Friday, March 30, 2012

Montreal is Hockey Mad!

I return to Montreal in the early 1990's from living more than a decade in London.  I worked for a few years here at what is now a major aircraft manufacturer.  One of the first thing I was asked is whether I played ice hockey -- I answered no (I really don't), but out of curiosity I asked if there was a team -- even then this was a big company, imagine my surprised when I was told there was not only a team, there were leagues (plural intended!)  In fact each "plant" had something like 30 or so teams -- some were nearly NHL caliber in the playing ability.

Every night when there is a hockey game in Montreal (at the Bell Centre) its a full house.  Every single ticket has been sold, and that's despite the team playing rather badly over the past few years (decade).  In fact, the Montreal Canadian are the NHL's most profitable team in terms of revenues (and by a long shot) with Boston and NY Rangers r.

So yesterday was budget day in Canada -- with the Canadian government announcing its first "majority" budget.  Aside from the trivial (abolishing the penny) there were some substantive changes announced; reduction in 22,000 federal employees, increasing in the retirement age to 67, and reduction in the cash allocation to CBC (Canada's national broadcast company).

So guess what was the first news (and discussed at length) this morning on Montreal's radio:  You got it the Montreal Canadian's decision to replace the general manger and the team coach.   After the issues there were fully covered they mentioned the Federal budget...

Proof, if any was needed, that Montreal is hockey mad!


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