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NHL Draft makes the center happy

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The hockey frenzy is felt in mid-July, when restaurants and hotels in downtown Montreal have been sold out for several days due to the National League draft.

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“It’s like an adrenaline rush for our restaurant! Half of our customers [mercredi] [étaient] in town for the repechage, ”notes La Cage Center Bell assistant director Kevin Beaudry.

The sports brewery has not accepted bookings for one week.

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This is because thousands of hockey fans, but also delegations of the 32 NHL teams, 300 journalists, young players and their entourage are present in the Quebec metropolis for the draft, presented on Thursday and Friday, the first since 2009.


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Photo QMI Agency, Joël Lemay

It was originally supposed to take place in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced it to be held virtually.

This year, aspirants and general managers have established their headquarters at the Sheraton Hotel, where 2,000 nights have been booked on their behalf.


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Photo QMI Agency, Joël Lemay

“The event promises us a better future […]. We raise half a million dollars. The city lives to the rhythm of hockey, even on 6 July! ” Sheraton Montreal CEO Bertil Fabre was delighted in an interview with LCN.

$ 8 million in benefits

While 30 downtown hotels are fully booked, Tourisme Montréal estimates the popular NHL event alone will generate about $ 8 million in spin-offs.

“We see that the teams have really organized themselves in advance as a result of this week. We got their reservations three or four weeks ago, ”said Alexandre Thifault, butler at the high-end restaurant Garde-Manger in Old Montreal.

Until Wednesday, the 60-seat restaurant hosted Blue Jackets players from Columbus, Ohio.

“It is certain that in the middle of the week it helps us by increasing the number of guests,” he continues.

Lack of staff

But all this influx, however welcome, requires staff that restaurateurs don’t always have.

“Here, we’ll all do 11 [h du matin] at 11 [h du soir] because we are short of staff ”, observes Massimo Di Rienzo, waiter of the Madisons restaurant, a few steps from the arena.

Chez Parée dancers’ cabaret has provided two more floor waitresses for the upcoming evenings.

“We will see new faces thanks [au repêchage]. The entourage of young recruits will certainly want to come and celebrate this success ”, assures manager Marco Todaro.

– With QMI Agency

busy days


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“We are full for tomorrow [jeudi], and we have 450 seats. It will be a long day “

– Maryse Morin, waitress at Madisons Restaurant and Bar


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Photo QMI Agency, Joël Lemay

“In theory we will have good traffic if the teams decide to have fun”

– Marco Todaro, manager of Chez Paree


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Photo QMI Agency, Joël Lemay

Fortunately, this year we have no COVID to deal with. With the easing of health measures, it is becoming easier to manage.

– Kevin Beaudry, assistant director of La Cage Center Bell


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“All day I saw children with a smile from ear to ear”

– Angelo Aviles, distributor of collectible hockey cards

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