Not everyone had to watch hockey on TV
By Mo Hussain, Sports Reporter
With the 2021 NHL season kicking off last Wednesday, thousands of hockey fans across North America will have to continue not attending NHL games. Most NHL organizations across North America have decided to not allow fan attendance. However, a handful of teams have decided on the contrary.
The Dallas Stars look to compliment last year’s playoff success with some fans in attendance; the American Airlines Center can be filled up to roughly 30 percent capacity to start the season (5,000 fans).
The Arizona Coyotes look to add to their recent list of accomplishment of making the playoffs for the first time in eight seasons, as the City of Glendale approved for Gila River Arena to allow up to 3,450 fans (25 percent capacity) to attend.
With there only being a couple of teams that are opening up their doors for fan attendance, Florida Panthers fans hope that being one of those teams might give them an advantage. The Panthers kicked off their season with BB&T Center allowing up to 25 percent of its capacity to be filled with fans in attendance.
The Tampa Bay Lightning initially allowed for limited capacity at the Amalie Arena. However, with rising COVID-19 cases in the city, Vinik Sports Group (the organization that owns both Amalie Arena and the Lightning) decided to hold off on those plans.
As for who else will opt-in or opt-out to having fans physically attend for the rest of the season is still to be determined. However, with the uncertainty surrounding the ongoing pandemic and how these open arenas are impacting the spread of the virus, it will be interesting to see how NHL teams will make modifications down the line.