It’s been a while since the stadium was open to sports fans
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
“The environment was amazing. I didn’t think it was going to be like that.”– Marc Dos Santos, Vancouver Whitecaps coach
BC Place recently opened its stadium for fans to cheer on their local sports teams for the first time since the pandemic began.
The first team to get its taste of the home crowd was the BC Lions last Thursday on August 19. The last time the Lions played a game at BC Place was on November 2, 2019. However, their home opener didn’t end with the result they were looking for; they lost to the Edmonton Elks 21 to 16. But the team was still excited to be back playing in front of their home crowd for the first time in close to two years.
“Pretty emotional to get back here, it’s been a long time for the Lions,” said Lions head coach Rick Campbell. “Disappointed we couldn’t get it done but pretty awesome that I thought the crowd was good tonight. It actually was loud on the field down there several times where you had trouble hearing and talking which is a good thing.”
The Vancouver Whitecaps also got their first taste of the home crowd in over a year last Saturday August 21 against the Los Angeles Football Club. The Whitecaps managed to also win that game 2 to 1. The last time they got to play in front of their home crowd was on February 29, 2020.
“The environment was amazing. I didn’t think it was going to be like that,” said coach Marc Dos Santos. “My emotions were more at the end of the game; giving the fans what they wanted in the first game back in a win against a very good team.”
Although many were glad to be back watching their local teams in person, there was some pushback on how crowded the stadium was for attendees on the way out of the Lions game. “One of two west side stadium exits was cut off for some reason, so the throng moved into a congested (as you see) departure ramp,” said Business in Vancouver Editor-in-Chief Kirk LaPointe in a tweet. “I didn’t see more than a handful masked tonight. This was definitely worth my mask.”
The crown corporation for the stadium, BC PavCo, released a statement on the concern: “As many guests exited the building at once at the end of the game, it was congested in certain areas of the venue,” PavCo said. “Going forward, BC Place will ensure there is access to all of our doors at the end of events.” It will be interesting to see how much BC Place will adjust its safety guidelines before the next event this Sunday, when the Whitecaps host Real Salt Lake.