It certainly was an unusual sight in Canadian NHL arenas during last season's Stanley Cup Playoffs, as there were nearly no fans (say for a few hundred fully vaccinated health workers) in the stands. Thanks to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, fans everywhere were robbed of what would have been beyond unbelievable atmospheres in the likes of Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton and Winnipeg.
Of course, we were treated to the first playoff matchup between the Leafs and Canadiens since the 1970's, and unfortunately both Scotiabank Arena and Bell Centre were empty for the historic tilt. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a repeat this season, because the fans are returning.
Both the Maple Leafs and the NBA's Toronto Raptors are expecting to play in front of full crowds this season, but are awaiting official clearance from the province. The venue is requiring fans in attendance to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
“With a fully vaccinated venue, it is our belief that we can safely host a full capacity event,” said MLSE spokesperson Dave Haggith. “With tickets on sale, we are planning for eventual full capacity in 2021 and our ticketing rollout has built-in flexibility so we are ready for potential scenarios.”
The Leafs sent the following memo to to their season subscribers:
"We are optimistic regarding our ability to host full capacity events at Scotiabank Arena for the 2021-22 season as we await confirmation on permitted venue capacities. We plan to unveil updated fan health and safety protocols in the coming weeks and should there be any changes to our plans for venue capacity limits and health and safety protocols, we will be sure to communicate those details to you.”