Montreal a Disappointing Host City

The World Juniors have come to an appropriate end.

Canada LazarCanada ended its five-year gold drought last night with a 5-4 win over the Russians in the WJC final. And to make it even sweeter for the Canadians, the gold-less streak ended on home soil. Hockey Canada put together the best possible team they could for the tournament, and the result was only perfect.

But now they have to step back from the success in front of them and assess the damage that’s been done.

When Rene Fasel, IIHF President, and his team of analysts sit down and look at the attendance numbers for the 30 games that took place in Toronto and Montreal, they certainly won’t be pleased.

Toronto vs. Montreal

In Toronto, they seemed to exceed expectations. With no Team Canada present until the medal round, it wasn’t going to be easy to sell tickets for the 10 round-robin games between the likes of Switzerland, Denmark and the Czech Republic.

But surprisingly enough, a respectable amount of people showed up for the not-so-marquee matchups.

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And when it came time for Toronto to host the medal round, the crowds were definitely up to standards.

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Montreal was the perfect venue for Canada’s round-robin play. What more could you ask for? It’s the second most-populated city in Canada and home to the greatest NHL hockey franchise ever, the Montreal Canadiens. Their arena, the Bell Centre, is also the largest in all of hockey.

But somehow, they failed to bring fans to the rink.

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Tickets Too Expensive?

After the poor attendance for Canada’s opening game against Slovakia in Montreal on Boxing Day was announced, the pricey tickets were immediately to blame. Even Fasel got in on the act.

“I was really surprised. If you would have done this pricing in Europe, you would have nobody in the arena.” – Rene Fasel. Toronto Sun. Published: Jan. 4, 2015.


For Canada’s games against Slovakia, Germany and Finland, tickets ranged between $66 and $261. It was only for the New Year’s Eve Classic against the States that prices jumped to between $71 and $336.

Now that may seem a bit unfair, but Montreal forks out that kind of cash for their NHL team quite frequently.

The next time the Toronto Maple Leafs are in town (Feb. 14), ticket prices are between $107 and $446 and there are only 600 left. When the Detroit Red Wings play in Montreal for the final time this year (April 9), tickets are priced between $75 and $446 and there are around 1000 left.

Yes, the World Juniors is Junior hockey. But it’s the best Junior hockey, it comes around once a year, and how many times in the 30 years the tournament has existed do you think Montreal has had the chance to host it? The answer is none.

Ticket prices for Canada’s games in Toronto haven’t really been discussed that much. Maybe that’s because people actually showed up.

Previous Success

Canada prides itself on supporting their country in international play. Whether it’s the Olympics, World Championship or World Juniors, Canadians will watch and cheer.

In 2012, Calgary and Edmonton boasted the highest attended WJC of all time. An average of almost 15,000 came to watch each and every game. The second highest attendance for a WJC belongs to the city of Ottawa. An outstanding 453,282 came to watch the best Junior hockey players in the world, and Canada played in front of a sellout crowd every single game.


On TSN’s broadcast of the WJC final, Fasel was asked about Montreal’s participance in 2017 when they will host a round-robin without Canada and the medal round.

“(The Mayor of Montreal) called me yesterday and promised me he will do everything possible to make it better in 2017.” – Rene Fasel.

There you go, Montreal. You’ve got one more chance to impress.

10 thoughts on “Montreal a Disappointing Host City”

  1. Joe,

    Unfortunately your arguement of Montreal being “screwed” by HC is nullified by your lack of knowledge on the upcoming 2017 tourney where Montreal will get all of the “superior product”. Based on your obvious distain for both Toronto and it’s team, you will no doubt find any angle to lash out at their city. Sad actually because I don’t see any attempt to put down your beloved Habs in the article, simply a point made and backed by well researched statistics. I wonder if you would be making the same claims if the tournament had been co-hosted by Quebec City? If the attendance varience between a Quebec-hosted joint tournament and Montreal what would your stance had been? Most likely HC was trying to hijack the attention from Montreal in an effort to gain favour with the NHL to resecure a franchise or some such nonsence. Your comments here actually reek of racist and bigotted remarks towards the anglo-dominate city of Toronto. I have had the pleasure of living in most of the major centers of this great country (including Montreal and Toronto) and find there is good humoured rivalry in all the Canadian markets but there are few who seem to want to make this a geopolitical affair rather than devotion and following for their favorite sports team.
    Your remarks, while laced with some very valid and poinient commentary, are likened to radicalized Islamists (I know a bit of a stretch,but you threw the gauntlet) where the poisoned few scream loud enough, they paint a very poor picture of the many. Your personal views on the wealth and fleeting interest of Torontonians really comes off as a whine and sounds a lot like a penis envy situation. Your club is the most storied franchise in NHL history (history that you might want to look into as the two clubs were actually born from the same group) and of that you should be proud. But filling your responce with continual barbs about Toronto taints the good points you bring forth. Is it so hard to simply say HC might have done a better business case analysis to determine ticket prices? The rest of the verbal diarrhea adds to the undeserved general consensus that Montreal some of the most biased fans in all of sport….Just saying…

  2. I suppose Callum when in Montreal at the FINE restaurants you stood on a table and yelled to the patrons to cough up their poutines and turkey for refunds and get their butts over to the Bell centre or you would call the city a cheapskate failure.

    M O – kettle black? My point is that Hockey Canada is responsible for the success (research, marketing, pricing, advertising, organizing, corporate sponsorship, etc) of the event. Attendance issues must be identified and strategies in place to deal with it. Obviously that did not happen.

    Any references deflecting that business responsibility to the mayor and citizens of the city are complete nonsense. Montreal did a great job with volunteers and hosting players.

    The fact that sales are always easier in Toronto is because its fans are richer and starved for any decent hockey as they are abused by the sad sack leafs that may make the playoffs once in a lifetime.

    Key to the attendance problems was that Toronto got all the best games like medal games and semifinals while Montreal got screwed by HC with an inferior product to sell. The best product/games must be balanced between the venues and not all in Toronto. Ticket prices were too high.

  3. At $66, taking a spouse or family you double or quadruple the ticket price, add parking, a hot dog an drink and you are into the $200.00 to $300.00 range to watch a couple of Euro teams you might know 1 or 2 players from a local junior team somewhere across Canada. Over the Christmas and New Year, with spending at a premium, it is asking a lot of a hard working parent to afford. Going to a Habs game, even at the lofty prices, is a cherished event especially when you have to make day-to-day expenses with your hard earned money. Montreal is an expensive city to begin with. You want full seats…lower the prices.

  4. It’s easy to pick on Montreal, because we’re predominately French-speaking, so it somehow makes us less Canadian, at least according to those who live in Ontario. Toronto gets most of the attention in terms of hockey, because the two major sports broadcasters (TSN, and Sportsnet), have their headquarters there. Thus the media knows very little about what actually happens in Montreal. Any time there’s a chance to somehow demean our city, or criticize, Ontario folk jump on it.

    Would it have been nice to see better attendance numbers in Montreal? Yes, but this isn’t a corporate city as Toronto is. The ticket prices were far too high, especially for games that featured countries other than Canada. I’ve lived in both cities, and I can say that the hockey fans in Montreal are more passionate. They don’t treat hockey as a fad, or as the trendy thing to watch. Toronto is a good host for these sorts of tournaments because firstly, the people there love to watch whatever is popular at the moment, and secondly they have the corporate buyers that Montreal does not.

    I understand why simply looking at the attendance numbers gives the perfect opportunity to put down Montreal and our hockey fans. Don’t get me wrong, Toronto also has great hockey fans. I want to acknowledge that. But, it’s time to get off the Ontario high horse and really understand what’s happening.

    • What was that thing in 1995…… Can’t put my finger on it. Oh wait it was that vote where 49.4% of voting Quebec citizens did not want to be a part of Canada. More than half still wanted to be a part of our beloved country but since half a province wanted to leave yes that does make Quebec as a province less Canadian. (Obviously there are millions of Quebecers who love Canada)
      If it was Quebec vs Slovakia or Finland the Bell Center would be packed.

      So actually I’ll stay on my big ol’ Ontario stallion.

      • MDad McDummy is obviously a loser adolescent typing on mommy’s computer playing games with himself screaming whose your daddy. He disgustingly injects his penis size insecurities into a simple discussion about hockey. He must have confused this website with his sex inferiority site.

        For the sake of fans that may read this site…
        At any rate I love Toronto its a great city. Never met someone real from toronto I don’t like. As for the leafs, my sympathies go to the fans and players that are set up to fail by their idiotic ownership that screwed them since the 1960s. That is who I hate since they have plenty of cash but do nothing with it but steal it for themselves. It is a hockey fraud/rip off.

        Like all Canadian fans outside of toronto I hate the leaf obsessed media that often ignores the other Canadian nhl teams on criminally expensive cable tv that always shoves the leafs in our face even when their is no leaf news.

        Mcdummy makes bizarre claims that future top product games like medal games may be held in montreal so the inferior product montreal had to sell somehow, in his bsmt fantasyland, didn’t matter to ticket sales.

        His mental instability then extends from a hockey discussion to Islamic terrorism to those he disagrees with. He is really very sick and should be banned from this site.

        Making terrorist statements is no joke as he glibly mocks and or is participating in the daily suffering caused by terrorism, including in Canada. Terrorism is a glib joke to him. He must be an insolent child.

        There were no bards and taints, except in his hallucinogenic imagination. He must be referring to the chronic criminally incompetent leafs that stretches back over half a century. Its a reality that sends many Toronto fans into counselling.

  5. Callum is clearly an anti-francophone racist bigot. His bizarre defense of hockey canada and blatant baiting is just a weakly veiled attempt in using his racist tone to promote Ottawa/Ontario to host the games rather than what he infers are the inferior human race quebecors/Montreal.
    Toronto got all the semifinal and all medal games. From the beginning Hockey Canada (HC) screwed Montreal and Quebec.
    The fact that other cities had higher attendance in the past proves that hockey Canada simply refused to do a decent job in Montreal and HF failed all Canadians miserably.
    Fraser is right about one thing, Habs fans have hockey standards while cash bloated and quality hockey starved myopic torontonians do not.
    Any comparison to hab games is bizarre, pathetic and simply not applicable. Boys hockey sells well in Toronto because its better than the sad sack leafs nhl product there.
    Any modest attempt by hockey Canada to fill seats, like working with corporations in montreal, would have have provided acceptable results.
    The glaring failure by Renney and hf in montreal is his fault and his alone. Not the mayor and Montreal citizens who are decent Canadians that support good hockey and not the crap torontonians support in the nhl.
    Montrealers have a long and proud tradition of supporting minor hockey so the fault lies squarely at the feet of hockey canada. Since renney and HC abysmal failures resulted in embarrassing the nation, themselves and montreal whose only fault was trusting hc to do its job, the proud city will no doubt take the reins from pathetic renney and hc and attendence will improve in the future.
    Did you pay for those tickets yourself callum and actually show up to all the games? Does that make you a better human being and Canadian than Montrealers? Go back to Ottawa and pray for a decent team that can make the playoffs. If you plan to be a successful writer learn to be fair and honest. Integrity matters. Get some.

    • Hi Joe,

      Yes, I did pay for my tickets, and I did travel from Ottawa to Montreal for the game. If you must know, I had a wonderful time in Montreal. In the restaurant we went to, the streets of Montreal and at the game itself, the people around us were kind and enthusiastic about the game and I’d expect nothing else.

      My argument stays with the sheer number of the crowds. Montreal is a great city, I have been there for concerts, hockey tournaments, and other gatherings and enjoyed my time there, but from what I observed, I don’t think they did a very good job of supporting our team. Is Hockey Canada to blame? A bit, yes, but I don’t believe as strong as some people do that Hockey Canada is all to blame.

      I don’t believe I’m a racist bigot either.

    • “Not the mayor and Montreal citizens who are decent Canadians that support good hockey and not the crap torontonians support in the nhl” – Isn’t this the pot calling the kettle black?

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