The 2018-2019 NHL regular season is just starting and the year has been filled with surprises. One of these surprises is how arenas are welcoming hockey fans back in a big way, including an uptick in attendance at some arenas.
The “nhl games tomorrow” is a blog post that discusses how NHL arenas are welcoming hockey fans back. The author of the blog post, talked about how the Tampa Bay Lightning has created a new way to watch hockey games.
This season, normalcy at NHL arenas is a relative word.
The league anticipates 31 of its 32 venues to be fully occupied at the start of the season, with the Vancouver Canucks serving as the current exceptions. (They’re only allowed to operate at 50% capacity due to provincial health regulations.) Fans will once again pack NHL venues, just as they did before. Depending on the city, it will simply be a different experience for many of them.
At the time of writing, 22 buildings will need fans to wear masks, with some requiring evidence of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test solely for unvaccinated guests, and 16 requiring proof of vaccination or a negative COVID-19 test.
On COVID procedures, the majority of venues adhere to state and local guidelines. Madison Square Garden, home of the New York Rangers, requires evidence of COVID immunization for all fans aged 12 and above. Prior to attending, you must have had at least one dose of a vaccination. Fans who haven’t been completely vaccinated, as well as children aged 2 to 11, will be required to wear a mask while inside the arena, except while actively eating or drinking. Much of this is similar to the rules in place in New York City for indoor group activities.
The division rival Pittsburgh Penguins play only two states away, yet it seems like they’re in an other universe. In Pennsylvania, COVID mitigation measures have been removed. Fans will not be required to be vaccinated or tested, and masks will not be required at PPG Paints Arena in Pittsburgh.
“We are well aware that we are not experts. We don’t put up a show. We depend on professionals for advice, and they provide it to us “The Penguins’ president and CEO, David Morehouse, said ESPN. “Last season, that guideline enabled us to raise our percentages as the [local COVID] numbers decreased, to the point where if we had won Game 6 against the Islanders — and you’ve resurrected an old wound — we would have had 100 percent capacity with masks.”
Instead, they’ll start the 2021-22 season with that number of players.
Some teams are going above and beyond what their communities presently need. While other Seattle teams suggest complete vaccination or a negative test for admission, the expansion Kraken will require spectators aged 12 and above to be fully vaccinated in order to attend games during their first season, with medical and religious exceptions. Fans under the age of 12 are allowed to attend as long as they are disguised and not eating or drinking.
Without the vaccination requirement, Washington state would only allow the Kraken to have a 75 percent arena capacity. The Kraken, understandably, felt obliged to increase capacity in their first year.
“We needed to take a comprehensive strategy to this. It’s not just Washington state fans. Fans are pouring in from neighboring states as well as Canada. We received great feedback from our supporters. This was requested by our fans “Oak View Group’s associate general manager for Seattle’s Climate Pledge Arena, Don Graham, agreed.
There are currently no COVID limitations in place in Nashville. The Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena, on the other hand, have adopted their own policy, requiring all visitors aged 12 and above to provide evidence of complete immunization or a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test performed by a health-care professional 72 hours before to activities at the arena.
Fans under the age of 12 will be allowed inside Bridgestone Arena provided they wear a mask at all times while inside and have evidence of a negative COVID test. All supporters are encouraged to wear masks, but they are not required.
“Our policy is really above and above [local standards],” Sean Henry, the Predators’ president and CEO, told ESPN. “There is no uniformity across the state, much alone in our own city. We also had shows that came in and told us what they wanted to do [for fan entry]. That’s when we recognized that the greatest protocols are the ones that are consistent, so we decided to combine everyone’s requests into one.”
The Predators recently struck a partnership with Clear Health Pass, a mobile app that features a fan education component as well as COVID immunization and test information. Fans will also be enticed to use the app by the Predators’ relationship, which will provide season-ticket holders with a few months of free Clear airport access. This season, they’ll be one of at least five NHL clubs to use Clear.
Vaccine status will be included into the smartphone applications of eight teams. One of them is the Kraken.
“We want to make sure everything is smooth,” Graham added, “to make it as much of a one-stop shop as feasible.” “If we can’t get there for opening night, we’ll have a procedure where you’ll be checked before going to the doors, and then you’ll be allowed to scan your ticket at the doors.”
At least 11 teams need a real immunization card, but others may accept evidence via an app or digital passport.
After agreeing on a policy and a method to verify vaccination status, the Predators and other teams must now sell it to the fans.
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The Predators had to choose between digging in their heels against some of their most devoted fans and finding a way to collaborate with them during these unusual circumstances.
“We’ve provided them with a variety of choices,” Henry said.
Most fans who are unable to attend games this season due to COVID regulations have chosen to toll their season tickets for the whole season in the hopes that the protocols will be relaxed or abolished by the 2022-23 NHL season.
“We’ve told them that’s fine, but you’re still an active season-ticket holder if you change your mind during the year,” he said.
If fans wish to attend games again, the Predators are allowing them to reactivate their season tickets by either being vaccinated or accepting the guidelines. He added, “It may simply not be in your exact seats until next season.”
“Very, very few” of Henry’s season-ticket holders have requested complete refunds, he added. “I’m talking single digits when I say ‘few,’” he said.
Some have opted to get a refund just until Nov. 15, when the Predators have said that they would review their existing COVID procedures.
‘Covid’s the issue,’ says an AHL story. Syracuse is not one of them.
Howard Dolgon was well aware that there would be repercussions. He didn’t anticipate his approach would be described in such a venomous way by hockey fans.
Dolgon is the owner of the Syracuse Crunch, the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning’s AHL affiliate. The Crunch became the first club in the league to demand that all spectators aged 12 and above be properly vaccinated against COVID before attending home games at Upstate Medical University Arena on Sept. 3. Fans who have a medical exemption will be assessed on an individual basis. In line with current Onondaga County rules, everyone in attendance must still wear a mask.
“We were labeled as communists. We were labeled as fascists. It was insane, “ESPN quoted Dolgon as saying. “The safety of our community was our first concern. The solution was to manage the situation by allowing only those who have been inoculated to enter. It is, without a doubt, the safest environment. It’s simply not the most pleasant atmosphere because you’ll irritate folks.”
After implementing the regulation, he claimed he got calls from other AHL owners. “The first question they ask is what sort of feedback I’ve received. To put it another way, how much money have I had to refund? “Dolgon said.
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The club was expected to lose 50 season-ticket holders out of a total of 2,100, according to the Crunch. As of mid-September, 50 season tickets had been sold, but two buyers had canceled due to relocation.
“On the internet, there were a lot of loud voices. People who claimed to be canceling their season tickets but didn’t really have them, “Dolgon remarked. “However, as time passed and individuals stopped canceling their tickets, we began to hear from the quiet majority, who expressed gratitude for [the policy] and said that they would now begin attending games and bringing their children. Those folks were really undecided. Before renewing their tickets, the majority of individuals who are vaccinated and want to be in a safer atmosphere were waiting for us to announce the policy.”
While many fans applauded the requirement, the Crunch – and other clubs – have had to say goodbye to some long-time season-ticket holders due to the vaccination policy.
Kathleen Hallahan, a Crunch fan and season-ticket holder for 15 years, stated, “I was so furious to think I might be forced to do something I don’t want to do to my body.”
Bob Hallahan, 58, owns four Crunch season tickets, which cost his family approximately $2,000 each year. He claims they spend a lot more money on snacks and souvenirs inside the arena each season.
He claimed he had COVID in November of last year. “I was in excruciating agony for five days. It felt like a vehicle had slammed into me. I was unable to eat. I was unable to use the restroom. For the greater part of two weeks, this went on. I went to the hospital at long last “he said
The doctors inserted two IVs into his arm and injected antibiotics into him. Before his immune system recovered, they thought he was developing pneumonia.
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“I didn’t want to go through it again, so I decided to get the vaccination. At any time, “he stated
COVID vaccinations were given to Bob Hallahan and his kid. Kathleen, his wife, was not infected with the virus and has no plans to be vaccinated.
While his wife was unable to go, he believed that he and his kid would be able to attend Crunch games this season. However, when Syracuse revealed that their COVID policy would require spectators to wear masks even if they were fully vaccinated, Bob Hallahan began to wonder whether he would opt out as well.
“I don’t enjoy wearing the mask,” he added, adding that he had to wear one as a pilot on lengthy trips.
“I understand if you haven’t been vaccinated; my wife was barred from attending because she refused to receive the vaccination. However, if you’re like me and still have the antibodies and have had both injections, I don’t understand why you should have to wear a mask “he said “And to watch a hockey game while wearing a mask… I don’t wear a mask since I’m not a goalkeeper. We provide the squad a lot of support. We’ve been doing it for 15 years. It was a difficult decision when the mandate was issued.”
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“You mean something to people as a team in a community, particularly a smaller one. When you take a stance, you will suffer collateral damage. That’s simply the way things are. However, we are aware that we must take these steps. You want to be surrounded by people who appreciate and support you. So maybe they’ll pay attention to what you have to say “he stated
“Season-ticket holders make the most significant commitment: 38 home games, with the majority attending two-thirds or more of them. They are disappointed that they will not be able to attend “Dolgon said. “They should, hopefully, miss hockey. They’ll understand that being vaccinated is the safest option. They’ll come back. We’d want them to return. We’ll be glad to see them again.”
The Hallahans are unconcerned about the policy. Kathleen said that she would continue to watch the Crunch from afar. If and when the mask policy changes, Bob wants to return to their seats.
“The issue is COVID. Syracuse, not so much “he said
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