Bell Centre Straws That Stir The Drinks

I would have to say that in this summer, when it was sweltering in the east and sweltering in the west too (in September), that pretty well every angle of the Montreal Canadiens was covered by many. Prospects, rookies, veterans, players traded to and from, free agent signings, predictions, possible line matchups and the complaints of Andrei Kostitsyn have all been written about in fine fashion at various sites.

Here at this blog it’s been old Habs Stanley Cup wins, Bobby Orr riding a donkey, palm trees, Canada Cups , bipolarism, my Habs-coloured park bench, Brent Sopel and Russ Courtnall’s houses on the market, and a few brief words about Brad Marchand.

But there’s a group of Habs people who are just taken for granted, I don’t think its right, and I’m trying to do something about it. So hats off to those wild and crazy beer, hot dog, and popcorn vendors at the Bell Centre.

At the Bell Centre you’re helped by smiling faces in one of the two official languages. Quite a few of them work like Speedy Gonzales on crystal meth, getting you your two beers in record time. It would suck if they were slow. We could miss a Scott Gomez goal.

They work away, poring and filling up and grabbing buns, and they can hear the cheers and boos coming from the other side of the wall. This is why I could never be a beer, hot dog, and popcorn guy. Because I’d be pissed off all the time that I’m missing everything on the other side of the wall.

The beer is cold and delicious, unlike in Boston where most drink Pink Ladies anyway. The hot dogs at the Bell are almost as great as the ones that were served at the Forum, and you’d like to eat more but your stomach only has so much room and who’s going to argue with more beer? 

And how do Bell Centre hot dogs compare with, say, Boston hot dogs? Well, the hot dogs in Boston don’t measure up and there’s a distinct lack of dogs and cats running around the neighbourhood.

I’ve neglected far too long the importance of the Bell Centre vendors, but better late than never I guess. Keep up the good work, vendors. And don’t take any shit from your boss.

Please note: I’ve never been to the Bell. I moved to the other side of the country before it was built. But I’m quite certain, have no doubts whatsoever, that the Bell Centre workers are  salt of the earth. 

PS. Never been to the TD Banknorth Garden in Boston either.



8 thoughts on “Bell Centre Straws That Stir The Drinks”

  1. Only time I ever ate at the Bell Centre was when I was drop dead hungry before seeing the Bulldogs and we didn’t have time to get anything outside. I can say the food wasn’t all that great and way too expensive…

  2. #31, it’s eight bucks for a beer at Rogers Arena. I don’t know how these rinks get away with it. You’d think people would rise up and boycott or something.

  3. You’ve never been to the Bell Centre? Wow. You don’t know what you are missing.

    I’ve only been to the old Forum twice – once when I was a little kid to see a Habs game that I was too young to really appreciate and another time watching a Hamilton Bulldogs game. You got to see some of the legends so you have that advantage over me.

    First things first, if you drive there (say you stay at a hotel far away from downtown) do not park in the parking lot across the street unless you mind shelling out 25 bucks for parking. There are other lots around that are cheaper.

    The atmosphere is electric long before the game even begins. Outdoors you can see the famous statues and you will encounter quite a few scalpers. If you have tickets? They’ll ask if you want to sell them to them.

    The Habs shop is a nice little place and there are some cool trinkets there. Expect to spend a few bucks.

    When you get into the arena, right away you feel the vibe. The place is cool at first and you also have that nice big jumbotron that lists the stats of the league and such. Along the walls at the very top are pictures of all the Habs legends running all around the wall. Videos play a lot and then they come out to practice.

    The cheers are loud and it’s nothing yet. Before the game starts, they play the intro video of the players. I don’t know if you have seen this, but here’s the old version of it:

    This really gives one goosebumps. The cheers are unbelievable. The place gets really loud. When that’s done and they step out on the ice to those famous words “nos Canadiens”? The eruption of cheers are deafening.

    How one can play for Montreal and not be inspired by that cheer is beyond me. I’d feel like a hero just stepping out on the ice if I heard that directed at me.

    The game is then on and it’s an experience. People yell at the refs, the players, the opposing teams. Carey makes a save and the crowd goes wild. Someone scores? The cheers boom throughout the arena. Someone gets a breakaway and the crowd all tilts forward and it gets silent…the whole crowd holds it’s breath and if the player scores – the roof practically flies off.

    You hear the hits, the sounds of skates on ice, the passing of the puck, and it all sounds beautiful. You are caught up in the moment and you feel anything is possible at that moment.

    I can only imagine what that place gets like when it’s the playoffs. I just saw regular season games there. If it’s a SC final? Forget being able to hear for a few days.

    The atmosphere of the place is something I have never experienced. It can’t even be accurately described. It has to be lived. TV does not do it justice. TV makes it look ‘slightly wild’.

    For example:

    Being there? Forget it. You’ll feel you’re in the presence of the gods.

    Sorry for being so long-winded, but really – if you ever get the chance Dennis, go for it. You will never forget it.

    I’m going three times this season: the pre-season game against Boston, the Detroit game and the Leafs game in March. I cannot wait.

  4. Yes Darth, I moved away before it was built. And when you say I got to see the legends, you can say that again. I saw the Rocke, Plante, Harvey, Beliveau, all the 70’s teams etc. Someday I hope to be back and go to the Bell. But I’m running out of time.

  5. Dennis, I must agree with your assessment of Boston arena, TD Garden. Overpriced beers, slow service and food of inferior quality for what you pay. So drink and eat before taking in a Habs/Bruins game. Naturally, you will save money on your tickets, so you could spring for a Sam Adams beer at the Garden.

    Nice of you to appreciate the behind-the scenes-employees. You’ll make a a great owner.

  6. Hi Diane, I just thought I’d get a few immature digs in about the Boston rink. I didn’t think you’d mind. I’m sure the food and drink there are just fine. Hope you’re not angry.

  7. Dennis, you are always forgiven. Trust me, nothing irks me more than shelling out $8 for a watery beer, escalating ticket prices and Jeremy Jacobs richer than scrooge. I know you have your loyalties and I can certainly respect disliking your opposition. It’s all about the hockey and the good guys vs. bad guys. I’m only going to 3 games this year anyway, so I’ll have a comfy seat on the couch and good Labattts for most games at home. 🙂

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