see in the background above).
He had often talked about Rollie and
the legendary Silver Beaver Tour.
When the Chapeau arena was finally opened in the mid 90‘s, Richard arranged for the Laval Teachers Hockey Club to join the February hockey tournament. It became an annual event for the LTHC. Each year, we stayed at the hotel and were treated very well by everyone including Rollie Meilleur.
After last call, when Rollie would finally get everyone (all the locals) out of the bar, many of us ‘hangers-on’ had the privilege of getting to know Rollie a little better since we were staying in the hotel. I personally felt a bond with Rollie and although we would only see each other once a year, I regarded him as an old friend, mainly because he treated me that way.
When I heard of his untimely death in July 2002, I, like everyone he knew, felt a deep sense of loss. I realized those special moments with Rollie would never be repeated. Fortunately, I captured some of those moments on video and I have assembled them in a tribute to the Chapeau Legend - Rollie Meilleur. I hope this will make you remember some of the happy times you spent with him.
Happy Trails, Rollie
The above text is from the cover of a video montage I made in Rollie's memory. It was the first video production I had done using my computer. I had made 5 copies for the family and I showed it at a benefit concert in his memory. (click here for details of that concert). Many that watched the 12 minute video wanted a copy. I ended up making over 40 VHS copies, some even going to the U.S. to people who had met Rollie in Chapeau while on a hunting trip. Rollie touched the lives of an incredible amount of people which was proven both at his funeral and at his benefit concert. He was generous, kind and he loved a good laugh. I cherish the few times we had together, and boy, did we laugh. If you are ever in Chapeau, drop in at Fred's hotel. You can still feel his spirit. Odie (the new owner of the hotel and bar) has a special wall dedicated to Rollie and the sign outside has an inukshuk in the shape of an 'R' on it.