The Vancouver Canucks have a plan to welcome back fans to Rogers Arena this year, provided it is safe to do so.
The team says it has had discussions with local health authorities about how to do it safely, though they aren’t under the impression that anything is imminent.
“We have had preliminary conversations with local authorities about a plan to host some fans at Rogers Arena this year however nothing is imminent,” a Canucks spokesperson told Daily Hive. “Any plans to welcome fans back this year will be with the approval and guidance of public health officials. We expect discussions to continue in the near future.”
BC Provincial Health Officer Dr. Bonnie Henry has said she expects the province to be in a “post-pandemic world” by this summer. She has also been clear that large events, like a hockey game at Rogers Arena with more than 18,000 fans, will be one of the last things allowed as the province reopens.
The Canucks have just 10 home games remaining during the regular season, with the finale scheduled for May 8. The playoffs, if they make it, will begin shortly after and the Stanley Cup will be handed out in July.
By July, the province anticipates that every adult will have had the opportunity to receive the first dose of the vaccine.
Most American NHL teams are already hosting fans at games, as rules in the United States have generally been more relaxed throughout the pandemic. They’re doing so at limited-capacity to ensure physical distancing, however, and with a number of health and safety protocols, including mandatory mask-wearing, in place. So far, no teams in Canada have been permitted to have fans at games, but many of them have begun planning.
TVA’s Renaud Lavoie reported on Saturday that the Montreal Canadiens are in talks with Quebec Public Health about hosting between 2,000 and 4,000 fans at the Bell Centre. The Edmonton Oilers have submitted a plan to Alberta Health, saying they believe they can host fans “as safely as any venue in the world.”
In Toronto, MLSE has announced that Scotiabank Arena has received the “WELL Health-Safety rating through the International WELL Building Institute,” which they believe is an important step to welcoming back fans for Maple Leafs and Raptors games.
Canucks fans haven’t been able to see their team play in person since March 10, 2020, as the league paused operations two days later because of the pandemic.