Kelowna Rockets tickets can be hard to get at the best of times. Right now, though, unless you’re a season ticket holder, they’re harder to get than ever.
“Here we are, going into another weekend of half capacity,” Rockets president and general manager Bruce Hamilton told Global News.
A reality that, according to Hamilton, is a big financial hit for a franchise that’s still struggling to recover from last season’s lost revenues.
“I think we are done finger-pointing. It’s time to get something done; everywhere else is open for business,” said Hamilton.
While Vancouver and Victoria are now allowed to fill their arenas with fans, Interior Health has yet to remove the 50 percent crowd capacity restriction for Kamloops and Kelowna.
But citing declining case numbers within Interior Health, the Western Hockey League submitted a letter to IHA requesting an exemption of crowd capacity restrictions for the Kamloops Blazers and the Kelowna Rockets.
“We believe that we can deliver a venue that is going to be safe and responsible for everyone concerned,” said WHL commissioner Ron Robison.
“We feel very confident that there is minimal risk to the health system by moving capacity from 50 to 100 percent.”
However, a response to the WHL’s request didn’t come from Interior Health but from the provincial health officer in a press conference on Tuesday.
“We are not at the point where we feel we can take that risk of allowing that type of activity to occur with the stresses that are on the health care system,” Dr. Bonnie Henry said when asked about lifting IH’s crowd restrictions for venues.
Henry added that she is in discussions with Interior Health and hopes to be able to lift the crowd restrictions soon — as long as vaccination rates rise and cases continue to drop.
“We are looking at this on a day-to-day basis and I do believe it’s going to be settling within the next few days,” Henry added.
So, for now, Prince George, Kamloops and Kelowna crowds remain at half capacity.
“I just want us by next week to have some understanding of a timeline,” said Hamilton, “so that we can actually start to plan and have an idea of how we can redo our budget.
“Because that’s where we’re going to get to here.”