Toronto Maple Leafs: My Experience at the Bell Centre

Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
Toronto Maple Leafs (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

On Saturday night, the Toronto Maple Leafs lost game six by a score of 3-2 in overtime against the Montreal Canadiens.

The Montreal Canadiens not only hosted the Toronto Maple Leafs for game six, but they also were able to bring in 2500 fans to watch a game in the North division for the first time all season.  I was fortunate to be at the game to watch the boys in blue play in front of fans for the first time since early March of 2020.

This past year and a half has been extremely tough on everyone. The pandemic has taken lives, jobs and life long memories away from millions of people across North America and the rest of the world. Last nights game was the first feeling of normalcy for me and many of the other 2499 people in the arena.

You might not have heard it on television but considering the arena was only at 13% capacity, It was LOUD. Through 2 periods of play, the game was scoreless, yet there were numerous “Go Habs Go” chants, as well as many smaller “Go Leafs Go” chants started by some Leafs fans in my section and I. The atmosphere was electric.

Toronto Maple Leafs and Montreal Canadiens Game Six

The first two and a half periods were dominated by the Canadiens. I believe that the crowd had a major impact on the way that both teams played. Before the game, I did not think that the crowd would play as big of a part of the game as they ended up being.

When Corey Perry finally broke the games scoreless tie with a powerplay goal in the third period, the crowd went bananas. It was the first goal from a Canadian team with fans in the arena and it certainly gave the home team a boost. The fans were excited, the PA announcer was excited, and so were the players.

I have to give credit where credit is due. The Bell Centre staff did an incredible job of making sure everyone was distanced and safe. Masks were mandatory throughout the entirety of the game and every spectator was socially distant. COVID could not have spread easily at this event as everyone I encountered were respectful of each other’s space. The one part of the rules that I found to be strange was that there was no food or alcohol being served, only free water bottles.

While the ticket was expensive, the drive was long and the Leafs did not win the game, it was so nice to be able to go to a live NHL game for the first time in nearly two years.

There are new reports that the Ontario Provincial government has rejected the Leafs request to allow fully vaccinated health care workers to attend game seven in Toronto. This is a decision that could not make less sense to me. Health care workers have worked so hard throughout the pandemic and having them at the game would give the Leafs a huge morale boost.

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I hope that if the Toronto Maple Leafs win game seven then m in the second round, fans are able to attend, even in a limited capacity. There is nothing like going to a live NHL playoff game and the boys in blue need the fans support!