SBD/January 20, 2012/Franchises

Columnist Claims Canadiens' Fans "Simply Don't Care" About Struggling Team

Canadiens seeing empty seats in lower bowl, as well as in upper level cheaper seats
The Canadiens’ practice on Thursday was “watched by 23 fans” at Bell Sports Complex, “by far the tiniest crowd that has attended a Habs practice since the team opened its Brossard training facility four years ago,” according to Dave Stubbs of the Montreal GAZETTE. With the team currently “on the brink of tumbling too far out of the playoff race to catch up, many fans simply don't care.” They are “apathetic about a club perhaps not so much for its weak, near cellar-dwelling results as for an executive mismanagement that has dug a very deep hole from which escape will be a slow process.” At Bell Centre, team announcer Michel Lacroix “no longer makes the nightly announcement that the attendance is a sold-out 21,273." Wednesday's media notes for the Capitals-Canadiens game “hailed the team's 315th consecutive sellout.” But Stubbs writes, “If 21,273 tickets are sold for every game, many fans are now dressing as empty seats.” There are “not just one or two vacant seats scattered around the Bell Centre, but many chunks of them four and sometimes more abreast.” There are seats empty in the lower bowl, but “what should be more troubling to the Canadiens are the vacancies in the cheap(er) seats in the thin air near the ceiling.” And when the Canadiens are “officially excluded from the postseason, which only a miraculous recovery now will prevent, Montreal will live many long, dark days through February and March” (Montreal GAZETTE, 1/20).
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