The hockey frenzy is felt in the middle of July when restaurants and hotels in downtown Montreal have been sold out for several days due to the National League draft.
“It's like a shot of adrenaline for our restaurant! Half of our customers [Wednesday] [were] in town for the repechage ”, notes the assistant manager of La Cage Center Bell, Kevin Beaudry.
The sports brasserie hasn't taken reservations for a week.
Thousands of hockey fans, but also delegations from 32 NHL teams, 300 journalists, young players and their entourage are present in the Quebec metropolis for the repechage, presented Thursday and Friday, a first since 2009.
It was initially to take place in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic forced its held in virtual.
This year, hopefuls and general managers have established their headquarters at the Sheraton Hotel, where 2,000 nights have been reserved in their name.
“ The event promises us a better future [.. .]. We collect half a million dollars. The city lives to the rhythm of hockey, even on July 6! » was enthusiastic in an interview with LCN the general manager of the Sheraton Montreal, Bertil Fabre.
8 M$ in benefits
While 30 downtown hotels are at capacity, Tourisme Montréal estimates that the popular NHL event alone generates approximately $8 million in spinoffs.
“We see that the teams have really organized themselves in advance as a result of this week. We received their reservations three or four weeks ago,” says Alexandre Thifault, butler of the upscale restaurant Garde-Manger, in Old Montreal.
As recently as Wednesday, the 60 seat restaurant welcomed Blue Jackets players from Columbus, Ohio.
“For sure in the middle of the week, it helps us by increasing our number of guests,” he continues.
Lack of staff
But all this influx, however welcome it may be, requires staff that restorers do not always have.
“Here, we're all going to work from 11 [am] to 11 [pm] as we're short of staff,” observes Massimo Di Rienzo, waiter at Madisons restaurant, located a few steps from the hotel. arena.
The cabaret of dancers Chez Parée has provided two additional waitresses on the floor for the next few evenings.
“We will see new faces thanks to [the repechage]. The entourage of young recruits will surely want to come and celebrate this success,” says manager Marco Todaro.
– With QMI Agency
“We are full for tomorrow [Thursday], and we have 450 places. It's going to be a long day “
– Maryse Morin, waitress at Madisons Restaurant and Bar
“In theory, we will have good traffic if the teams decide to have fun”
– Marco Todaro, manager of Chez Parée
“Fortunately, we don't have COVID to deal with this year. With the relaxation of sanitary measures, it is increasingly easy to manage »
– Kevin Beaudry, assistant director of La Cage Center Bell
“All day I saw children with a smile from ear to ear”
– Angelo Aviles, distributor of collectible hockey cardsDo you have a scoop to send us?
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