It’s been one year since Place Bell first opened its doors to the public, and what a year it has been. The building’s rookie season made it possible for citizens of Laval and the surrounding areas to attend professional hockey games, blockbuster shows and memorable concerts, not to mention unique access to community rinks in what is now Laval’s most attended sports and cultural venue.

Some 265,000 spectators have passed through the turnstiles to support the Laval Rocket last season, helping the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate team to a third-place rank in attendance among professional sports teams in the Greater Montreal area. It’s on Place Bell ice that the future Canadiens play and practice day in and day out. Passionate Laval fans came out in full force to cheer on the Canadiens’ top prospects in year one. The Rocket’s front office team also earned one of the American Hockey League’s highest distinctions, ending an unforgettable year on a high note: the organization received the league’s Team Business Services Award presented to the organization with the best fan experience in the Eastern Conference. The team is back this season with a full schedule comprised of 14 theme nights that will transform the Rocket universe, on top of numerous contests, an unmatched in-game presentation and an electric atmosphere.

The 10,000 seats in Place Bell and its state-of-the art facilities helped the arena host over 150,000 spectators for concerts, shows and sporting events presented during the year. The arena put on a vast array of events featuring the likes of Cirque du Soleil, the Harlem Globetrotters, 30 seconds to Mars and many others. Iconic rock band U2 even called Place Bell home for two weeks, setting up shop with the intention of rehearsing in the best possible conditions. Jake Berry, U2’s production director, described the arena as a “dream place to work” while thanking Place Bell employees for their hospitality.

With the Rocket’s second season moving along, there are several encouraging developments that should help ensure that Place Bell will have an even more spectacular year than its inaugural one. Les Canadiennes de Montréal will make their Place Bell debut this season, becoming the second professional hockey team to call the arena home. Les Canadiennes de Montréal are considered by many to be one of the best professional women’s hockey teams in the world, with nine members of the Canadian and American national teams on the roster. The Rocket is back, of course, and a jam-packed schedule including several prominent shows will surely make Place Bell rock!

An Unparalleled Fan Experience
The partnership with the Société de transport de Laval (STL) was renewed with the goal of continuing to facilitate access to Place Bell. Not only will the agreement provide free access to public transportation (metro and bus) to fans with tickets to a Rocket game, but it will also ensure the continuation of the free shuttle service between City Hall and Place Bell. There are over 3,000 parking spaces surrounding Place Bell, in addition to the arena’s 700 underground spots. The indoor parking system was thoroughly reviewed and improved - in collaboration with the City of Laval - to optimize its efficiency and provide fans with a better overall experience.

Moreover, the food offering has been enhanced to meet new standards and to provide greater variety. With 1909 Taverne Moderne leading the way, Place Bell added several new restaurants into the fold. The new options in the complex include Gatto Matto, a restaurant with an avant-garde concept that transports its customers to a modern hotel in Milan; Copper Branch, a trendy and 100 per cent vegetarian chain; and Cacao 70, a sweet counter where chocolate is the main attraction. The new Seventh Heaven Bar, which will be located inside the amphitheatre, boasts a large selection of cocktails in a modern and elegant environment. Patrons won’t miss a second of the action on the ice thanks to the many TV screens set up all over the bar! The arena’s concourse has also had its menu revamped to further improve the in-game experience. Among the second-year additions on offer are a poutine bar, a Beaver Tails counter and microbrewery stations.

After one year of passionate hockey, major events and constant action on both community rinks, Place Bell can consider its opening act to have been a resounding success. But why settle for the status quo when there is still room for improvement? That’s the approach taken by those responsible for the amphitheatre in looking at all the possibilities for Place Bell, in order to make it one of the most unique buildings of its kind. Join us once again for the amazing adventure that is Place Bell!