Quebec is tempering expectations of the National Hockey League (LNH) that hopes all Canadian teams, including the Montreal Canadiens, will soon be able to play in full yards.
While confirming that the start of the season for the Habs and Vancouver Canucks will take place in front of limited crowds, Assistant Commissioner Gary Pittman, Bill Daly, expressed optimism for the future.
“Hopefully we’ll have full-capacity yards in our seven Canadian cities very soon,” he said recently in a taped interview for the “32 Tricky” podcast.
Checks Done: Quebec Public Health does not envisage any relaxation in the coming weeks, with the goal of “maintaining the capacity of the health network”.
“Many hospitals are already operating at full capacity, and Quebec is currently experiencing a shortage of health workers and those still available are exhausted. In addition, more than 600 cases have been registered daily for several weeks and a daily increase in hospitalizations”, explained the Ministry of Health and Social Services ( MSSS) via email this week.
The ministry confirmed that no discussion has taken place with the Montreal Canadiens Organization and the General Directorate of Public Health. Same story with the office of the Minister in charge of Sports, Isabelle Charest, who said she had not had any discussion with the CH group.
The Canadian club’s inaugural game of the 2021-2022 season is scheduled to begin on October 16. On this occasion, the Habs will welcome the New York Rangers to the Bell Center and, for the first time, young Quebec sensation Alexis Lafrenière, first choice in the 2020 NHL Draft.
Currently, the spectator limit has been set at 7,500 people in the stands, provided that they are separated into areas of 500 places with independent entrances. A vaccination permit is also required.
The CH group did not provide answers to our questions, specifically whether it had taken steps in the hope of seeing Public Health increase the number of spectators allowed at the Bell Center.
More amateurs in Ontario
In Ontario, the maximum capacity for indoor sporting events will increase by 50%, to 10,000 fans, according to several media outlets published Friday, hours after an official government announcement. This number has so far been limited to 1,000 spectators, or 50% of the stadium’s capacity.
In Vancouver, Rogers Arena is still limited to 50% of its capacity. In Alberta, both Edmonton Oilers and Calgary Flames will be able to play full yards even when the province’s health care system is on the verge of collapse, hard hit by the fourth wave of COVID-19.
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