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Indoor soccer pitch part of Montreal Canadiens' training complex crumples

BROSSARD, Que. - Part of the large, multi-use sports and practice facility being constructed for the Montreal Canadiens just south of the city collapsed Monday when metal beams began falling apart.

Real estate developer Axor Inc. said the part of the structure that actually collapsed was the metal skeleton of an indoor soccer pitch that was being constructed alongside the Canadiens' training facility.

"We're talking about 10 to 15 per cent of the soccer field structure that collapsed," said Axor spokeswoman Marie-Josee Gagnon.

"It's all part of the same complex, but the Canadiens arena was not affected."

"The important thing we'd like to stress here is that we had 50 people on site and we were happy to hear that only four were injured."

Four construction workers were treated for shock and for sore backs, but the injuries were minor, said Longueuil police spokesman Martin Simard.

"I was on the structure and I heard a noise and the entire middle part collapsed," said construction worker Jean-Louis Tellier.

"I was stuck on top so the crane came to get me but it couldn't reach me."

The safety harnesses the workers were wearing helped, said Michel Huguerot, a spokesman for the Longueuil fire department.

Engineers were on site evaluating the structure and the Quebec workers' health and safety commission was also investigating.

The $30-million, state-of-the-art facility was announced last May by the hockey club, the City of Brossard and Axor Inc.

The new complex includes 800 seats for fans as well as two regulation-size rinks and other training facilities. The facility will also house a gymanisum and the indoor soccer field.

Gagnon said no work will be conducted on the site until the investigations are complete, but added the Canadiens would still likely be able to move in as scheduled this fall.


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