Montreal police urge fans not to celebrate in streets if Habs sweep

Harrison Mooney
April 22, 2014
Lightning-Canadiens Preview
Players from the Montreal Canadiens celebrate after defeating the Tampa Bay Lightning following Stanley Cup hockey playoff game in Montreal, Sunday, April 20, 2014. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Graham Hughes)

It's been six years and a day since the last time the Montreal Canadiens won a playoff series at home. On April 21, 2008, the Eastern Conference champion Habs closed out the Boston Bruins, 5-0, in Game 7 at the Bell Centre. It was a happy day for Montreal fans. 

But not so much for Montreal police, who spent the rest of the evening trying to quell a downtown riot. From the CBC:

The jubilation degenerated into mayhem around midnight, however, as some hockey fans turned violent.

"It started pretty well," police spokesman Const. Laurent Gingras told CBC News Tuesday.

"Unfortunately, at a certain point some people gathered on Ste. Catherine Street. A couple fights broke out and police cars were also attacked at that point."

In the end, 16 people were arrested, as many police cars were damaged, and the city was left wondering what sort of Hell they had in store if the Canadiens won another round. Fortunately, the Philadelphia Flyers did what the police couldn't, preventing another riot by knocking the Habs out in five games in the second round.

But now, the after after the sixth anniversary of that unfortunate evening, the Canadiens have another chance to win a playoff series at the Bell Centre, heading into Tuesday night's Game 4 leading the Tampa Bay Lightning 3-0.

And the police would like to remind you that if the Habs take the series, their fans are not to take to the streets.

"Our goal is to keep the flow of traffic and keep open streets," said Laurent Gingras, the spokesman for the Service de police de la Ville de Montréal. "This is not to allow people to take the streets. What we want to avoid, especially, is that people gather in large numbers to celebrate in the streets. That's our goal."

According to Bylaw P-6, which was enacted shortly after the Quebec student protests of 2012, spontaneously assembly -- "a procession or a crowd for which the location or route has not been communicated" is a public violation. 

Good luck enforcing that if the Canadiens win their first home series in six years.  

In other words, if you're wondering who the Montreal police are cheering for tonight, it's probably the Lightning. One assumes they would just prefer the Lighting fend off the sweep and get eliminated in Tampa Bay.