Doing Some Bell Centre Homework

Bell

Because my chances of going to the Bell Centre for the first time ever have increased greatly, due to the fact I’m moving to Montreal and should be no more than a handful of miles from there, I thought I’d search the web and see what I might be in for.

(For those who might be wondering why I’ve never been, it’s because I moved across the country before it was built and was never able to get back).

Here’s some reviews I found, and although the consensus is that things are pricey at the Bell, most say it’s a great experience nonetheless. Although one person said there’s some obstructed views, which surprises me.

Here we go:

Nice. Modern. Clean. Great place to watch a game. There are very few “bad” seats. Extraordinarily expensive, because they can. Can’t fault ‘em for that.

This is one of the premiere arenas in the NHL and very well organized and modern.  Sure they soak you $11 for a can of beer and food is equally expensive but that’s how they make money! This place oozes hockey heaven for Quebeckers.  I’ve been here to see concerts in the past (John Mayer, U2 and Bon Jovi) and acoustics and sightlines are excellent!

Centre Bell isn’t the nicest arenas I’ve been to and it’s not the biggest stadium I’ve been to but absolutely NOBODY can argue that they house some of the greatest fans in North America.

Whether it’s a hockey event or a big fight, you’ll be guaranteed that the crowd will hold down their fort and minimize the amount of visiting fans, yes I’m looking at you other Canadian cities!!!!! as well as cheer on their hometown team or stars.  There’s not a lot of places with this much emotion, fun and pride all the time and not just when their team is doing well.  For that MTL I give your Centre Bell a 5 star review.

The concerts here are cool too, and with any arena there comes a level where it’s difficult to make out the band but you have to expect that!

With 95% of arena’s the food sucks and is overpriced. ;)

Was invited to see the last Habs game of the 11/12 season from one of the corporate boxes. The view was good and even though the boxes may appear far away the game is still enjoyable to watch from them.

The service was good, each box has it’s own attendant (seemed like all the attendants were pretty girls) and ours was always asking us if we needed any drinks or anything.

The boxes come with free food (depends on what was ordered but for us it was delicious smoked meat sandwiches, hot dogs, pizza, fries, and chips, the boxes next to us had different food) and free drinks (espresso, lattes, 3 kinds of beer, juice, pop, or water). Near the end of the game a dessert cart full of many different delicious desserts and alcoholic liquers comes by and you get your pick of what you want.

Overall it was a good experience. A typical corporate box is usually pretty nice, has a mini kitchen, living room with a few TVs, and of course opens up to the seating area in the arena (with a few more tvs in front in case you don’t want to strain your eyes looking down). Each box has it’s own bathroom!

Aside from having to wait 5 minutes for the elevator, leaving the arena was pretty easy.

Packing a sold out arena of 22,000 fans every Habs home game is a great experience, however I’m not quite a fan of the location for concerts and smaller venues – somehow it just doesn’t do it for me.

I love the Express Exits that they have – wish other arenas had the same.
This hockey arena is any NHL fan’s wet dream come true. It’s comfortable, spacious and has the highest seating capacity in the league, along with the most prodigious franchise in the sport making for a very unique and incredible experience.

I’ve been there to see my beloved Boston Bruins play the Canadiens and although the tickets were very expensive ($150 per ticket), all five of us had an absolute blast there. The beers were tall boys, making for a drunkenly, wonderful time and the fans love their local team and it shows, but all in good fun. Honestly, the people were way nicer to us than we are to them when they come down.

I think that the only downsides to this arena are the fact that the tickets are exorbitantly expensive and due to some poor engineering, some seats in the upper deck have obstructed views due to the press boxes hanging in the way, preventing some fans from seeing any of the scoreboard and/or part of the ice.

But despite these few negatives, this place blows away the TD Bank Garden and most if not all of the other arenas (expect maybe for Pittsburgh newest one which just opened this year).

I cannot wait to return this upcoming January for another game.
The best place to watch hockey ever.

Montreal fans are ridiculous. No matter who the Canadiens are playing, you can bet that every single seat will be occupied with screaming drunk fans cheering on their beloved Habs and yelling obscenities at the opposing team. Highly recommend regardless of your hockey interest or familiarity!

Quebec — La Belle Provence indeed.  This Yank’s love affair with Montreal began when I stopped fearing Celine Dion and finally trudged north of the border.  Of my many trips I’ve hit the Bell Centre a few times… though I still call it the Molson Centre.

My first time was for Depeche Mode’s Exciter Tour in 2001.  I sat near the side of the stage and not only had a great view of my favorite band but dancing before my American eyes was a floor full of Quebecois dressed in black holding lit sparklers for some time.  It was quite the scene and not one which my country would permit.

Then there was Celebration 2002.  Celebration 2003.  And Celebration 2005.  There’s something magical about ringing in the New Year in a professional sports arena featuring some of the world’s greatest DJs until noon the next day.

My memories are better than the venue itself.  But that’s okay.  The heart wants what the heart wants.

Despite the massive volume of people at the event, the crowd flowed smoothly and there wasn’t much of a backup anywhere.  Found my seats easily each time I went, and the security checkpoint was QUICK!  High marks to them for organization.

My only complaint was the restrooms… too few restrooms, and the water pressure for the toilets was horrible due to way too much usage all at once.  There were more women in attendance than men, so maybe that was why it was so bad.
I’m a big hockey fan so when I visited Canada, I tried to do as many hockey-oriented activities as possible.  When my friend and I decided to visit Montreal, I insisted on getting a tour of Bell Centre.  Technically this place is not the old, historic Montreal Forum that hosted the famous Montreal Canadiens from 1926 to 1996, but I enjoyed seeing it anyways.

Apparently, for the 100th anniversary of the Canadiens, one of the entrances was redecorated.  There were four statues of famous Canadiens including Maurice “Rocket” Richard and plaques on the ground commemorating the top 100 Canadien moments.  The website said nothing about where you’re supposed to meet for the tour, but we figured out that one needs to buy tickets in the Canadiens gift shop and wait for the tour guide there.  There are two English tours a day.  The gift shop was quiet nice.  You could pick up a lot of historic Canadien gear.  I bought a 100th centennial puck.

The tour itself was pretty neat.  We got to see the reporter’s lounge, a view of the arena (where they were setting up an French version of American Idol), luxury box, alumni lounge, etc.  The big deal was seeing the Canadiens dressing room!  That’s the advantage of taking the tour in the summer when there’s no hockey.  Our guide was very well informed and had worked for the Canadiens organization for over 20 years.  Our tickets were discounted because we couldn’t see a few dressing rooms (due to the American Idol-clone show).  Aw, who cares… I got to see the Canadiens dressing room!

I have to start off by saying that I love the Bell Centre for Montreal Canadiens games. I’ve been to a few different arenas, but none compare to the atmosphere that you get here in Montreal. Fans on their feet, beer in their hands and usually a pretty good game on the ice.

Unfortunately, for concerts, I’m not the biggest fan. First of all, if you’re sitting at the top of the reds or higher, it’s almost impossible to make out the lyrics of the opening bands. The sound is usually a bit better for the main act, but even then, not very impressive. Although, the sound quality from the floor is good.

There have been a few too many times that something goes wrong with the lines to get in, like the time they delayed entrance to the floor for so long that about 50% of floor ticket holders missed the entire opening act (one we actually wanted to listen to), or that the mics cut out, or that security isn’t very helpful when in need of help like a girl who passed out next to me.

If you’re visiting Montreal or are from the city, you can’t miss it! Go see a show or a hockey game, you won’t regret it, but I would suggest spending a bit more money to get lower seats for concerts.

My Bell Centre countdown:

5: Goals scored by Canadiens. (They beat the Islanders – Go Habs Go!)
4: Beers consumed.
3: Smoked meat sandwiches consumed.
2: Carb-loaded products consumed (one pretzel, one order of fries).
1: Hot dogs consumed.
0: Regrets.

Going to a hockey game in Canada was definitely one of the highlights of our trip to Montreal. I hesitantly suggested it to my wife, but much to my surprise she was as excited about the idea as I was!

The only seats available were in the “Club Desjardins” section. These tickets include food and soft drinks; in addition to what I gorged myself on, they also have nachos, pizza, and ice cream — standard sports arena staples. I thought the smoked meat sandwiches were quite good, the rest was the same stuff you get everywhere. The lines were looooong (hey, it’s “free” food), but did move pretty quickly. Definitely staffed by the A-Team of concessionaires. There’s also a free coat check, which is handy.

Beers were expensive — tall boy cans of Molson Export were $10. I mean, I expect drinks to be expensive, but it’s not a good enough of a beer to be $10. Also, why are they serving Molson Export *in* Canada?

I also realized the hockey is serious business in Canada. If you’re trying to get back to the seat while the game is on, the ushers will actually hold you at the entryway until a stoppage in play. They’re supposed to do this in the States too, but I’ve never seen it happen.

After several trips over the past few years, I’ve FINALLY found a reason to brave the winter in Montreal, hockey season.*

Hockey AND beautiful Montreal women who somehow get you seats 10 rows off the ice on the side YOUR team shoots twice, and yell at the players louder than you do.

Note to out-of-town fans.  Sit in the LOWER SECTION if you want to live.  Yes, it probably costs a lot more, but from what I hear, you don’t want to be wearing anything but red in the upper section. If you really want to test your luck, find an old Nordiques jersey and try to make it to the bathroom without getting jumped. ;-)

Great venue! Attended a Bruins/Canadiens game and was blown away by the experience – so much better than the TD Garden. Hockey is the show at the Bell Centre and there isn’t a lot of nonsense like most areas.

Observations:
1) Many beer options; most go w/ the 16oz Molson EX cans for ~$7.50 and these are available from vendors in the stands. 25oz Molson M cans are also available at select locations, but are $12ea!
2) Bathrooms are HUGE, but are mostly hallways and not many urinals. Strange
3) That one player on the opposing team who the fans have decided to boo. Every single time he touches the puck. Every time.
4) Very rare for people to get up during the periods; most wait until the intermissions.
5) Brutally difficult to get tix. Had to pay 100% mark up.

Perfectly adequate arena. My only complaint is signage. The exits need to be labeled much clearer and the directions to your seats/section right when you walk in the front doors could be much clearer. It was a complete clusterfuck getting in and out of the building because of the confused masses.

Sound system is great, the jumbotron is more amazing than any HD TV I’ve ever seen, and the huge projection screens are also great.

One word to describe Bell Centre: Expensive. The Home of the legendary HABS (Canadien of Montreal) is one of the biggest amphitheater with 21 000 seats and the largest arena. The acoustics are great for shows for a such a large place and the large screen in the middle definitely helps a lot because you won’t see anything in the RED SEAT section.

I’ve been to the Bell Centre five times in my life for Canadians games. All five times I left in awe!!! The place is HUGE with a 21,000 capacity for sporting events, and I’d guess an additional 3,000 for concerts.

The air inside for hockey is electric! Location is prime too. You can get to high quality hotels, Casino de Montreal, delicious restaurants, fun pubs, and great shops all within walking distance or a short taxi ride. The concessions and bathrooms are well placed and reasonably priced (for being an arena).

The only negative I have is that for 21,000 seats the concourses are so narrow! It will take a good amount of time to get out if you stay till the end.

This place is a palace!

I love the arena.  The banners of championship teams, retired numbers, and even the Montreal Expos retired numbers are awe inspiring.  There is also a picture of a Canadiens great above every section.  I was lucky enough to be sitting in the Jacques Lemaire area (Go Devils!).

The game I came to see was vs the Sabres and it was a 2-0 loss.  I really wanted to experience a goal, but it was a great game.  I had gotten myself a Brian Gionta (ex-Devil) jersey and rooted for the home team.

The concourse was huge, packed to the gills during intermissions.  Luckily the bathrooms were also huge and clean.  With enough places to go, it moved quickly.  The Molson was good, and the concessions were plentiful.  The place is always sold out from what I understand, and it looked amazing.

It was easily found from my hotel and a fairly short walk.  Just get your tickets early, I got mine on Stubhub and paid double, which I heard wasn’t too bad.

I cannot wait to go back!

Great environment for hockey!  Bravo Montreal, what a great city and great fans.  (just don’t give up on them when they are struggling – the booooos don’t look good on you)

The premier place to see a hockey game. I loved every minute watching the Canadians against the Hurricanes. Great atmosphere, great fans. The only knock would be the concessions. Oh well. Oh, and beer is crazy expensive. We’re talkin 10.50 a beer.

What a honor it is to be the first to review the Bell Centre (or should I say Centre Bell).  Although it will forever in my heart be the Molson Centre (or should I say Centre Molson).

The first time I came to the then Molson Centre was in 1997 when it was relatively new.   J’adore le sport du hockey, and as one of a small minority of Americans that worships ice hockey I respect this building and this cities passion for hockey more than can be expressed in words.  The building itself looks like a warehouse from the outside, but it’s actually very beautiful on the inside.  And it’s HUGE!!!  The barn holds over 21,000, making it one of the largest NHL arenas.  In order to pack that many people in, however, the seating in the upper levels is STEEP.  How steep you might ask?  I’ve literally seen someone throw up once and I’ve encountered several people who were afraid of heights that felt uncomfortable sitting up high. It can feel like you could fall out of your seat and onto the ice.    It’s amazing looking at all the Stanley Cup banners and retired numbers in the rafters, and if hearing ‘O Canada’ sung in French (partly in French anyway) doesn’t give you goosebumps, you simply have no heart.  As a Devils fan, I come back every year to watch Montreal’s native son Martin Brodeur give Les Habitants a proper spanking (sorry Habs fans, had to get a dig in).

Le Centre Bell also has pretty good acoustics for a large building.  I saw U2 here and was impressed with how good the sound was.  One of the coolest things about the place is that you can walk from downtown Montreal all the way down to the Bell Centre underground, which really pays dividends in the Montreal winter when it’s 5 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of -23F.

Le Centre Bell receiving 5 stars is a no brainer.

The french hip-hop played during commercial breaks and stoppages made my girl go loopy.  she loved it.

The food selection, however, was WEAK AT BEST.

Easy to get to as the metro drops you right underneath.  word!

Wow, this place is super huge and a lot of fun!  Hockey is the sport here and its sooo amazing to watch at the Bell Center.

Looks just like the ACC inside. I saw Habs vs. Islanders. Pretty good game. It was 4-0 Montreal win, saw a fight, and a guy get taken off on a stretcher. Anyway, there’s beer there…lots of beer. Also, the French know how to watch a hockey game.

Do I need another reason to give it 5 start other than the Habs play here? OK well they have great concerts and the place is gorgeous.

The best rink in the world because it houses the best team in the world…GO HABS GO!  I’ve sat in about 7 different sections from rafters to Club Desjardins to 10 rows up from Ice and I can honestly say there is not a bad seat in the house.

2 thoughts on “Doing Some Bell Centre Homework”

  1. It’s going to be something you won’t easily forget that’s for sure Dennis. I’ve said this before but when they first come out when they’re introduced and the crowd goes nuts…talk about serious goosebumps.

    I’ve been to a few concerts there and I think it’s pretty decent. I wouldn’t take floor seats unless you feel like standing for the whole show – that’s kind of annoying. I saw Aerosmith there twice and each time my hearing was messed up for days. The last time I saw them I was 13 rows from the stage and in front of the speakers. Talk about loud.

    The parking lot across the street is now gone. They’re doing construction now so you’d have to park elsewhere and walk (which isn’t too bad sometimes but if it’s freezing out…meh).

    One thing that hurts is that when you go upstairs on the escalator, you can see the private box area and it looks like a delight and a half. Big framed photos everywhere, less people, their own souvenir shops, etc. God I wish I owned a box there.

    Anyone can wear what they want in the upper levels – the only time I saw a problem is when the Chara hit happened. That got really ugly.

    Habs/Leafs or Habs/Bruins are the games to see for your first time. You’re going to freak Dennis.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>