As part of what has become an annual tradition of both participating in and giving back to the community during the holiday season, the Montreal Canadiens played host to several thousand youngsters on Sunday, Dec. 5 and Monday, Dec. 6 at the Bell Centre.
On Sunday, the team hosted its Holiday Skate, a presentation of Nestlé Pure Life, from 9:00 a.m. through 5:00 p.m. Over 1,600 lucky few, many of whom won family four-packs of passes from the Journal de Montréal, the Gazette, CKAC, CJAD, and the Saputo Future Montreal Canadiens Fan Club, enjoyed a relaxing day of fun. Activities included free skating, tours of the Montreal Canadiens' dressing room, games, and a visit from Santa Claus, while all on hand were treated to hotdogs and soft drinks, as well. Numerous members of the Montreal Canadiens family were on hand to take part in the festivities, including President Pierre Boivin, GM Bob Gainey, head coach Claude Julien, and ambassador Rejean Houle.
Less than 24 hours later, the arena was buzzing once again as the team welcomed 120 children from the Club des petits déjeuners du Québec for a sixth consecutive year. The group of youngsters, many of whom rely on the charity for a filling and nutritious breakfast ahead of their school day, were treated to a tasty meal and a series of activities which included iNHLatable games, skating, interaction with clowns from the Airheads Super Circus, tours of the Montreal Canadiens' dressing room, and gifts from Santa Claus himself.
The event was also highlighted by the presence of many familiar faces. Joining the quartet of Montreal Canadiens organization members who were on hand on Sunday were former players Guy Lafleur, Benoit Brunet, Gaston Gingras, and Patrick Poulin, current coaches Rick Green and Roland Melanson, singer Sylvain Cossette, Sebastien Benoit from the French television show La Fureur, and members of Star Académie, a Quebec American Idol-style reality series.