Hockey Canada will ‘look at everything’ regarding WJC attendance issues in Montreal

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TORONTO – – Holding the annual Under-20 IIHF Wold Junior Hockey Championship in Canada is supposed to be a success regardless of which city hosts it.

However, Hockey Canada appears to have hit a wall selling the tournament in Montreal.

The Bell Centre, which plays home to the Montreal Canadiens, and Toronto’s Air Canada Centre, home of the Maple Leafs, are the two venues for this year’s tournament.

Though Canada’s quarterfinal match versus Denmark on Friday night drew 18,448 at the ACC, which has a capacity of 18,819, attendance numbers in Montreal were disappointing at this year’s event.

Canada’s four games at the Bell Centre, all wins, drew an average crowd of 15,222 well under the capacity of the arena, which has a capacity of 21,287 for Canadiens games.

“We’ll look at everything for sure, but we’ll do that when the tournament is over,” Hockey Canada’s President and CEO, Tom Renney, told PHT.

According to Ken Campbell of The Hockey News, fans at the Canada-U.S. Dec. 31st game were offered the opportunity to move down from the upper bowl, to the lower bowl, to make it appear that seats were full. That game had an announced attendance of 18,295.

The game that followed at 8 p.m. ET had just 3,991 fans to see Finland blank Germany 2-0.

When asked if he had an idea of why attendance was lacking in Montreal, Renney responded: “I do, but I’ll share that at a later date. It’s not really necessary to talk about that just yet. I think as much as we all have to work to be a solution to what might happen in Montreal moving forward. We’ll concern ourselves with that when the competition is over.”

Montreal and Toronto will split the U-20 tournament again 2017.

Video: Canadiens honor long-time captain Saku Koivu

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The Montreal Canadiens sure do honor their past greats and legends with class.

On Thursday, long-time captain Saku Koivu, who played in Montreal from 1995 to 2009, received a lengthy ovation and was honored prior to puck drop between the Canadiens and Anaheim Ducks, the team he played his final four NHL seasons with, from 2010 to 2014.

“I always felt that I was respected as a player and for the way I played the game, but what makes me feel humble was the way I was loved by the fans,” Koivu said, as per the Associated Press. “Sometimes you think about why it happened, why they took me as their own.

“You can’t explain it, but there has been a real, unique bond between the fans in Montreal and myself. They’ve shown their passion and love and support throughout the years and really, it’s been amazing.”

Koivu retired from the NHL in September, after 1,124 regular season games and 832 points.

He’s been an inspiration in Montreal for more than a decade. In 2001-2002, he battled non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, only to return late in the regular season. The fans in Montreal gave him an eight-minute standing ovation when he hit the ice in his return.

Images from Jean Béliveau’s funeral in Montreal

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Jean Béliveau’s funeral is being held today in snowy Montreal. Below are some images:

source: AP

Outside Mary Queen of the World Cathedral, where the funeral is being held (AP Photo/The Canadian Press).

source: AP

Fans wait outside the cathedral (AP Photo/The Canadian Press).

source: AP

Canadiens players Max Pacioretty, left, and Lars Eller arrive for the service (AP Photo/The Canadian Press).

source: AP

Pallbearers and former teammates from left, Dickie Moore, Jean-Guy Talbot, Phil Goyette, Yvan Cournoyer, Guy Lafleur and Serge Savard carry Béliveau’s casket (AP Photo/The Canadian Press).

source: AP

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper, left, talks with NHL commissioner Gary Bettman, with former Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, right, in the background (AP Photo/The Canadian Press).

source:

Former teammate Yvan Cournoyer speaks (AP Photo/The Canadian Press).

The Canadiens honored Béliveau last night prior to their game against Vancouver with a memorable video tribute:

Béliveau died last Tuesday at the age of 83.

Video: Canadiens pay tribute to Jean Beliveau

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Legendary hockey player Jean Beliveau passed away on Dec. 2 at the age of 83. As Canadiens president Geoff Molson said, he “was a great leader, a gentleman and arguably the greatest ambassador our game has ever known.”

Hall of Fame forward Beliveau meant a great deal to the game of hockey, but his impact was most profound in Montreal where he played in 1,125 games over the span of two decades. During his tenure he won the Stanley Cup with the Canadiens an incredible 10 times.

On Tuesday night, the Canadiens paid tribute to him at the Bell Centre. You can watch that below:

Related:

Béliveau to ‘lie in state’ at the Bell Centre

Video: Celebrating Jean Beliveau’s legacy

Canadiens’ legend Jean Beliveau has passed away

Canadiens’ Eller leaves game with upper-body injury

The Montreal Canadiens will be without center Lars Eller for the remainder of Friday’s game against the Chicago Blackhawks.

The Canadiens announced via Twitter that Eller, 25, suffered an upper-body injury and will not return. In 27 games this season prior to Friday, Eller had seven goals and 11 points.