The Canadian had stretched the rubber band as far as possible by delaying his return to the Bell Center. This strategy, developed in collusion with the NHL and made possible by the dangerous outbreak of positive COVID-19 cases in December within the team, was to buy time.
But there is a limit to slowing down the hourglass. CH will return on Tuesday from a very long seven-game trip on opposing rinks, having crossed the US with stops in Boston, Chicago, Glendale, Dallas, Vegas, Denver and St. Paul.
The reunion at the Bell Center will be held as confidentially as possible. France-Marguerite Belanger, Head of Sports and Entertainment for CH Group, confirmed what she had suspected for several days.
“I regret to announce that we will be playing our next three matches behind closed doors at the Bell Center,” said Ms. Bellanger in an interview with Le Journal. We will contact all our fans who have tickets for these three meetings to offer them a refund or exchange.
CH will return to Montreal on Thursday to visit the Anaheim Ducks. So there will be no spectators in the stands to witness the ingenuity of young men Trevor Zegras and Jimmy Drysdale.
After the ducks, the Edmonton Oilers and Columbus Blue Jackets will land at the Bell Center on Saturday and Sunday. During their only visit to Quebec, Conor McDavid and Leon Drystel will trample the ice of the Bell Center in complete silence. So there would be no danger of seeing a follower of Oilers, even if they are rare in Montreal, throw the team jersey on the ice.
As for the Blue Jackets team, it should be noted that Max Domi will not have the opportunity to salute his former supporters. He moved to Columbus in October 2020 for winger Josh Anderson, and Domy has yet to face his former team. However, there are very few fans who would be sad not to receive a standing ovation for Ty’s son.
It wouldn’t be his first Canadian experience without spectators this season. On December 16, the date of the last game at the Bell Center, the Canadians closed their grandstand doors at the last minute, in accordance with public health guidance in Quebec. The CH team defeated the Pilots 3 to 2 in a penalty shootout.
However, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Like the rest of society, Al-Kindi expects an easing of security measures from the Quebec government.
We have a small match for February. We have postponed the February 1 meeting. After the match on January 30, our next meeting will take place on February 8. We have had several discussions with the government for the supporters to return but nothing is clear yet. There may be news Positive for January 31 or shortly thereafter.
CH would like to review the percentage of supporters from February. Within the management of the team, we repeatedly mentioned to the government of François Legault the fact that the outbreak in the Bell Center was not recognized and that sanitary measures such as wearing a mask were always applied.
In Ottawa, the team geographically closest to Montreal, the Senators will also play their next three games (Cypress on January 25, Hurricanes on January 27 and duck on January 29) behind closed doors. As of January 31, Sens will be able to receive 500 supporters. We aim to return 50% of the capacity of the Canadian Tire Center from February 21st.
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