Flyers vs. Canadiens to Be Played Without Fans in Attendance Because of COVID-19

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured Columnist IVDecember 16, 2021

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 29: View of a Montreal Canadiens logo on a jersey during the Vancouver Canucks versus the Montreal Canadiens game on November 29, 2021, at Bell Centre in Montreal, QC (Photo by David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
David Kirouac/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

There will be no fans in attendance for Thursday's game between the Philadelphia Flyers and Montreal Canadiens.

The Canadiens announced they will not host a crowd at the Bell Centre following a request from Quebec public health officials due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases. The announcement explained there will be an update for Saturday's game against the Boston Bruins on Friday.

"We have accepted this request in order to help ensure the safety and security of our fans and fellow citizens throughout our community," the Canadiens said.

"We have obtained assurances that beginning with our games in January, we will return to a partial capacity scenario and be able to host fans once more," the team added. 

This comes after Sportsnet reported the Toronto Maple Leafs, Toronto Raptors and Ottawa Senators will all limit crowds to 50 percent capacity starting Saturday because of new rules announced by Ontario that prevent more than half capacity for indoor venues with more than 1,000 people.

Ontario premier Doug Ford explained "you've got to target the largest venues" because "you're sitting side-by-side for hours. Compared to a restaurant, that's comparing apples and bananas as far as I'm concerned, not even apples and oranges."

With the emergence and spread of the Omicron variant dominating headlines, sports are facing new challenges every day as the pandemic continues.

There have been cancellations, postponements and rising numbers of players placed in health and safety protocols.

In the NHL, the league announced the Calgary Flames' return to play was delayed because 17 more members of the organization entered COVID protocols. Saturday's game against the Columbus Blue Jackets was postponed as part of the delay.

Calgary hasn't played since this past Saturday, and the Blue Jackets game was the fourth one postponed.