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Montreal Canadiens Going Fanless At Home Games Amid COVID-19 Outbreak In NHL

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The madness is back: Canadiens fans will have to wait a little while to see their team on the ice again, as the team announced that beginning Thursday night vs. the Flyers, the Bell Centre will be fanless.

With the rise of the COVID-19 cases in the NHL and sports in general, the Canadiens said in a statement that they received a request from Quebec public health officials to host Thursday’s game with no fans in attendance. Montreal gave its fanbase a mere two hours’ notice on the change.

“Faced with the spiraling rise of COVID-19 cases in the region, late this afternoon the Montreal Canadiens organization received a request from Quebec public health officials to host tonight’s game against the Philadelphia Flyers in a closed setting with no fans in attendance at the Bell Centre.

“We have accepted this request in order to help ensure the safety and security of our fans and fellow citizens throughout our community. An update on the status of Saturday’s scheduled game against the Boston Bruins will be provided tomorrow.”

While Montreal hasn’t placed an exact date on when fans will return, they hope to host a limited capacity of fans in January.

“We have obtained assurances that beginning with our games in January, we will return to a partial capacity scenario and be able to host fans once more,” the statement reads. “More details will follow in the days to come and as the portrait of this ever-evolving pandemic becomes clearer.

“In the interim we would continue to encourage everyone to get vaccinated, get their booster shots when possible, and be responsible with their social and family gatherings throughout the holidays. We hope that with rigor and a collective effort from all of us, we will be able to come together in a near future in 2022.”

More than 30 NHL players have entered the COVID-19 protocol since Monday. The Flames alone added 18 players to the list in the last two days. Some of the players tested positive for the new Omicron variant, which is making its way across North America.

NHL Commissioner Gary Bettman said on Oct. 13 that the league was close to 100% vaccinated.

“Our vaccination rate is incredible,” Bettman said. “Four players, not four percent of players. All of our officials are vaccinated. All of the personnel that come into contact with the players are vaccinated.”

Follow Nick Geddes on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes. 

Written by Nick Geddes

Nick is a 2021 graduate of the University of Central Florida with a bachelor's degree in journalism and a minor in political science. Nick is a life-long sports fan who is proud to say he suffered through 15 years of Bucs futility to witness a Super Bowl victory in 2020. Nick has a passion for writing and is proud to represent OutKick. Follow me on Twitter @NickGeddesNews and on Instagram @nick.geddes.

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