The Montreal Canadiens game against the Philadelphia Flyers was held Thursday evening at the Bell Centre but without any spectators in attendance at the request of Quebec Public Health.
The Canadiens made the announcement Thursday afternoon amid a surge of COVID-19 cases in the province.
“We have accepted this request in order to help ensure the safety and security of our fans and fellow citizens throughout our community,” the statement reads.
The Habs also stated that they were confident in their ability to return in January 2022. The scenario will then shift to a partial-capacity situation. However, the team acknowledges that the measures could alter at any point, depending on how the COVID-19 outbreak develops.
The team specifies that ticket holders for meetings at the Bell Centre will be contacted directly by the box office.
During the regular season last winter, no spectators were allowed into the Bell Centre. During the playoffs, the capacity expanded from 2,500 to 3,500 to 7,500 spectators. The limit was also 7,500 spectators during the pre-season games this fall, then the authorities gave the green light to fill the Bell Centre to full capacity in time for the home opener on Oct. 16.
The maximum capacity of the Bell Centre is 21,105 spectators.
The Rocket, the Canadiens’ American Hockey League club in Laval, will likewise be without spectators when it meets the Providence Bruins on Friday, according to the Canadiens.
An update will be provided on Friday in anticipation of Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins — the last scheduled at the Bell Centre in 2021.
— With files from the Canadian Press