Montreal Canadiens: Could Fans Have Gotten a Little More Notice About Not Being Allowed to Attend?

MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 02: Fans of the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QUEBEC - JULY 02: Fans of the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre. (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images) /

The Montreal Canadiens are set to face the Philadelphia Flyers tonight at the Bell Centre.

Puck drop is set for 7:00 PM EST as two of the more disappointing teams in the NHL face off in a regular season matchup.

The Canadiens were in the Stanley Cup Final last season and are firmly in the cellar of the Eastern Conference standings after two months of games being played.

The Flyers are not much better, as they also expected a playoff berth this season after some big trades brought in Cam Atkinson, Ryan Ellis, Rasmus Ristolainen and Cody Glass in the offseason. But they are five points back of the second wildcard spot in the conference and have already fired their head coach and assistant as well.

So, there were plenty of reasons to not want to go to this game already. If you chose to stay in and save a few bucks tonight, no one would have blamed you.

However, many fans were planning on going to the game, but were told less than two hours before puck drop that the doors would be locked. There will be no fans allowed in attendance at tonight’s game, much like we saw all of last season while Canadian teams played in their own conference but with no fans in the seats.

This was, of course, due to the spread of Covid-19, a deadly virus that has pretty much shut down the entire world over the past two years.

Well, yet another wave of the virus is taking control and the Quebec Government acted swiftly to shut things down to avoid the spread.

But, could they have given fans a little more time? I don’t even mean a few days to wrap their head around things. In fact, that never really made sense to me when they announce stiff protocols will be in place three days from now. Why is it safe to go out in two days but not three?

So, the fact they are acted this quickly is fine. But couldn’t they have made the announcement this morning?

In a move that is about as “social media age” as it gets, Quebec Premier Fracois Legault made an announcement this morning…. that there would be an announcement made this evening.

Was it really necessary to wait six hours and fifteen minutes between announcing that there will soon be an announcement and then actually making the announcement? Couldn’t he have just said this morning that large gatherings will not be happening anymore and the Bell Centre will be closed to fans.

At least then, fans traveling from out of town would have had a little bit of notice. Sure, it is a weekday game and promises to be a weak game based on the records of both teams, but people travel from all over the province to attend games.

There were likely plenty of fans who traveled in from out of province already, and as unfortunate as it is, there isn’t much that could have been done about that. But the fans driving to the game from Quebec City or anywhere else a couple hours away would have been halfway to Montreal when they (hopefully) heard the breaking news.

It just doesn’t make any sense to say in the morning that you will be making an announcement in the evening and then give fans less than two hours notice that they can’t attend the game.

Apparently tickets will be refunded, and season ticket holders will be credited as well. But how does that work on the secondary market? If you bought a ticket from a season ticket holder on Stubhub, who is getting that refund?

Again, that’s probably an unavoidable problem at this point. The health and safety of the general public is most important and closing the doors is for the best. It just seems like they could have easily made the announcement more than six hours earlier than they did and that has to be frustrating for a family driving towards Montreal from a few hours away.