Celine Dion surprises Montreal Canadiens players at Knights game in Las Vegas

‘I remember when you were 14 years old, you sang for the Pope,’ team coach Martin St. Louis told the pop star

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Celine Dion’s heart was with the Montreal Canadiens as the club hit the ice against the Vegas Golden Knights this week.

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The music superstar met up with her hometown team as they took on the Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena Monday night.

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In a video shared by the Canadiens, Dion, 55, and head coach Martin St. Louis hugged and shook hands as they spoke in French. St. Louis shared with Dion that he was at Olympic Stadium in Montreal when she sang her rendition of Une colombe for Pope John Paul II as a teenager.

“I remember when you were 14 years old, you sang for the Pope, Une colombe … I was there at the Olympic Stadium,” St. Louis said.

“Well, it’s been awhile since then, eh?” Dion replied. “We’ve changed a little since then, but not too much … Everything we do comes from the heart.”

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Her sons Rene-Charles and twins, Eddy and Nelson, were with her as she greeted players, including winger Cole Caufield and team captain Nick Suzuki, and posed for photos.

“Let’s squeeze in,” Dion said. “Let’s not be shy. You smell great.”

As she bid the team goodbye following their 3-2 loss, she told the Montreal players to “just stay healthy, strong … do what you do best … we’ll be watching.”

Celine and the Montreal Canadiens
Singer Celine Dion seen meeting with members of the Montreal Canadiens in Las Vegas Monday night. Photo by Montreal Canadiens /X

Montreal’s vice-president of hockey communications Chantal Machabee also shared a photo of Dion to her Instagram. “Thank you for your great generosity,” she captioned a smiling photo of the two of them. “The whole team was very happy to meet you and your family.”

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On social media, fans reacted enthusiastically to Dion’s first public appearance in nearly four years.

“This is everything… she looks amazing,” one person wrote, with another adding, “So great to see Céline looking so healthy and happy!”

Dion has kept a low profile since announcing she is battling Stiff Person Syndrome in 2022. Her appearance at the game marks one of the first times she’s been seen in public since her last onstage performance in March 2020.

Last month, Dion’s sister, Claudette, offered a hopeful update on the singer’s condition.

“I know that morally, mentally, she is strong. She is not depressed at all … she really has the joy of living. We will get through this,” her sister told French-language site showbizz.net.

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Claudette said that Celine is recuperating with help from their other sister Linda in Las Vegas and is following her doctors’ care plan closely because she “wants to come back, that’s for sure.”

Her sibling said that the pop star is being heartened by the “beautiful messages of love” she has received since she revealed her devastating diagnosis last year.

“I’m keeping my fingers crossed,” Claudette added.

But Celine’s sister also hit out at some of the lies that have surfaced regarding the French-Canadian artist’s condition.

“Why are they going there? Why do they say she is in a wheelchair? Why do they say she had cancer? Why are you inventing?” she asked.

Earlier this summer, Claudette said Celine was working closely with doctors who specialize in Stiff Person Syndrome.

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“When I call and she is busy, I speak to my sister Linda, who lives with her and who tells me that she works hard,” Claudette told the Journal de Montréal.

In May, the My Heart Will Go On hitmaker announced she was cancelling her world tour. “I’m so sorry to disappoint all of you once again,” Dion wrote in an Instagram message. “I’m working really hard to build back my strength, but touring can be very difficult even when you’re 100%. It’s not fair to you to keep postponing the shows, and even though it breaks my heart, it’s best that we cancel everything now until I’m really ready to be back on stage again.”

The five-time Grammy winner added that she is hopeful she will be able to hit the road again soon and that her team of medical specialists is monitoring her closely to evaluate and treat the condition.

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Dion’s announcement came after she revealed in December 2022 that she was dealing with Stiff Person Syndrome, a rare condition that causes severe and persistent muscle spasms.

Symptoms of the affliction mimic the characteristics of other ailments such as Parkinson’s Disease or Multiple Sclerosis. The muscle spasms associated with SPS sometimes appear out of the blue and can be triggered by loud noise or emotional distress, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

The muscle spasms can be severe enough to affect mobility and cause a patient to fall. As it progresses, the disease makes if more difficult to walk and falls can become more frequent.

“We can’t find any medicine that works,” Claudette told the Journal de Montréal, “but having hope is important.”

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