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Fans In The Building By Mid August? The Creator Is Hopeful

(Photo Credit: Photographer Brandon Andreasen)

We’ve pretty much all resigned to the fact that the next time we see live hockey, it will be played in an empty arena. With all the discussion of the NHL’s phases, hub cities, and the return to play scenarios, fans remain an afterthought in the grand scheme of completing the season.

However, that doesn’t mean that door won’t open back up assuming the spread of the coronavirus continues trending in the right direction as it has over the past few weeks.

During an interview on NBCSN, Gary Bettman alluded to the league keeping their options open for the possibility of fans returning to the arenas at some point during the playoffs “depending on where the world is” at that point.

With all the restrictions still in place across the US and Canada that seems like a pie in the sky idea, but The Creator seems to believe it might be possible much sooner than most would believe.

Fans will be watching it on TV, certainly through the play-in round. I’m hopeful that by the time we get to August 10th, 1th, or 12th that we’ve successfully come across (the pandemic) and we’re back from the dark side. Then we can start getting some fans in arenas and start playing at home and away. That’s what I’m really hopeful for but we just don’t know. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

Speaking on the Vegas Hockey Hotline on Friday, The Creator made it clear he is ready to get fans back in the building as soon as it’s safe, even if it doesn’t mean a full 17,500 capacity crowd we are used to at T-Mobile Arena.

I’m hoping if we take long enough that we may be able to get back to some sort of social distancing but people being in the arena, even if it’s only 4,500 people or 5,000 people. I don’t see a reason why we shouldn’t be able to get to that point. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

Obviously, this will all come down to the health and safety of the public, but rest assured the owners in the NHL are not going to wait long once the go-ahead is given that fans can once again be in arenas.

Hockey is based upon gameday revenue, that’s the whole key to the success of an NHL team. If we don’t have gameday revenue, I don’t know what’s going to happen, it’s pretty scary really. I’m just hopeful we get through this situation and we can get back to having fans in the arena. –The Creator on Vegas Hockey Hotline

The league must have plans for neutral sites, but those plans would evaporate almost instantly if there is any way to resume making revenue from gate receipts.

The NFL’s plan remains to play their season as scheduled with fans in the seats. Their first regular season game is scheduled for September 10th. Hockey would likely be wrapping up the second round at that time.

The NHL may wait for the lead of football, basketball, and/or baseball but there’s no way the Golden Knights would be playing behind closed doors for long if other leagues are playing in front of paying fans.

It may sound optimistic, and it will probably turn out to be when all is said and done, but exactly three months ago, the Golden Knights hosted the LA Kings in front of 18,419 people. Where we’ll be three months from now, no one truly knows.

And while it may not feel that way with the constant discussion of fan-less games, everyone wants the same thing. Fans want to be in the buildings to watch their favorite teams play while owners want to return to taking their money to do so. If there’s a way to pull it off, they’ll make it happen, and the most powerful man in Vegas hockey has high hopes that it’s still possible for the 2019-20 season.


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  1. Diane

    So just how would this work, given all the STHs? If only a limited number of fans are allowed in seats, how will it be determined which fans get to keep their seats for which games? And what will the refunds be like for everyone else whose seats are blocked? Some of us are old folks and won’t feel safe being jammed in the middle of thousands of other shouting fans, can we opt out without penalty? I’m hoping the back office is working on options and answers to all these questions.

  2. DOC Williams

    Hate to say but this is just a billionaire business man speaking. Butts in the seats means INCOME ! There is no way things are going to be safe by August or even September. Come ON!!!!!! UNTIL there is a vaccine or preventative medicine it would be suicide to bring 1000s of fans together! Plus, A) – With thousands of people around the country protesting shoulder to shoulder, many without masks … B) – Las Vegas and many other cities “opening up” ….. The virus is just setting there simmering and ready for another out-break. It’s coming, it’s F**KING coming!!!!!

  3. Rob

    I’d imagine a plan like this: Email all ticket holders to see who’s interested in attending games. Take the YES list and map out groups per section. Allow 1/3 of YESs for each game with no resales allowed. At all. Space attendees out in their section, or ones adjacent, using unused tickets to create room between fans. Families can move closer together. Take turns for each group to attend a game, as long as playoffs continue. In-arena, have mandatory mask wearing, no concessions and schedule entry and exit per each section to move groups out in and out in smaller batches. Use of restrooms at personal discretion while wearing a mask.

    Also, rotate one of the two groups not able to go to the game in the arena into Toshiba Plaza, which would be reserved for them only and at a lower ticket cost. Show games on huge screen and have LOUD music. Mask wearing also required. Provide some shade and sunscreen.

    Such a plan would be no more risky than going to the grocery store, or the park, and would ensure revenue streams (one full price, other partial) for the team, and some fun for fans.

  4. Mikegron32

    Thanks Ken
    That was a really nice read until Doc sucked the fun out of it lol..
    I would love to see games played at home with some fans in attendance. As much as I miss hockey I still have a hard time envisioning our team hoisting the Cup in an empty arena in Columbus?

    • DOC Williams

      You’re right mikeg32 ….. I apologize for sucking the fun out it, and Robs fantasy plan, and trying to bring things back to reality! Maybe you & Rob can get together and really “flesh out” his fictional view of an experience I’m sure many fans would enjoy going thru just to watch a live game, in the middle of a pandemic! Enjoy, have fun! :)

  5. Tim

    I’d just be happy to watch without fans. I realize the live gate is important in hockey so if that can be worked out great.

  6. shimmy

    If there’s no jump after all these protests, then corona-virus is effectively over. We’ll see in 2 weeks!

    • vegas fan in minny

      if there is no jump democrats should apologize for keeping people trapped in there house

  7. shimmy

    If masks are made mandatory, is social distancing even necessary?

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