Most NHL arenas to open full house



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NHL expecting nearly full house for coming season Image: Hunt Construction

The National Hockey League (NHL) anticipates 30 of its 32 arenas will open at 100 percent capacity for the 2021-2022 seasons, according to a memo circulated to teams this week.

The ‘ESPN’ stated that due to COVID-19 restrictions, the NHL team Montreal Canadiens (based in Montreal, Canada) are expected to open at 33 percent capacity, or around 7,500 fans. The NHL team Vancouver Canucks (based in Vancouver, Canada) will open at less than capacity, too. While the percentage has yet to be determined, the NHL initially estimated it could be at 50 percent.

The National Hockey League (NHL) is a professional ice hockey league in North America comprising 32 teams -25 in the United States and 7 in Canada. The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and is one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.

The 2021-2022 NHL seasons will be the 105th season of operation (104th season of play) of the National Hockey League (NHL). The league expanded to 32 teams with the addition of the Seattle Kraken. The league plans to return to its normal October-to-April scheduling and a full 82-game regular season, with October 12th scheduled for opening night.

The NHL anticipates the Toronto Maple Leafs (based in Toronto, Canada) will be at full capacity this season. Currently, the team is only allowed 9,500 fans (50 percent) at the 19,800 Scotiabank Arena in Toronto.

The ‘ESPN’ further stated that the memo also broke down the current vaccine and testing mandates for fans entering NHL arenas this season. Recently, 10 of the league’s 32 arenas allowed only vaccinated fans to attend games: The Buffalo Sabres (home – the 19,200-capacity Key Bank Center), Calgary Flames (home – the 19,289-capacity Scotiabank Saddledome), Montreal Canadiens (home – the 21,302-capacity Centre Bell), New York Rangers (home – the 20,789-capacity Madison Square Garden), Ottawa Senators (home – the 19,153-capacity Canadian Tire Centre), San Jose Sharks (home – the 17,562-capacity SAP Arena at San Jose), Seattle Kraken (home – the 17,459-capacity Climate Pledge Arena), Toronto Maple Leafs, Vancouver Canucks (home – the 18,910-capacity Rogers Arena), and Winnipeg Jets (the 16,345-capacity Canada Life Centre).

Eight teams will allow either proof of vaccination or a negative COVID test – the Anaheim Ducks, Boston Bruins, Chicago Blackhawks, Edmonton Oilers, Los Angeles Kings, Nashville Predators, New York Islanders, and St. Louis Blues.

The memo lists 14 teams that don’t require a vaccination or negative test for fans to attend games, but some of those teams have yet to firm up their COVID policies.

According to the memo, 21 teams are currently requiring masks for all fans in their arenas. The Ducks are only requiring masks for unvaccinated fans.

There are 25 teams currently requiring masks for children aged 12 and under. The Ducks, Kings, Islanders, and Rangers are requiring a mask and a negative COVID test for those young fans, the Predators are requiring a mask or a negative test.

There are 14 teams that will use a physical card for proof of vaccination, eight teams that plan on using a mobile app and four teams that are planning on using the CLEAR biometric ID.

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