1707880700 We39re sick in Quebec and it39s nice to see

We're sick in Quebec… and it's nice to see

There were 14,000 people at the Pee Wee tournament on Saturday afternoon. I had chills. Especially because there were two players on the ice from California that I'm hosting at my house and they were playing against the little Montreal Canadiens.

Both players collapsed. I tried to explain to them that if there was a game on a Saturday afternoon, there might be a lot of people there.

As we made our way to the Videotron Center, traffic began to appear on the highway. “Guys, these are all people who want to visit you!”

The two boys couldn't believe it. And we saw people parking at the Fleur de Lys shopping center to gather at the arena. Again both boys were smiling from ear to ear.

When we arrived I sat in the stands and watched it start to fill up. The gallery area opened up, the black curtains were removed and it just went on and on.

Last year, the Videotron Center was packed to welcome the Ukrainian team and their touching story. There was nothing extraordinary this year. But 14,000 people were still there.

We39re sick in Quebec and it39s nice to see

Photos by Pascal Huot, QMI Agency

Our club lost 0:5. But we don't care. Imagine the experience the young players have had.

“I felt like I was playing in the NHL. As I jumped onto the ice, there were spectators who held out their arms for me to high five. I decided to give them a high-five because sometimes I see NHL players ignoring the fans and I don't like that,” one of the players told me after the game.

The first reaction was both wise and funny.

Sports patients

But anyway, my point here is that 14,000 people are sick for a pee game! We are sick people in Quebec, tired of sports, and that's nice to see.

The friendly spokesperson for the Remparts House, Gab Marineau, pointed out to me that our junior team had welcomed more spectators this year than last year. It's incredible. More fans in an ordinary year after a championship year!

The Rouge et Or has the best audience in the country. The Capitals are also one of the teams that fill the most ranks in independent baseball.

I don't know when a professional women's hockey team will arrive in Quebec. But when I see all this, I think it's ridiculous that we don't have one yet.

Okay, and I see you coming: You think I'm going to make a dubious connection to a Nordiques return.

And you will answer me that people from Quebec can only afford tickets to junior hockey or to pee if they bring their lunchbox.

Firstly, it is wrong. I have written several columns about the economic situation in Quebec. Secondly, it's nice to go to the pee tournament. I'm pretty sure the crowd at the Videotron Center on Saturday had more fun during the Canadiens' two losses than those who were at the Bell Center on Saturday or Sunday. Even if one ticket was ten times more expensive than the other.

So no, I didn't want to make a dubious connection with the return of the Nordiques. Because we know very well that none of this will bring back an NHL team any more or less quickly. We're starting to get used to it.

The octopus mascot

What strikes me, however, is that people in Quebec are hungry for sports. And the appetite seems huge. Yes, it would just be normal and deserve to have more, but it's wonderful to step back and see the beauty of the love we have for our teams.

And all of this, even if the Seattle Kraken mascot was on the ice on Saturday. The little Kraken and the little Vegas Golden Knights are also taking part in the tournament.

1707880696 710 We39re sick in Quebec and it39s nice to see

Jonathan Roy Photographer

Imagine that when we started building the Vidétron Center 10 years ago, I would have told you that in 10 years at the tournament you would be able to see the mascot of a new NHL team that will not be Quebec and a team a new one Representing an NHL team that also won't be Quebec would have caused a collective depression.

But whatever, we still applaud the Seattle mascot, we try to forget all about it and remain one of the most wonderful hockey fans in the world.