Holiday Weekend in Habs-land

My wife and I are taking a quick Thanksgiving weekend trip to Montreal for a Hockey Night in Canada game. The grandparents are watching the kids, so we’ll be able to enjoy more of what 24 hours in Montreal has to offer.

7:15am – at the airport waiting for our flight.

8:15am – Tarik is on our flight. Had a nice conversation with him. It’s his birthday, too. Tweet and email him well wishes.

12:30pm – we are sitting in an outside courtyard drinking beer and waiting our poutine lunch… it is maybe 40 degrees. Obviously, we’ve landed in Montreal. Shared a cab downtown with Tarik, checked into the hotel, and rushed to old town for lunch. More later.

3:30 – After freezing during lunch, we walked our feet off all around old Montreal visiting shops, art galleries, and the Basilica of Notre Dame. Every shop had some sort of hockey/Canadiens paraphernalia… including the Caps/Ovechkin. Some art galleries did, too. I won’t divulge what I prayed for at the Basilica. We’re at the hotel warming up and grabbing a beer at the hotel bar before we head of to dinner and the game. We are in the same hotel as the team, and the lobby is already crammed with people trying to sneak a peak or score an autograph from Ovechkin.

6:37 – we are in our perch at Centre Bell. 5 rows from the top. This place is big. We are up so high I can’t see any Stanley Cup banners.

Up here the pitch of the rows are quite steep. So much so that every row has safety rails in front them. We are in section 429.

You are not allowed to go to the lower bowl for warmups like at Verizon Center.

You can tell that Molson used to own the team. From what I have seen, the beer choices are Molson Export and Molson M.

The concourse is very narrow and dark. However, there are beer and food stands almost every inch of the way.

If you rate the ushers (on looks) at Verizon Center a 5, here at Centre Bell they are at least a 15.

Throughout the concourse, they have clocks that count down to faceoff.

My wife just mentioned that Canadians are very friendly.

Oh, we got booed at dinner while wearing our Caps sweaters.

Ok, correction. We are in the last row of the arena. The 300 and 400 section are right next to each other. We were sitting in 300. D’oh! I can’t see the top of the scoreboard.

The opening video scrolled through all 776 players that have worn the Habs sweater in 100 years. Impressive.

I hope to have more later.

SO NICE to hear the anthem without shouts of “Red” or “O”.

The ice is miced around the rink or in arena sounds. You can hear skate blades, shots, and other stick sounds all the way in the last row of a 20,000+ arena. Ted, OFB will buy some mica for you.

The crowd boos Ovechkin…. but they love him.

The press box is a catwalk like structure that hangs from the roof and goes all the way around the rink.

They have beer vendors selling in the upper deck stands…. even in the “family” section.



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9 Responses to Holiday Weekend in Habs-land

  1. NS2NOVA says:

    Hope you took a double dose of cholesterol meds before you dove into the poutine, otherwise your arteries will sieze before you get back here to DC.

  2. Ben Raby says:

    Great post!… Happy birthday too…
    Just curious how you chose poutine rather than smoked meat?
    Can’t go wrong with either one…
    Wish I was up there as well this weekend…

  3. dbfreudber says:

    You sure those skating and stick noises broadcast in the upper deck were live? I was up there for the Habs-Sens game back in October and it sounded to me like they were precreated just to create the environment.

  4. I went with the classic poutine without meat. Perhaps today I’ll have more.

    Oh, and it was Tarik’s birthday, not mine.

    As for the sounds on the ice, they were live as it matched up with every pass that hit the boards and other sticks.

  5. Jaret Manuel says:


    Glad you and your wife enjoyed your weekend in Le Belle Provance and hopefully the game was a good one. Your pictures are great and the Poutine looks amazing. They certainly know how to do it in Quebec.

    My Habs gave up what should have been a gave in hand given the lead so late in the game. Ovi is certainly a treat to watch.

    Jaret | PuckDrop

  6. Jaret Manuel says:

    Oh Gary,

    Saw the Langway pic. Useless fact, he was born in Taiwan. Look it up online. Funny. Not sure the history behind it if his parents were in the Military, etc.


  7. Ryan Jones says:

    Me and my girlfriend drove up to Montreal for the week from Richmond to catch the game for my birthday. It was an experience that I will soon not forget. Growing up as a Caps’ fan and this being my first away Caps game was amazing. The Canadian citizens and fans have all been helpful and very friendly. We met a nice couple walking into Brewtopia after the game and chatted up the game for a few. Nice to see other travelers as well… Anyways, great experience and even better birthday present.. keep up the good work boys and i’m looking forward to the rest of this season.
    Let’s Go Caps..

  8. Ryan,
    That couple in Brewtopia after the game was me and my wife. It was nice chatting with you. Hope the rest of your week is a good one.


  9. dbfreudber says:

    I thought so, my brother argued. Thanks for clearing it up.

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