Canadian | At least one game behind closed doors, then at reduced capacity

The Montreal Canadiens played again in an empty arena. He will find his supporters after the holidays, but he will not be able to welcome them all.

Simon Olivier Lorang

Simon Olivier Lorang

The Quebec government has announced that the capacity of stands in the province will be reduced by 50% starting Monday. This requirement is part of a major tightening of health measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19 cases. However, Thursday night’s game at the Bell Center was shown behind closed doors.

Just before 5 p.m., season ticket holders received an email informing them that the game against the Philadelphia Flyers would be played without spectators. However, the letter indicated that this action only pertains to this game. This minimal notice was inevitable: the organization claims it had to respond very quickly after receiving a request from Quebec Public Health at the end of the afternoon.

The fate of the final 2021 game, scheduled for Saturday against the Boston Bruins, is yet to be determined. Al-Kindi is due to post an update on this on Saturday morning.

However, we can wonder if that duel will ever happen: Early Thursday evening, the Bruins saw the number of their players subject to the NHL’s planned COVID-19 monitoring protocol increase to seven, as well as two members of . their employees. The team was playing against the Islanders on Long Island Thursday night and had already warned that they would be spending an extra night in New York to delay their entry into Canada. Any positive case detected north of the border would in effect require the person in question to observe quarantine before returning to the United States.

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Either way, the Canadian will play his next six games on the road and not be home until January 4. It will then play in a container that is assumed to be half full.

Several teams in the paddock are currently dealing with small to large outbreaks — Calgary Flames have so far put 17 names on the COVID-19 protocol. No CH player is currently infected with the Coronavirus. Brendan Gallagher and Sami Nico recently had to leave his entourage after being hired, but they have since resumed training. They can play from Monday.


The boxing party organized by the Yvon Michel Group (GYM) should also take place on Fridays at the Bell Center. Boxers Marie-Yves Dekaere and Artur Petterbiev are the headlines this evening.

“At the moment, the concert plans have not changed. Promoter Yvonne Michel wrote on Twitter until proven otherwise.

If the event’s survival was not previously threatened, it is not clear whether spectators would attend. And if so, how many will be accepted.

The party was planned as a “stage” in front of a maximum of 5,000 people. Even if all tickets were sold out, that number would be about a quarter of the grandstand capacity.

Meanwhile, the Quebec Junior Hockey League has only one day of activities on its schedule before a 10-day break. The five matches held in the province on Saturday will be shown in front of the usual fans. A spokesperson for the circuit management wrote that the teams will meet over the weekend to assess the situation and will remain in contact with public health.

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Asked about events planned at arenas or performance venues across the county over the weekend, Ds “Discussions” will take place, Horacio Arruda, the national director of public health, said.

“We have not put forth evidence of everything that is going to happen,” he said during a government press conference. In the Bell Center special case, “we acted exceptionally quickly.” Regarding other places, “we will assess the risks.”

Towards the end of the evening, Major League Soccer’s Habs school club Laval Rocket announced that their Friday game, against the Providence Bruins, would also be played behind closed doors.


Having played the entire 2020-2021 season behind closed doors, CH were able to reconnect with their supporters last May; 2,500 people were accepted as of game number 6 in the series between the Montrealers and the Toronto Maple Leafs. A few weeks later, the capacity was increased to 3,500, as the Federation Final against the Vegas Golden Knights began.

The organization then lodged protests with Quebec so that 10,500 spectators could be admitted to the Bell Center. A few days before the start of the Stanley Cup Final, France-Marguerite Belanger, now head of sports and entertainment at Groupe CH, made a public appeal during a media release. However, Public Health denied this request.

This season has been contested so far in front of the crowded halls – almost well, because despite the 21,302 seats available, an average of 19891 people passed through the turnstiles for the club’s 15 domestic matches. It was, however, the highest total in the NHL.

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In a written statement said Mr.I Bellanger noted, Thursday evening, that no cases of COVID-19 have been reported among spectators at the amphitheater since they returned to the building last summer.

“We are proud of the work our teams have accomplished since the reopening of the Bell Center. We will maintain our standards of excellence,” she concluded.

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