The Montreal Canadiens will open the 2021-2022 NHL season with a full house.
For the first time in 18 months, the Bell Centre will be permitted to function at full capacity. The Quebec government announced on Thursday the easing of certain COVID-19 restrictions, including that theatres, cinemas, and indoor events with assigned seating can return to full capacity.
That means the Canadiens will be able to fill all 21,302 seats starting October 8.
The maximum capacity had been set at 3,500 for last season’s Stanley Cup Finals and increased to 7,500 for the preseason, in accordance with Quebec’s capacity guidelines.
— Canadiens Montréal (@CanadiensMTL) September 30, 2021
The Habs will open up the regular season with consecutive road games on October 13 (in Toronto) and October 14 (in Buffalo) before returning home on October 16 to host the New York Rangers, the first of four straight home games at what will presumably be a very loud Bell Centre.
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All fans entering the Bell Centre will be required to show their COVID-19 vaccine passport and wear a face mask.
“We are obviously very happy with the government’s decision to allow us to operate at full capacity again,” says the President of Sports and Entertainment of Groupe CH, France Margaret Bélanger. “t goes without saying that this is great news for all the culture, entertainment and sports industries which have been hit hard by the pandemic.”
Bélanger says besides being obviously excited, the venue will “make sure to maintain the standards of excellence in terms of health measures to ensure a return to normality with respect to security.”