Montreal Canadiens to play without fans at Bell Centre due to rising COVID cases

The team announced it had accepted the request from public health officials two hours before puck drop at the Bell Centre

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MONTREAL _ The Montreal Canadiens and Philadelphia Flyers will play in an empty Bell Centre on Thursday night.

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The Canadiens announced about two hours before puck drop Quebec public health officials had requested that no fans attend the game due to the “spiralling rise of COVID-19 cases in the region.”

The team says in a statement it accepted the request “in order to help ensure the safety and security of our fans and fellow citizens.”

The Canadiens add there will be an update on the status of Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins, who currently have a six players in COVID-19 protocol, including captain Patrice Bergeron and star winger Brad Marchand.

Montreal says it has been assured it will be allowed to return to partial capacity at the Bell Centre beginning in January.

More to come.

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