Flyers vs. Canadiens to run out of fans amid growing COVID concerns

MONTREAL – Due to a peak of COVID-19 cases in Quebec, Thursday night’s game between the Flyers and the Montreal Canadiens will be played without fans at the Bell Center.

Quebec public health officials contacted the Canadiens organization on Thursday afternoon and requested that the game be held in a closed setting. Canadians have complied in an effort to “keep our supporters and fellow citizens safe throughout our community,” the organization written in a press release.

the province reported 2,736 new cases Thursday, which is his highest daily total since January 3. According to Santé Montreal, 949 of these new cases are in Montreal alone.

The Canadiens will update the public on the status of Saturday’s game against the Boston Bruins on Friday. However, the Bell Center will likely be empty for the immediate future – in January, the organization plans to return to partial capacity of the arena.

On Monday, the city of Philadelphia issued a new warrant that will require proof of COVID-19 vaccination at any covered location serving food starting January 3, including the Wells Fargo Center. Until January 14, those who are not vaccinated can present a negative COVID-19 test from the last 24 hours to be admitted into the arena.

However, after January 17, anyone over the age of 5 must be vaccinated to enter Wells Fargo Center and any other venues that offer indoor dining.

The Wells Fargo Center did not announce any plans to reduce the site’s capacity on Thursday. Daily cases of COVID-19 have steadily increased in Philadelphia – on Wednesday, in the past 14 days, there had been 8,283 new cases in the county.

As the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games approach, the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the state of diplomatic relations between North American countries and China are calling into question participation in the NHL.

For Flyers center Sean Couturier, if Hockey Canada appoints him to Olympic roster, the decision to participate in these Olympics is unclear.

“There are a lot of unanswered questions, a lot of uncertainty,” Couturier said. “It’s hard to make a decision right now, hoping we have more news. It remains to be seen. It’s 50-50 personally.

Couturier said his reluctance to participate if the opportunity presented itself was not necessarily due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Instead, he’s more concerned with “everything around him,” including the political situation and the five-week quarantine that would come with a positive test.

On December 8, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada would join the United States and the United Kingdom in a diplomatic boycott of the Beijing Olympics. The decision not to send diplomats to the Games serves as a protest against alleged human rights violations by China.

While Canadian diplomats will not attend the Olympics, Canadian athletes are still free to participate. However, the diplomatic boycott concerns Couturier.

“If we’re there, who do we go to if we have problems?” Said Couturier. “These are questions we ask ourselves.

Goalkeeper Carter Hart (18 games played, save percentage of .915, goals-against average of 2.80) starts in goal for the Flyers against the Canadiens. … In the other goal, Cayden Primeau (two games played, .877 SV%, 4.82 GAA), son of former Flyers center Keith Primeau, will start for the Canadiens. The young Primeau played for Bishop Eustace Preparatory School in Pennsauken Township before playing at Northeastern University.

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