Face off, full capacity: Saddledome gets set for packed, maskless Flames game

The Scotiabank Saddledome returns to full capacity Thursday night as the Calgary Flames host the Montreal Canadiens.

Masks are not required and there is no need to show proof of vaccination. It’s a first for a Canadian NHL team during the pandemic.

But an Alberta infectious disease specialist says there’s potential of this turning into a super spreader event.

Jason Tetro is warning fans about the continued level of COVID-19 infection in the city of Calgary, despite the province’s removal of almost all restrictions.

“We have a high enough rate of infection in the province, that we could have a super spreader event in a place like the Saddledome,” said Tetro. “Even with the large volume that is there, if you pack it up all to 100 per cent, there’s a very good likelihood you will have pocket outbreaks and those outbreaks could then lead to much larger problems down the road.”

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Tetro is recommending those that do attend the game wear a mask.

“This is a respiratory virus, which means that it’s going to go into your respiratory tract.” said Tetro. “If you can block that with a mask, you reduce your threat by about 95 to 100 per cent.”

Read more: Nearly all COVID-19 public health measures are now lifted in Alberta

Despite the warning, fans are excited to get back to normal.

“If you have a good home crowd, it makes the the good games great and the bad games tolerable,” said FlamesNation managing editor Ryan Pike.

“It’s a shame that they’ve been, you know, having to operate at reduced capacity for so long, because pretty much since the Flames came back — they were off for 19 days when pretty much the entire team got COVID right around Christmas time — they’ve been one of the NHL best teams.”

The Calgary Flames won 10 straight games in February and if they win Thursday night’s game against the Habs, they’ll break a franchise record, winning 12 straight home games.

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