It was a moment that has been a long time coming for Vancouver Canucks fans.
The NHL club’s training camp began Thursday in Abbotsford, B.C., and, for the first time since the pandemic began, spectators were in attendance.
Some of the safety measures in place included proof of vaccination, mandatory masking, and the rink operating at half-capacity.
On Tuesday, Canucks general manager Jim Benning said everyone in the organization will be vaccinated against COVID-19.
The club was hit by a COVID-19 outbreak in late March, with 21 players and four coaching staff testing positive for the virus. The team missed the playoffs last season, finishing last in the all-Canadian North Division with a 23-29-4 record.
“I’m disappointed that they’re not going to be here for the start of camp. But we’re going to continue talking to (their agents) and try to get something figured out here as soon as we can,” Benning told reporters Wednesday.
“I don’t think we’re that far apart. But these are complex and unique deals. These are two good, young players who are an important part of our group so we’re going to continue to work with (their agents) until we get something finished.”
Training camp is scheduled to run until Saturday at the Abbotsford Centre, the home of the team’s new AHL affiliate.
Tickets can be purchased online, with proceeds going to the Canucks For Kids Fund.
— with files from The Canadian Press