You know the old joke: “I went to a fight and hockey game broke out.” And there’s no better place to watch Canada’s national obsession than Montreal. After all, the National Hockey League (NHL) was formed in Montreal, so catching a home game at the Bell Center arena is like catching a piece of history.
The NHL consists of 30 professional teams: 23 of those are from the United States, 7 reside in Canada. None are as beloved or successful as Montreal’s Canadiens. Tickets usually start around $30 and can run as high as $500 as more for the best seats or during playoffs.
Montreal’s Impressive Hockey History
Montreal has a long history of hockey. It was originally called the Montreal Hockey Club – an amateur hockey club which won seven championships in the Amateur Hockey Association of Canada League between 1886 – 1898.
But that’s nothing in comparison to what came next. As the Montreal Hockey Club faded into history, the Montreal Canadiens came into existence. They are in fact the oldest professional ice hockey team in the world and the only existing NHL team which is older than the NHL itself.
Sadly – to Canadiens fans at least – the team has not won the Stanley Cup since the 1992-93 season. However, fans take solace in the fact their team has won more championships than any other NHL team. In fact, they’ve won 22 championships since 1927, which accounts for roughtly 25% of all championships. Ever.
Not bad, eh?
The NHL regular season runs from the first week in October through mid April. The Stanley Cup Playoffs run from mid April to June. You can purchase tickets from the official Canadiens team website.
When To Go
The National Hockey League runs from October to May each year (unless of course there’s another strike).
Winter in Canada is cold. It’s that simple.
From October to May, the average high temperatures range from 21.6 to 65.3°F (-5.8 to 18.5°C) and low temperatures range from 5.2 to 45.1°F (-14.9 to 7.3°C). Be prepared for rain and snow.
Getting There & Around
Montreal’s Pierre Elliot Trudeau International Airport is located a 40 to 60 minute drive from the city center. Budget $35 for a taxi ride to downtown.
- Mid-range accommodations: $100-150
- Meals: $20-25
- Bottle of beer: $4
- Hockey ticket prices start at $30 for regular games and should be purchased in advance.
- Your research on teams, players and statistics before watching a live game.
- Write down the name of your hotel (if you don’t speak French) so you can easily communicate with your taxi driver.
- Splurge for good seats so you can get right in on the action.
- Get discouraged if you can’t watch a game live. There are bars around the city that televise the game with great drink specials and cheering fans.
- Be loud and obnoxious at a game. There are families trying to enjoy the event as well.
- Drive to the Bell Center arena. Instead take public transportation which is conveniently located in downtown Montreal at Avenue des Canadiens-de-Montréal and Rue de la Montagne.
- Hockey pucks can reach speeds up to 100 miles per hour (160 kph).
- Ontario and Quebec have their own minor league hockey teams.
- 7 out of the 30 NHL teams are Canadian.
Feature Image Credit daniel.richardson0685