Habs fans ready to move on
Streams of fans came out to the Bell Centre for the first Canadiens hockey game in months as the NHL lockout came to an end.
And most said that any anger towards the National Hockey League and the Player's Assocation is water under the bridge.
"Yes, it's upsetting that you get to miss half of the season, but nonetheless, it's back, so you have to cheer them on for the rest of the season," shared Aaron Chin, who brought his two daughters to their first game.
"I'm happy that we didn't scratch the whole season," said Alexandra Pakis. "Montreal without hockey is not really Montreal in the winter." While some of her friends say they'll boycott the season, Pakis said she needs to support the team.
As for the people who are fed up with the League, one fan is fine with that. "If they're still angry, it's going to easier for us to get tickets," quipped Ceasar, who left his home for the first time since having knee surgery for the game.
"I'm so excited," enthused Johanna Petkau, who attended the game with her girlfriends. All wore free red, white and blue paint on their faces. "Everyone said there would be no season, so now I'm surprised that it's happening."
The club handed out free containers of facepaint outside the Bell Centre, as well as offering free hot dogs inside and a 50 per cent discount on Habs merchandise. (There were no discounts on the tickets, however.)
In addition, Montreal rockers Simple Plan headlined a free outdoor concert that regaled fans as a pre-show to the main event.
Many NHL franchises are handing out freebies like free food and special giveaways to lure fans back into stadiums.
Chin sees the Habs freebies as a kind gesture on the part of the Habs' owners, but adds that he doesn't think they're a necessity in a die-hard fan market like Montreal.