When you think of Montreal, your mind might automatically think of the different varieties of poutine, the astonishing amount of delis offering smoked meat delights or simply Mount Royal, the symbol of Montreal with its stunning walking trails and view point which offers a sublime perspective of the city. What people might not think of however is the rich history of sport Montreal has to offer. Montreal for Sport-Lovers.
The most popular sport by a stretch is ice hockey. Just over 21,000 local ice hockey lovers can flock to Centre Bell to watch their beloved Montreal Canadiens. The Canadiens lead the way in Stanley Cup victories with 24 championships. The popularity of the sport is reflected in the regularity of the matches with three, four, even five matches taking place within a week sometimes so there is plenty of opportunity to take in the bone-crunching skating. Ice hockey fans are certainly spoiled in Montreal.
Montreal for Sport-Lovers
If you stumble across Centre Bell, it might not be ice hockey fans you’ll be seated with. The stadium, formerly known as the Molson Centre, named after the Molson brothers, the owners of Montreal Canadien also plays host to basketball and concerts. The Bell Centre hosted its first NBA match in 2010 and has held six to this day. They were all preseason matches but five out of the six of them were sell outs. Even though Montreal doesn’t have NBA representation itself, the fact the NBA is bringing matches to Montreal is a great sign. There were rumors last year that a group of Montreal businessmen were pursuing a franchise with the aim of bringing them to Quebec but with no expansion to the current 30 teams in the league in sight, this pursuit might prove difficult. So right now, you would have more chance of seeing Celine Dion at Centre Bell. Other big names to have graced the Centre Bell stage are Bon Jovi, Rihanna, Beyoncé and The Rolling Stones.
Away from Centre Bell, there are two other sports of note happening in Montreal. There’s no NBA, but there is MLS. And the local team, Montreal Impact, have been boosted by the appointment of soccer legend Thierry Henry as manager. The former Arsenal and Barcelona goalscoring machine will take charge of the team for the first time when the new 2020 season kicks off at the end of February. MLS in general is becoming increasingly popular season by season, with the league attracting more and more star names. Montreal Impact already have the likes of Bacary Sagna, Ignacio Piatti and Bojan Krkic on their books and although they haven’t been challenging for honors, the Impact locals will definitely be making more noise if Thierry Henry can get off to a positive start. Furthermore, the Olympic Park, where the Saputo Stadium is located is a wonderful sporting venue that is worth checking out. And Montreal will be opening its doors to a worldwide audience for the 2026 FIFA World Cup as the city has been chosen as one of the cities to host matches.
The final instalment of our Montreal sports guide takes us to the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve, named after the legendary driver himself. The headline event of the year takes place when the Formula One comes to town. Set around Lac de l’Île Notre-Dame, Formula One has been coming to Montreal since 1961 and it doesn’t disappoint. Fans enjoy the comforts of the city; the magnificent cuisine, the lights and nightlife activity on Crescent Street, the walk-up Mount Royal before settling in for three days of high-speed action. Whilst at the circuit, you can also pop into Casino de Montreal, the largest casino in Canada and prior to this you should check out the slot guide for Canada casinos. Here you will find all the standard games a casino has to offer but also a variety of restaurants and bars offering a multitude of food and drink experiences. The casino is fantastically illuminated at night and is located just across the St Lawrence River from the main city center.
So, Montreal has a plethora of sport to get stuck into. There is great variety with regards to what is on offer on the sporting scene so whether you’re into soccer, ice hockey or Formula One, or just simply a sports fan, there is something for you. The combination of city culture and lifestyle with a sport-infused adrenaline rush is the perfect tonic for a visit to Montreal.