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The Bell Centre ( ), formerly known as the Molson Centre ( ), is a sports and entertainment complex in Montrealmarker, Quebecmarker. It has been the home of the National Hockey League's Montreal Canadiens hockey team 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 Forummarker 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 brewing 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.

On June 12, 2009, Stephen Bronfman announced a bid to buy the Montreal Canadiens along with the Bell Centre.

On June 20, 2009, George Gillett announced a deal in principle to sell the Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Centre to Geoff Molson, and brothers Andrew and Justin.

Location

The Bell Centre is located in Downtown Montreal, on the corner of the avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal and De la Montagne street. It is easily accessible by public transportation, linked to both Lucien L'Alliermarker and Bonaventuremarker metro stations, as well as to the Greater Montreal commuter train network, Agence métropolitaine de transport. It is also connected to the underground city. The Bell Centre is well located due to its very close proximity to a vast array bars and restaurants.

Arena information

The building covers an area of 1.568 hectares (15,680 square metres, 168,778 sq. ft). It is located in downtown Montreal and is across the street from the 1250 René-Lévesquemarker skyscraper and next door to Windsor stationmarker. It has a seating capacity of 21,273, making it the largest of any National Hockey League (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:

The public address announcer for the Canadiens' games is Michel Lacroix.

A new Daktronics scoreboard (below) was installed prior of the 2008-2009 season. The new scoreboard is the biggest in the NHL.

Events

Inside the Bell Centre before a hockey game.
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 hosted the 2009 NHL Entry Draft.

The Bell Centre has also held several WWE events, including the 1997 Survivor Series, where the infamous Montreal Screwjob took place, as well as other pay-per-views including 2003 No Way Out. The arena hosted Breaking Point on September 13, 2009.

The Bell Centre was the venue of the first UFC event (UFC 83) to take place in Canada on April 19, 2008. The show was headlined by a rematch between Welterweight champion Matt Serra and Montreal native Georges St-Pierre. The tickets available to the public sold out in under one minute, and the event set the all time UFC attendance record. The Bell Centre was also host to UFC 97 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada on April 18, 2009 where the pound for pound king and Middleweight Champion Anderson Silva defended his belt against fellow Brazilian Thales Leites in a lackluster performance which was won by Anderson Silva via unanimous decision.

The Bell Centre is also the primary concert venue for major performances. Most shows put on by big acts visit the arena unless they require more room than is available in a hockey rink-sized facility; in which case the Olympic Stadiummarker is used, or less frequently, Parc Jean Drapeau.

Records/Celine Dion

Concerts by Celine Dion for August 15 and 16, 2008 were sold out within six minutes. The next day, Dion's management added two more concert dates on August 18 and 20, 2008. A further seven dates were added bringing the total to 11 shows and 246,000 spectators. She set a record in the history of Canadian concerts when all eleven shows sold out within an hour. By her eleventh concert she would have played the Bell Centre 31 times since 1996 . The Montreal concerts grossed just over $30 million, making it one of the biggest concert events held at any arena in the world.

Montreal Canadiens home games have been consistently sold out since January 2004. Additionally, the Canadiens have among the top attendance figures in the NHL. For the 2008-2009 season, the Habs had the second highest attendance, second only to the Chicago Blackhawks.



Retired jerseys

The following numbers have been retired by the Canadiens (positions in parentheses) and hang from the rafters:

On October 18, 2005, the Canadiens also raised the following numbers on a single banner in honour of the former MLB team Montreal Expos, who left the city for Washington, D.C.marker after the 2004 season. The Nationals unretired the numbers, so the Canadiens raised a special banner honouring these baseball players:

Jackie Robinson, whose number was retired twice (#20 because of his minor-league playing days in the city, and #42 as required by MLB), was not given a banner.

Gallery

File:BellCenter2009downtown.jpg|Outside the Bell CentreImage:Insidebellcenter2008.jpg|Inside during a gameImage:Mise au jeu BOS @ MTL Faceoff.JPG|Canadiens and Bruins players getting ready for the faceoff at the Bell Centre.Image:canadianswin.jpg|Canadiens win a game at the Bell Centre.Image:bellcenterscreen.jpg|Inside the Bell Centre arena with the old scoreboard.

External links



References

  1. Le quatrième amphithéâtre au monde - L'incontournable Centre Bell | Nouvelles | Arts & scène | Canoë
  2. Molson brothers to buy the Montreal Canadiens and the Bell Centre
  3. http://www.centrebell.ca/en/la_cage_aux_sports
  4. Link text, additional text.
  5. Link text, additional text.



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