Rocket

Montreal Rocket

Arena Name: Bell Centre
Capacity: 21,273
Built: 1996
Address: 1260, de la Gauchetière Ouest, Montreal, QC, H3B 5E8
Last Game: 2003
Ice Surface Size: Regulation
Venue Web Site: CentreBell.ca

QMJHL

 Bell Centre

Molson Centre

 What's the Arena Like?

Montreal's Bell Centre, as an NHL building, is one of two halves. If you're seated in the lower bowl, its a worthy successor to the old Montreal Forum. The views from down there are good, the atmosphere is incredible, and it's one of the better new arenas in the new era of the NHL. If you're sitting in the upper level, the Bell Centre is horrendous. There is a press and suite ring right at eye level of the upper deck, so that even though the Bell Centre is the largest arena in the NHL by some margin, any seat in the upper deck feels claustrophobic and hemmed in. None of the views of the ice are obstructed, but the arena's roof is too low for what they've crammed into it, and so somehow the largest arena in the NHL still generally feels too small if you're sitting in the upper deck.

Bell Centre dominates its block. It is a massive red brick building with the domineering presence of a train station, which it sort of is - the Lucien L'Allier commuter station is located in the same building. Inside, there are three tiers of seats - red in the lower bowl, maroon in the middle, and grey and blue in the upper deck. There's a gigantic video board, and all the other bells and whistles you'd expect from today's NHL.

As a junior hockey arena, though, the Bell Centre (then the Molson Centre) was appalling. The Rocket drew under a thousand fans a game on average to their games there, or less than 5% full. Only lower bowl tickets were sold, but the unbelievable emptiness of the arena (apparently) made going to a games there depressing and boring. The "tonight's attendance" announcement could pretty much list all the fans by name.

Montreal has always had a love-hate relationship with junior hockey, but no team in the area has really properly succeeded without linkage to the Montreal Canadiens. With the Canadiens now supporting their farm team in Laval and the former Montreal Juniors exiled to the far northern suburbs in Boisbriand, it seems unlikely that Bell Centre will ever host the QMJHL again - and even less likely that it will do so successfully.

 Inside Bell Centre

Bell Centre

 What's the Arena Used for Today?
As mentioned, the Bell Centre is home of the Montreal Canadiens, as well as the usual concerts and trade shows you'd expect out of a large new arena in a major city.

 Feedback
If anything is incorrect or you have something to add, please e-mail me at Email and I'll update the guide.


Copyright © QMJHL Arena Guide, 2002-19.
All rights reserved.
Last Revised: December 14, 2019