|Former names||Molson Centre, Centre Molson (1996–2002)|
|Location||1260 Rue de la Gauchetière Ouest Montreal, Quebec H3B 5E8|
|Broke ground||June 22, 1993|
|Opened||March 16, 1996|
|Owner||Gillett Entertainment Group|
|Construction cost||$270 million|
|Capacity||Ice Hockey: 21,273|
Theatre: 5,000 to 9,000
Full Capacity: 14,000 to 21,500
Hemicycle: 2,000 to 3,000
|Montreal Canadiens (NHL) (1996-present)|
Montreal Impact (National Professional Soccer League II
The Bell Centre, formerly known as the Molson Centre, has been the home of the Montreal Canadiens since March 16, 1996, when they hosted the New York Rangers (a game which the Canadiens won 4–2). The team departed from the historic Montreal Forum after their last game on March 11 of the same year. Construction began on the site on June 22, 1993, 13 days after the Canadiens defeated the Los Angeles Kings at the Forum for their 24th and most recent Stanley Cup. The name of the arena initially reflected Molson, Inc., a beer company which was owner of the Canadiens at the time. Some members of Montreal sports media, namely Jack Todd, pushed for the nickname "The Keg" as fitting for the new arena but it was never widely adopted. Molson elected not to keep the naming rights when they sold the team and the name was officially changed on September 1, 2002, after Bell Canada acquired the naming rights.
In 2007, the arena was the busiest in Canada, 2nd in North America and 5th in the world, through paid attendance. In 2006, it was first in Canada, third in North America and fourth in the world. Since it opened in 1996, it has consistently been listed as one of the world's busiest arenas.
The Bell Centre is located in Downtown Montreal, on the corner of de la Gauchetière and de la Montagne streets. It is easily accessible by public transportation, linked to the Montreal Metro (subway) as well as to the Greater Montreal commuter train network. It is also connected to Montreal's underground city. The Bell Centre is well located due to its very close proximity to a vast array of bars and restaurants.
Arena information Edit
The building covers an area of 1.568 hectares (15,680 square metres, 168,778 square feet). It is located in downtown Montreal and is next door to Windsor station. It has a seating capacity of 21,273, making it the largest of any NHL arena. It also holds four restaurants, the most popular being La Cage aux Sports, which is one of the largest sports restaurants/bars in Montreal.
Capacities of the Centre are:
- Arena 21,273
- Amphitheatre 10,000–14,000
- Theatre 5,000–9,000
- Hemicycle 2,000–3,500
The public address announcer for the Canadiens' games is Michel Lacroix.
A new Daktronics scoreboard was installed prior of the 2008-2009 season. The new scoreboard is the biggest in the NHL.
The final two games of the three-game 1996 World Cup of Hockey championship series were held at the Bell Centre (the USA won both games, defeating Canada in the series 2–1). The Bell Centre was also host to two pool games in the 2004 World Cup of Hockey. The Bell Centre was the host of the 2009 NHL All-Star Game and will host the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.
Retired jerseys Edit
The following numbers have been retired by the Canadiens (positions in parentheses) and hang from the rafters:
- 1 Jacques Plante (G) October 7, 1995
- 2 Doug Harvey (D) October 26, 1995
- 4 Jean Béliveau (C) October 9, 1971
- 5 Bernie "Boom-Boom" Geoffrion (RW) March 11, 2006
- 7 Howie Morenz (C) November 2, 1937
- 9 Maurice "The Rocket" Richard,(RW) October 6, 1960
- 10 Guy Lafleur (RW) February 16, 1985
- 12 Dickie Moore (LW) and Yvan Cournoyer (RW) November 12, 2005
- 16 Henri Richard (C) December 10, 1975
- 18 Serge Savard (D) November 18, 2006
- 19 Larry Robinson (D) November 19, 2007
- 23 Bob Gainey (C) February 23, 2008
- 29 Ken Dryden (G) January 29, 2007
- 33 Patrick Roy (G) November 22, 2008
On October 18, 2005, the Canadiens also raised the following numbers on a single banner in honour of the former Major League Baseball team Montreal Expos, who left the city for Washington, D.C. after the 2004 season. The Nationals unretired the numbers, so the Canadiens raised a special banner honouring these baseball players:
- 8 Gary Carter
- 10 Andre Dawson and Rusty Staub
- 30 Tim Raines
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