Young and speedy Habs charge into new season
This article was updated on November 14, 2018.
Hockey in Montréal is, in a word, sacred. It’s an almost religious fervour that the Montreal Canadiens’ fans reserve for their beloved Habs, short for “Les Habitants.” Indeed, what other team has had a Saint-Patrick (Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy) or a Sainte-Flanelle (referring to the team’s “holy” jersey)? Fingers crossed that the hockey gods are smiling once more as the 24-time Stanley Cup champions take to the ice for what is shaping up to be an exciting 2018-’19 campaign.
Where hockey craziness lives
The 82-game NHL regular season includes 41 home ice games at the 21,273-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 National Hockey League (NHL). It lends itself to great hockey watching, 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 a bucket-list Ultimate Experience, to behind-the-scenes guided tours and more.
The puck drops on new-look Habs season
It’s never boring in Habs land, and that’s certainly true again this year with the addition of a highly talented phalanx of young and lightning-fast forwards. These include sniper Max Domi (son of former Toronto Maple Leafs bruiser Tie Domi), Finnish phenom-in-the-making Jesperi Kotkaniemi and countrymen Joel Armia and Artturi Lehkonen), as well as Québec-born fan favourites Charles Hudon and Phillip Danault. They joined veteran Habs stars like hard-charging leader-on-the-ice Brendan Gallagher, goal-tending superstar Carey Price and newly minted Habs captain and defense legend Shea Weber.
Don’t have tickets? Don’t despair
The Habs are so deeply ingrained in the city’s psyche that tickets can be hard to come by. While the majority of regular season seats are sold out before the very first face-off, 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. Failing that, season ticket holders also put unused tickets up for purchase on the team’s only sanctioned resale site, the Ticket Vault.
Join the club!
Named for the year the Canadiens were founded (fun fact: 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 signed pucks, a commemorative Carey Price plaque or a Habs backpack. Rewards also include access to unique and exclusive experiences, like the chance to catch a game from the press gallery or enjoy free food and drinks while watching from the one-of-a-kind Renaissance Montreal Loft (which even has its own swing) up in the rafters of the Bell Centre. Go Habs, go!
Jamie O’Meara, blogger
Jamie O’Meara is a writer for The Montreal Gazette, C2 Montréal, Moment Factory and more. He also manages the PR Team at the Just For Laughs Comedy Festival and is the former Editor-in-Chief of alt-weekly newspaper HOUR Magazine.
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