Sports in Montreal

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Sports in Montreal have played a major role of the city's history. Montreal is best known for being home to the Montreal Canadiens of the National Hockey League, which are currently the city's only team in the Big Four sports leagues.

Other professional teams in Montreal include the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League and the Montreal Impact of Major League Soccer.

Montreal is also well known for hosting the annual Formula One Canadian Grand Prix, the NASCAR Nationwide Series NAPA Auto Parts 200, and the Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series Montreal 200.

In the past, Montreal has also hosted many world-renowned sporting events, namely the 1976 Summer Olympics. It was also home to the Montreal Expos of Major League Baseball from 1969 to the 2004 season.

Current professional franchises[edit]

Active professional sports teams in Montreal
Club League Sport Venue Established Championships
Montreal Canadiens NHL Ice hockey Bell Centre 1909 24
Montreal Alouettes CFL Football Molson Stadium
Olympic Stadium
1946–87
1996–today
7
Montreal Jazz NBLC Basketball Centre Pierre-Charbonneau 2012 0
Montreal Impact MLS Soccer Saputo Stadium
Olympic Stadium
2010 (1992) 3
Montreal Stars Canadian Women's Hockey League Ice hockey Centre Étienne Desmarteau 2007 3
Laval Comets USL W-League Soccer Centre Sportif Bois-de-Boulogne 2006 0

Hockey[edit]

Montreal is famous for its hockey-hungry fans. The Montreal Canadiens is one of the largest franchises in the NHL. Montreal is also home to the Montreal Stars a women's professional ice hockey team that won the Clarkson Cup in 2009 and in 2011.

Montreal's off-island suburb of Boisbriand is home to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League's Blainville-Boisbriand Armada.

Inside the Bell Centre during a hockey game.

Canadian football[edit]

The Montreal Alouettes of the CFL play at Molson Stadium and have been one of the most successful CFL teams of the new millennium in terms of division championships won and sellout crowds. The Alouettes have won 7 Grey Cup championships in their history, the latest ones having been won in 2009 and 2010.

Although university football has long been popular with Anglo Montrealers, who support the McGill Redmen and Concordia Stingers, enthusiastic Francophone crowds also enjoy the Université de Montréal's Carabins.[1]

Auto racing[edit]

Montreal is host to three high-profile racing events each year: the F1 Canadian Grand Prix, the NAPA Auto Parts 200, a NASCAR Nationwide Series racing event, and the Montreal 200, a Grand Am Rolex Sports Car Series event. The race takes place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve on Île Notre-Dame. Montreal was also the host of the Molson Indy Montreal / Grand Prix of Montreal of the Champcar Series. The race also took place at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve.

Of the 300,000 spectators at the F1 race, 25 percent are from outside of Quebec. The Formula One event is responsible for $84 million in economic benefits and the province will collect more than $9 million in additional tax revenues every year because of the race.[2]

Baseball[edit]

From 1897 to 1917 and from 1928 to 1960, Montreal fielded a minor league team, the Montreal Royals, most famous for having Jackie Robinson as a player for the 1946 season.

Montreal was the home of a major league baseball team, the Montreal Expos, named after the 1967 World's Fair, and began playing in the National League from 1969. On July 13, 1982, Montreal hosted the first Major League Baseball All-Star Game outside the United States. However, due to low attendance and other financial factors, the team moved to Washington, D.C. in 2005, where it was renamed the Washington Nationals.[3][4]

A Montreal Expos game at Olympic Stadium during their final season.

A two-game MLB exhibition pre-season series between the Toronto Blue Jays and the New York Mets were played on March 28-29, 2014 at Olympic Stadium in front of sold-out crowds in an attempt to gauge the city's interest in a full time team. The Chambre de Commerce de Montréal is also actively working on building a new stadium downtown and bringing back a major league baseball team to Montreal.

Basketball[edit]

On October 19, 2012, the first ever NBA game to be played both in Montreal and at Bell Centre occurred when the Toronto Raptors played against the New York Knicks in a pre-season game in front of a sold-out crowd. On October 20, 2013, the second ever NBA game to be played both in Montreal and at Bell Centre occurred when the Minnesota Timberwolves played against the Boston Celtics in a pre-season game in front of a sold-out crowd. Both games were played in an attempt to gauge the city's interest in a full time team.

Soccer[edit]

The city's current soccer team is called the Montreal Impact. The Montreal Impact joined MLS in 2012, the top tier of the American Soccer Pyramid. Also at the Centre Sportif Bois-de-Boulogne plays the Laval Comets of the W-League, the second tier of women’s soccer in the United States and Canada.

Boxing[edit]

Montreal has become one of the top boxing cities in the world, hosting the third most events in North America, only behind Atlantic City and Las Vegas. The city also currently has two world champions in Jean Pascal and Lucian Bute as well as a number of top contenders such as Herman Ngoudjo, Joachim Alcine, Adrian Diaconu and Sebastian Demers.

Tennis[edit]

The Canada Masters, currently sponsored as the Rogers Cup, is an annual tennis tournament held in Canada. The men's competition is an ATP Masters Series event on the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) tour. The women's competition is a Tier 1 event on the Women's Tennis Association (WTA) tour. The two competitions are currently held in separate weeks in the July–August period. The events alternate from year-to-year between the cities of Montreal and Toronto. In odd-numbered years, the men's tournament is held in Montreal, while the women's tournament is held in Toronto, and vice-versa in even-numbered years. The competition is played on hard courts.

Roller derby[edit]

Montréal Roller Derby were the first non-U.S. roller derby league to gain membership in the Women's Flat Track Derby Association (WFTDA).[5] The league hosts the annual "Beast of the East" tournament for intraleague (club) roller derby teams from eastern Canada. As of January 2010, their travel team was ranked 13th in WFTDA's East region.

Rugby[edit]

Rugby is sport in expansion on the island. The rugby teams are divided by their language and their division, but over all it is a big family trying to expand a sport misunderstood and unknown by many. Montreal boasts a dozen rugby clubs, including the oldest in North America, Westmount Rugby Club, founded in 1878 and the newest Rugby XV de Montreal created in 2010. Traditionally associated with the Anglo community, rugby has seen a sharp rise in Francophone participation in recent decades. Quebec Caribou, drawing many players from Montreal clubs, represented the province in the Rugby Canada Super League before the league's demise following the 2008 season, and now represents the province in the Rugby Canada National Junior Championship. The province's senior players are also eligible for selection to The Rock, a Newfoundland-based team which represents Canada's five easternmost provinces in the Americas Rugby Championship.

Australian Rules Football[edit]

Australian Rules Football has been played in Montreal since 2008 with the creation of the Eastern Canadian Australian Football League or ECAFL. Now known as AFL Quebec, the league comprises four teams, namely the West Island Eagles, Laval Bombers, Old Montreal Dockers and the Montreal Demons.

The league has a representative team known as the Quebec Saints where the best players are chosen from the league to represent it in exhibition games and tournaments across Canada and the USA.

Gaelic Sports[edit]

The Gaelic games of hurling and Gaelic football, governed by the Gaelic Athletic Association, have been played in Montreal since 1948. These sports have become increasingly popular with locals and new Irish immigrants. Beginners are actively encouraged. Games are played against Quebec City, Toronto, Kingston, Ottawa and other eastern Canadian teams. There is also a domestic Montreal Gaelic Football Superleague. They are played under the banner of the Montreal Shamrocks GAC Montreal Shamrocks Cumann Lúthchleas Gael.


Other sports[edit]

Bandy Quebec[6] seeks to promote bandy in Montreal. There has been an introduction.[7] No teams exist yet.[8]

In golf, the Royal Montreal Golf Club on Île Bizard has been an occasional venue for the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour, most recently in 2001. The Montreal Championship, an event on the Champions Tour for golfers 50 and older, was launched in 2010 and is hosted by Club de Golf Fontainebleu in the suburb of Blainville.


Multi-sport events[edit]

The most important sporting event in Montreal's history was when Montreal played host to the 1976 Summer Olympics.

Montreal hosted the ICF Flatwater Racing World Championships in 1986.

In July 2005 Montreal hosted the 11th FINA World Aquatics Championships.

In 2006, Montreal was expected to attract some 16,000 LGBT athletes, who will participate in the first-ever GLISA World Outgames. The Outgames are being hailed as the largest international event in the city of Montreal since the 1976 Olympics.[9]

Recreational sports[edit]

Montreal has a well-developed network of bicycle paths.[10] Bike rentals are available at the Old Port of Montreal, as well as quadricycles, inline skates, children trailers, and Segways.

In addition to a network of parks that include le Parc du Mont-Royal, on the mountain's side, Montreal offers five beaches around the island for recreational activities: Cap St. Jacques Nature Park, Bois-de-L’Ile Bizard Nature Park, Jean Drapeau Park Beach, Pointe Calumet Beach Club and Oka Beach. The Quebec Ministry of Environment tests the beaches for pollutants. Rated “A” to “D”.[11]

Media[edit]

Main article: Media in Montreal

Montreal has one all-sport radio station, the English-language CKGM (TSN Radio 990). Sport is covered daily in the city's newspapers by beat writers in The Montreal Gazette, La Presse, Le Journal de Montréal and Le Devoir. The French-language cable television channel, Réseau des Sports (RDS) focuses much of its coverage on Montreal-based sport clubs and events, however also features standard North American sports programming much like its Toronto-based English-language sister station, The Sports Network (TSN).

Major Sports Venues[edit]

Venue Capacity Team/Tournament/Attraction
Gilles Villeneuve Circuit 100,000[citation needed]
Olympic Stadium 65,255
Molson Stadium 25,012
Hippodrome de Montréal 25,000 Horse Racing
Bell Centre 21,273 Montreal Canadiens
Île Sainte-Hélène Aquatic Complex XI Fina World Championships
Saputo Stadium 20,341
Stade Uniprix 12,000
Complexe sportif Claude-Robillard 9,500
CEPSUM Stadium 5,100

Former professional franchises[edit]

Club League Venue Years Championships
Montreal Expos Major League Baseball Olympic Stadium 1969–2004 0
Montreal Impact North American Soccer League Saputo Stadium 1992–2011 3
Montreal Royals International League Delorimier Stadium 1929–1960 2
Montreal Junior Hockey Club Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Verdun Auditorium 2008–2011 0
Montreal Dragons National Basketball League Verdun Auditorium 1993–1994 0
Montreal Matrix American Basketball Association Centre Pierre Charbonneau 2005–2008 0
Montreal Sasquatch Premier Basketball League Centre Pierre Charbonneau 2008–2009 0
Montreal Machine World League of American Football 1991–1992 0
Montreal Concordes Canadian Football League Olympic Stadium 1982–1985
1986 as the Montreal Alouettes
0
Montreal Rocket Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Bell Centre

Maurice Richard Arena

1999–2003 0
Montreal Roadrunners Roller Hockey International Montreal Forum 1994–1995 0
Molson Centre 1996–1997
Montreal Voyageurs American Hockey League 1969–1971 0
Montreal Maroons National Hockey League Montreal Forum 1924–1938 2
Montreal Wanderers National Hockey League 1903–1918 7
Montreal Shamrocks Amateur Hockey Association 1896–1898 2
Canadian Amateur Hockey League 1898–1905
Eastern Canada Amateur Hockey Association 1905–1909
Canadian Hockey Association 1909–1910
National Hockey Association 1909–1910
Montreal Express National Lacrosse League Bell Centre 2001–2002 0
Montreal Supra Canadian Soccer League 1988–1992 0
Montreal Manic North American Soccer League Olympic Stadium 1981–1983 0
Montreal Axion National Women's Hockey League Centre Étienne Desmarteau 1998 at 2007 1
Montreal Jofa Titan National Women's Hockey League Ed Meagher Arena on Concordia University campus 1998-99 0

References[edit]

  1. ^ Carabins - University of Montreal (French)
  2. ^ "Montreal back on the F1 schedule for next 5 years". Associated Press. 27 November 2009. 
  3. ^ Associated Press (December 15, 2004). "Ballpark financing issue may kill deal". ESPN.com. 
  4. ^ Associated Press (September 28, 2004). "Announcement will come Wednesday". ESPN.com. 
  5. ^ Chris "Hurt Reynolds" Seale (2009-01-22). "WFTDA makes a run for the border". Retrieved 2009-01-27. [dead link]
  6. ^ Official home page
  7. ^ Alex Kovalev playing bandy in Mont-Tremblant
  8. ^ Does bandy have a place in hockey-obsessed Montreal?
  9. ^ Outgames hit Montreal - The Link, Concordia University
  10. ^ Montreal Bike route maps
  11. ^ Government of Quebec - Current water quality of Montreal beaches (French)