The sacred game
If hockey is a religion in Montréal, then the Bell Centre is its temple. The 82-game NHL regular season includes 41 home ice games at the 21,302-capacity Bell Centre, where the Montréal Canadiens moved in 1996 from former epicentre of Habs hockey awesomeness in the city, the Montréal Forum. (The Forum is now an imaginatively repurposed entertainment, business and resto complex that pays innovative tribute to its former self.) The Bell Centre boasts the most electric atmosphere in the NHL, which essentially makes Montréal vibrate for six months between October and April and is unmatched anywhere else in the NHL.
A lineup that lights up
It’s never boring in Habs land, and that’s certainly true again this year with this highly talented phalanx of both new and veteran players. This year's lineup includes Nick Suzuki, Cole Caufield, Arber Xhekaj, Juraj Slafkovský, Josh Anderson, Brendan Gallagher, Alex Newhook and many more. Quebecers Rafael Harvey-Pinard, David Savard, Mike Matheson and goalkeeper Samuel Montembeault are also part of the team. It’s a well-balanced team with scoring depth and several young, hot top draft picks that put on a majorly entertaining puck rock show every time they take to the ice.
Hot tips for hot tix
The Habs are so deeply ingrained in the city’s psyche that tickets can be hard to come by — but not always impossible. In addition to single tickets, group tickets for those special occasions such as birthdays or employee events can be had at a discount depending on the size of your group. There are also 5- to 10-game packs, an exceptional family offer, and affordably priced tickets for students: special CEGEP Nights and University Nights feature reduced tickets and come with special promo offers such as free popcorn, hotdogs or beer.
Also worth noting: while many of the regular season seats are sold out before the very first faceoff, the Canadiens organization will release a certain number of tickets on game day (unused tickets that were previously reserved by the NHL or the opposing team, for example), so be sure to check the Habs official website.
Are you experienced?
And great hockey watching is made even greater by the many premium fan “experiences” the Bell Centre has on offer, from sweet suite packages, to fine pre-game dining, to behind-the-scenes guided tours and, for the ultimate fan, an equally ultimate experience encompassing all of the forementioned and more.
A particularly awesome example is the Bell Canadiens Escape, an unparalleled, award-winning experience in a hidden room in the Bell Centre. Step into the condo of Youppi! (the Canadiens’ much-loved mascot, formerly of the city’s dearly departed pro baseball team the Montreal Expos), where something mysterious happened following a visit from his equally fuzzy brother METAL! Inspired by escape games, this immersive adventure has fans conquering challenges in a total hockey universe. (Fun fact: Youppi! is in the Mascot Hall of Fame and is the first inductee to work for two teams in different pro sports.)
Named for the year the Canadiens were founded (the Habs are the longest continuously operating professional ice hockey team in the world), Club 1909 is the official points program and online portal for Canadiens fans. Anyone can join, it’s free, and you can earn points for cool Canadiens items like player bobbleheads, Habs books, retired jersey pins and more. Rewards also include access to unique and exclusive offers, like the chance to catch a game from the press gallery. Go Habs, go!