Fans fill Colisee to see Thrashers on TV

QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 9:31 AM ET

QUEBEC CITY -- Hours before the broadcast of the Montreal Canadiens game against the Atlanta Thrashers on the big screens of Le Colisee in Quebec City Tuesday, hockey fans began gathering outside the arena for a tailgate party.

The 14,000 available tickets for the game, an idea conceived by a local radio station to further illustrate the city's passion for an NHL franchise, sold out within hours of their release to the public.

The Habs' game against Atlanta was chosen to be aired on the arena's big-screen TVs because the Thrashers are one of the franchises that could potentially be moved to Quebec, as well as to hype the former rivalry between the Quebec Nordiques and Canadiens.

Organizers of the 'Blue Match' pulled out all the stops; there was a tailgate party running throughout the afternoon, and the game was to be shown in high definition on four giant screens. Former Nordiques players were expected to be in attendance.

Tailgaters

Tailgaters began showing up outside the arena at 2 p.m.

"I will do anything to get the Nordiques to come back," superfan Jacques Graveline said. "We won't give up, and in my opinion, we will see (a Quebec franchise) here this fall."

Mathieu Blair said that while Tuesday's event wasn't going to secure a franchise for the city, it was a great way to get hockey fans together to celebrate the game.

"It's not a bad idea to keep Quebec City in the news," he said.

In all, it appears organizers want the event to receive as much attention as possible.

"It's to show the NHL that Quebec City is the hockey city in North America," said Martin Anjou, adding that the city deserved a franchise to replace the Nordiques. "Whether you are a Nordiques, Thrashers or Canadiens fan, it's no problem. What we want is for people to come."

Profits from the event will be donated to charity.


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