The Canadians are 5-0 and new commitments to the Bell Centre are the talk of the town
Last Thursday, the Montreal Canadiens played their first home game of the season where they defeated the New York Rangers 3-0.
The game was filled with early penalties and incredible saves by goaltenders Carey Price and Henrik Lundqvist that kept fans on the edge of their seats. However, it was what occurred prior to puck drop that was most meaningful.
The Habs held their annual passing of the torch ceremony where all the passion, respect and pride that the Canadiens organization embodies is represented by a single flame. The flame is handed down from old timers and legends to the current team.
This year, the torch was passed from Habs alumnus and ex-coach Guy Carbonneau to new captain Max Pacioretty, who held it high above his head at centre ice as the crowd rose to their feet. All of the players on the 2015-2016 roster were then introduced individually to raise the torch.
Loud cheers emerged from the crowd as they met the team who has gone undefeated since then. Cheers were extra loud for fan favorites Brendan Gallagher, PK Subban and for Carey Price, who was the last player to be passed the flame.
Captaincy appears to be suiting Pacioretty well as he has been a major contributor to the Habs early success. The team has set a franchise record with four wins on the road to start the season and set another record by going 5-0-0. In the first five games, Pacioretty scored four goals and had two assists, proving that he can be a true leader.
On Wednesday, the Canadiens president and CEO Geoff Molson announced that the organization is investing close to $100 million to renovate the Bell Centre.
During a broadcast press conference, Molson said the renovations are being done in order to maintain the organization’s standard of excellence and he explained that the Bell Centre is “one of the busiest arenas in North America,” bringing approximately $338 million annually to the Quebec economy.
Among the planned changes is the replacement of all the seats, improved WiFi access, the renovations of the arena’s loges and turning avenue des Canadiens-de-Montreal into a pedestrian street.
Cassidy Swetland, a Habs fan, believes the pedestrian street will make things easier around the arena. “I think the renovations will be great,” she said. “There will be less traffic around the Bell Centre after a game.”
Kevin Galarneau, another fan, was happy with the new seats in the Bell Centre. “I like that they found the place for one extra seat,” he joked in reference to the now 21,288 seats in the building as opposed the previous 21,287.
Between Pacioretty’s leadership, Price’s strong start, the team’s record and the arena’s renovations, Habs fans have a lot to look forward to this year.