Habs season to start as planned; Laval Rocket to play 2021 home games at the Bell Centre

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The Montreal Canadiens will be able to start the NHL season as planned on Jan. 13, despite stricter lockdown measures being implemented in Quebec.

Premier Francois Legault confirmed the four-week lockdown, which includes a curfew, will not interfere with the Habs' plans during his press conference on Wednesday. 

"The Canadiens have had long discussions with public health. There are very strict instructions that have been put in place," Legault said. 

Among the restrictions the team is facing is there will be no spectators at games, personnel will be tested for COVID-19 daily and cannot visit people who don't live with them.

"I think Quebecers want to see hockey games. It's done completely safety and they can afford to pay for that security," said Legault. 

The team's training camp began on Jan. 3 at their Brossard practice facility. 

BELL CENTRE PULLING DOUBLE DUTY

The Bell Centre will do double duty during this unusual hockey season as the AHL's Laval Rocket will play their home games in the arena.

On Wednesday, the team announced their move from the usual Place Bell in Laval, saying in a statement “The decision was taken following the recommendations of Public Health authorities to limit the transmission of COVID-19 as much as possible.”

“The change is temporary and effective for the entire 2020-21 AHL season. The Rocket is scheduled to return to Place Bell for the start of the 2021-22 campaign.”

The announcement comes just two days after the Canadiens got the official go-ahead from public health officials to play their home games at the arena.

The AHL season will begin on Feb. 5. 

- With files from The Canadian Press

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