It’s been a long time since fan have flocked to the Scotiabank Centre for some action-packed Mooseheads hockey.
The COVID-19 pandemic forced an early end to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League season, leaving many wondering when they’ll be able to see hockey again that’s not on their television set.
But that doubt all went away last month, when the Scotiabank Centre announced it would reopen for the Mooseheads’ home opener against the Cape Breton Eagles on Saturday.
“We’re just really thrilled that we’re finally able to reopen again,” said Carrie Cussons, president and CEO of Events East.
“It’s going to be an amazing game and folks are going to be back loud and proud.”
The Scotiabank Centre’s reopening framework was reviewed by Nova Scotia’s public health and occupational health and safety departments.
Cussons says they’ll be following all standard health and safety guidelines, including the mandatory use of non-medical masks, hand hygiene, physical distancing and contact tracing.
They’ve also divided the arena into zones of of up to 200 people with set washrooms, concessions and entrance/exit points. Everyone’s ticket will indicate what zone they’re in and what entrance they should use.
“We’re making it easy for people because we’re colour coding it, you’ll have a bracelet when you come in, so it will remind you what zone you’re in,” said Cussons.
Tickets are being sold in groups of up to 10 within the same bubble in order to respect the province’s guidelines on gatherings. Fans are being asked to wear their non-medical masks at all times, except when consuming food or beverages.
Cussons says they’ve also stepped up their cleaning and hygiene protocols to look after frequently touched areas and surfaces. Hand sanitizing stations will be located throughout the venue and at all entry points, she added.
This year, fans will be returning at a reduced capacity and the season has been chopped to 60 games. The Mooseheads will only compete against the same five teams in the Atlantic bubble.
It’s a challenge the Herd says they’re ready to face head on.
“They’re just happy to be back on the ice,” said Brian Urquhart, president of the Halifax Mooseheads. “You can see it on their face, there’s lots of smiles, back with their friends and being able to play the game they love.”
The Halifax Mooseheads finished the 2019-20 regular season with a record of 20-38-3-2.
Tickets for Saturday night’s game, which are available to both season ticket holders and the general public, are sold out. Their next home game is scheduled for Friday, Oct. 9 against the Moncton Wildcats.